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Optoma HD161X Home Theater Projector Review

Posted on January 21, 2015 by Art Feierman
The Optoma HD161X projector serves up very good color, true 1080p resolution and plenty of brightness - claiming 2000 lumens - plus the native sharpness, look and feel of a DLP projector.

Specs Preview

Optoma HD161X Specs
Price 1599
Technology DLP
Native Resolution 1920x1080
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 2000
Contrast 40000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio 1.50:1
Lens Shift Yes
Lamp Life 3000
Weight 6.0
Warranty One Year

Optoma HD161X Projector - Overview

Optoma sure makes a lot of home projectors between about $400 to $2000.  They even have a couple above $2000.  The HD161X though, is one of Optomas more serious home projectors, as many are lower resolution (720p), or specifically targeting gamers.

Update:  March 2015:  When this review was first published, we awarded the HD161X one of our Special Interest awards.  Overall, my biggest complaint about the HD161X was that Mike (the THX certified calibrator we use for all home theater projectors), was unable to get a really good calibration.  That is, the end result was good, but not great color.  You can see that in the many images.  Thanks to a reader, who forwarded us some different settings posted on one of the forums (thanks Chintan!), I tried out those settings compared to Mike's.  The result was the new settings offered up much better color.  

Based on that improvement, due to the different settings, we added the new settings to our calibration pages and we recommend you use those.  And we have upgraded the Optoma HD161X from a Special Interest to our Hot Product Award.  We have not updated the content in the review except these paragraphs and on the calibration pages.

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The HD161x, is a respectable gaming projector, so don't get me wrong, but short of the big bucks for their HD91 (with its solid state light engine), the HD161x, and the similar Optoma HD50 projector sold through a different distribution channel, the HD161x,  are more versatile.

The HD161x a great little projector for HDTV, and especially sports viewing, and is very respectable within certain limitations, for movie viewing.  Remember that it is a projector that has a street price of less than $1500, whereas most "serious" recent model home theater projectors sell for $1999 and up!  There are no absolutes of course, but that is one reason why our forthcoming annual home theater projector report splits out over $2000 projectors from those under.

The feature set is nicely endowed as well.  Few lower cost DLP projectors good placement flexibility, but the HD161x does, including a 1.5:1 zoom. But, even more impressive, this DLP projector has a modest amount of lens shift, even more uncommon.  Together that is superior placement flexibility for a DLP projector, more similar to that found in competing 3LCD type projectors.  (Note that there are few 3LCD competitors in the $1000 to $2000 range.)

Optoma's HD161x projector also offers up Optoma's suite of image processing which they refer to as it's Pure Engine.  Those features deal with sharpness enhancement, smooth motion, and color.

There's a lot more too, four customizable gamma modes, including Brilliant Color with 10 selectable levels.

Below are a few more of this Optoma projector's highlights.  A several of them will be discussed in more detail on the special features page.

Elsewhere, we'll take a look at the measurements we found, based on Mike's calibration of the HD161x, a well as discussing how this projector performs in terms of overall color, skin tones, black levels and shadow detail.

All considered, the HD161x is a solid projector.  I only have one complaint which prevented us from awarding it one of our Hot Product awards.   Still, it was impressive enough to earn a Special Interest award.  More on all that within this review.

Optoma HD161x Projector's Hightlights

Here's a list of key features and capabilities that this projector offers up.  Again, a number of them will be discussed briefly, or explained in detail in the other pages of this review.

  • 2000 lumens - bright enough for many family, living, and bonus rooms
  • 1.5:1 all glass manual zoom lens with optical coatings
  • Two HDMI ports (1.4a for full support for Blu-ray 3D)
  • Multiple pre-set picture modes - optimized for different uses
  • "Smooth motion" with three settings options
  • Detail and sharpness enhancement
  • Color enhancement
  • Brilliant Color
  • Edge Masking
  • 40,000:1 Contrast using Lamp dimming: "Dynamic Black" to enhance black level performance
  • 3D, and will convert 2D to 3D on the fly
  • Very good lamp life
  • HDMI Link

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