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Optoma UHD51A 4K Home Theater Projector Review: Hardware 2

Posted on July 29, 2018 by Art Feierman
Optoma UHD51A
Front view of the1.3:1 manual zoom lens. Focus ring on lens, zoom on top

The Optoma Control Panel is laid out in a large square area, with large buttons at the front, back, right and left sides. Those are, respectively, Power, Home (back), Menu (right), and Back (or Esc) takes you back up a menu level.

Toward the very back below the Home button are three indicator lights, the usual Power, Temp, and Lamp.

Control Panel

This Optoma has a pretty traditional Control Panel layout. Not a lot of extras, except the Home button.

Inside of those four large buttons are the navigation arrows, up/down/left/right, in a diamond configuration. In the center of it all is the Enter button. That folks, is it. Pretty standard stuff, except for the addition of the Home button, which we’re seeing on a few more projectors these days. Epson is another company that has added a central Home button as well. Expect more projectors, especially smart ones, to have Home buttons, much as other devices often do.

Note that there are three LED indicator lights just behind the control panel.  The Power status indicator, lamp sensor, and temperature sensor.

UHD51A Remote Control

A very unusual remote control, compared to most projectors. Its white, thin, and not very big, perhaps 5 inches long and less than 1.5 inches wide. It fits very nicely in one’s hand, and has a great feel to it. Unfortunately, it is not backlit, most unfortunate with any projector, but at least the remote is white which helps in a dark room.

From the top: on the left is the power button – press once to turn on, or twice to power down. (Or of course just tell Alexa: “Alexa – Turn on (projector name).
You have to choose a name from the 30 provided, very limiting and annoying, but that’s an Alexa issue, not an Optoma one. For example, many of the names they offer I already am using in a smart home, such as bedroom, living room, etc. (There’s no “den” “media room” Home Theater” or even “Family Room. (I settled for calling this projector the Lab.) So I can, instead of using the remote, just say: “Alexa Turn on the Lab.”

But, I digress, back to the remote. The other button on the top – on the right, is the Source button (something else you can also change using Alexa).

The next row has 3 buttons, the Home button on the left, then the Menu, and on the right, the back (esc) button.

Below all that is the navigation, 4 arrows in a round formation, Enter is a round button in the middle of them.

That leaves only five more butttons. One the left is the audio mute, next to it is the Display mode button (which slowly rotates through all the different picture modes such as Bright, Cinema, Reference, 3D, HDR...

Next over is a button with three vertical dots, which is defined as the Options button. But it seems to not be used with this projector. (That’s not uncommon since a company may use the same remote with many projectors.).

That covers the remote, except to note that it runs on Lithium button batteries so there’s the usual clear tab to remove for the remote to work.

Bottom line, the Optoma UHD51A remote control gets the job done, its pretty easy to find in a dark room, and hit has all the basic buttons, and a good feel. I would have preferred a backlight, and perhaps some other features such as control buttons for the media player, but then Alexa can do that in a pinch.

I will give the UHD51A credit for having a very good layout, and good spacing between buttons. Within my first couple of days playing with this Optoma projector, I knew where each function was located, and could find each button I needed by memory, so really, after a few days, the backlight while it would have been nice to have, wasn't necessary.  That's a plus.


The UHD51A remote lacks a backlight, but at least is white - to spot in dark rooms.  Good remote.
The UHD51A remote lacks a backlight, but at least is white - to spot in dark rooms. Good remote.

Thee are two sets of menus for the UHD51A. That’s not unsual for a smart remote. There’s the Home menu, which gives choices such as Source, Projector Settings, and Volume (the Projector menu). Across the top are also Application and Settings. We’ve already described Settings in setting up Wifi and Alexa. (The second part of the Alexa setup is in the Application menu – labeled SmartHome. Also there is Media Player and Wifi Display. Setting has Language and Network setup.

That’s the Home basics and media player control. The more traditional navigation, etc. is found on the main menus, opened by the menu button on the control panel or remote. Opening that brings up a menu that runs down the left side, with multiple sub menus.

This photo player shows most of the menus, with occasional comments placed in the captions of those photos.

Basically though, the main menus are organized into Image Settings which deals with picture quality, color, and calibration settings (there’s a full complement). Audio, Projector Settings, and Info.

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