OPTOMA CINEMAX P2 LASER TV REVIEW - HARDWARE

July 16, 2021 / By Project Reviews Staff

Optoma CinemaX P2 Home Theater Projector Review – Hardware: Laser Light Engine, 6-segment Color Wheel, 0.47-inch DLP XPR Micromirror Chip, Inputs and Connectors, The Lens, Control Panel, Remote, Menus

OVERVIEW

"A minimalist yet modern design that subtly draws your eye to the projector’s clean lines and attractive shape."

Optoma’s CinemaX P2 is a slim, clean-looking Laser TV finished in a light tan color metal and cloth. Since the P2 is an ultra-short-throw projector, the Optics slot is on the top. The front of the projector (the side facing the user) projects a minimalist yet modern design that subtly draws your eye to the projector’s clean lines and attractive shape. The Optoma CinemaX P2 design is complementary, allowing it to fit many entertainment room designs and styles. The Power button and four tiny LED lights are on the right side of the projector.

There are two connectors mounted low near the back. One is HDMI 3, and the other is a USB for using the media player. All the other inputs and outputs are on the back of the P2. An exhaust vent is on the projector’s left side, but there are no other connectors on that side.

Power and Indicator lights are on the projector, but if you are sitting watching a movie, you can’t see the Power light, which is nice. Two of the other three lights are for the usual – Laser and Temperature, while the third indicates Bluetooth in use.

The Optoma CinemaX P2 is a typical size and weight compared with other projectors in its class like VAVA.

LASER LIGHT ENGINE

A single blue laser and six-segment color wheel provides excellent picture quality

The P2 uses a traditional single blue laser combined with a color wheel. There are different laser configurations. Some projectors use two blue lasers (and phosphors to create the other primaries). There are even three laser systems with no light wheel.

The Optoma CinemaX P2 protects your child eyes from exposure to the lasers light

The laser light engine has a protection feature on the P2 that detects faces and dims the laser’s output to protect the viewer’s eyes if you lean over the projector.

Laser light sources are a better long term value

Whether the projector has 1, 2, or 3 lasers, laser-based projectors offer distinct advantages over lamp-based ones, especially in long-term costs. For instance, $200 laser replacements every decade instead of lamp replacements every couple of years is a considerable saving. Color shifts on laser light engine projectors change slowly over years, not months, and the lasers will dim (about 50%), over 25,000 hours, rather than 2,500 to 5,000 hours as with lamps.

The Optoma CinemaX P2 provides users 20,000 hours of light source life at Full power and 30,000 in Eco mode. These are good numbers for any projector much less a laser light projector.

20,000 hours light source life in Normal mode and 30,000 hours in ECO mode

At the heart of the Optoma CinemaX P2 is a Texas Instruments high-performance DMD. This DMD technology makes good use of TI’s XPR technology. XPR provides fast switching in order to display 4x the number of pixels of 1080p (8.3 million). Optoma’s XPR technology’s fast switching creates pixels horizontally and vertically to achieve 8.3M and the highly detailed image you see on the screen. It does this all faster than your eye can see.

6-SEGMENT COLOR WHEEL

Unlike the CinemaX P1, which featured an 8-segment color wheel, the Optoma CinemaX P2 uses a 6-Segment Color Wheel. This 6-Segment Color Wheel with DLP BrilliantColor™ Technology blends not just the three primary colors, but six in order to produce over one billion colors, including hard-to-match natural mid-tones such as sky blue and skin tones, as well as millions of complex colors throughout the vast range of the color gamut.

6x Speed RGBRGB color wheel projectors boost red, blue, and green hue and saturation. Utilizing up to six colors enables the use of a wider color gamut. This wider color gamut more accurately displays colors found in nature than three-color solutions, providing better color and more life-like images. And Optoma did all this without compromising the projector’s brightness, which is still rated at 3,000 ANSI lumens. Rest assured, I will be testing this claim.

The six-segment color boosts color performance and contrast

BrilliantColor from Texas Instruments is a multi-color processing technology that produces vibrant images. BrilliantColor technology improves color accuracy and brightens secondary colors using up to six colors instead of just the three primary colors: red, green, and blue. DLP Projectors with BrilliantColor have an increased color brightness of up to 50% more than DLP projectors without it.

DLP MICROMIRROR CHIP

It’s been years since we saw the first pixel-shifting projector designed to produce a seemingly higher resolution image than the native resolution of the DLP, 3LCD, or LCoS panels in those projectors. The most common application uses pixel-shifting technology, allowing projectors to display content from 4K sources with a higher perceived sharpness than the same panels/chips could without shifting. Because the actual chip or panel fires more than once, the pixel is physically shifted, creating overlaps. Combined with fancy image processing, the result can show more detail than the same projector, not using pixel shifting. Click here for a more detailed explanation of pixel-shifting technology.

INPUTS AND CONNECTORS

All the inputs you need

Physically, the Optoma P1 and P2 are almost identical except for case color, which is excellent news as the P1 had an extensive connector and input array. The P2 includes 3 HDMI inputs; one is on the side. The side HDMI connector is convenient for hooking up a device quickly, while the back is where you want your permanent devices hooked up. Because of the general nature of ultra-short-throw projectors, having a separate sound system is more challenging but not impossible. The right side of the P2 provides convenient HDMI and USB inputs that support devices like 4K UHD Blu-ray players, AppleTV, Fire Sticks, and Chromecast with Google TV.

The HDMI inputs are all 2.0 HDMI, with HDCP 2.2 copy protection.

The HDMI 1 input has ARC (Audio Return Channel) for returning audio. You can use the same HDMI with ARC to bring in video and audio from a disc player, cable, etc. That’s typical of any HDMI. But with ARC, when the source is your display, you can send Audio Out to your AV receiver, and it is a better sound system.

In addition, there’s a USB on the right side of the projector, which offers power, so it can be used to charge devices.

The other connectors on the back include two USBs (one is for service only), the digital Audio Out (up to 5.1), and the analog Audio Out (can drive a sub-woofer). There’s also an RJ45 connector for wired networking. And, of course, the obligatory Power receptacle and a Kensington lock slot for security.

The back panel of the Optoma CinemaX P2 features a USB port, along with a single RS-232 connector and a variety of video outputs, including a VGA Display Out. There are two HDMI 2.0a (HDCP 2.2 / 4K 30Hz compatible) connectors. The projector’s USB port is for Power Out (5V/1.5A), allowing you to power smart devices up to 5V/1.5A, such as the Amazon FireStick or ROKU stick. The USB port also functions as a service port. The CinemaX P2 has a S/PDIF connector, a 12-volt Out for uses such as triggering screens, and a 3.5mm Audio Input and 3.5mm Audio Output. As this is a home entertainment projector, there are no networking ports on this device.

THE LENS

The Optoma CinemaX P2 lens system is an amazing blend of engineering and image processing software

The simple truth is that ultra-short-throw projector lens systems are a miracle of engineering. The most apparent benefit of UST projection systems is that you can place the projector almost directly beneath the screen. Unfortunately, according to the Optoma P2 manual, “This projector cannot be mounted upside down above the screen.

From the User Guide: “Do not operate the projector in any orientation other than tabletop. The projector should be horizontal and not tilted either forward/backward or left/right. Any other orientation will invalidate the warranty and may shorten the lifetime of the projector itself. For nonstandard installation advice, please contact Optoma.”

I’m not going into all the technical details of how these amazing lens systems work. I could write a whole article on this subject. The quick explanation is that ultra-short-throw projectors achieve the results that you see on screen through a process of fantastic lens design coupled with some seriously advanced video processing.

One of the most obvious downsides of UST projection systems is that accurate installation of the projector is key to getting a good image. The tolerances of ultra-short-throw systems are very tight compared to standard projection systems. Think of it as using a DSLR lens that has an incredibly shallow depth of field. Any slight movement of the camera moves the point of focus and can ruin the image. Because UST projectors are so close to the screen, a minor position adjustment can significantly affect the projected image. For instance, part of the image toward the outer area of the screen might go out of focus or become geometrically distorted. This distortion often appears as a softening of the image around the edges. Ultra-short-throw projectors’ brightness can fall off much faster toward the edge of your screens versus a long-throw projector. The type of screen you choose for your projector is critical.

I just finished reviewing two ultra-short-throw screens from Elite ProAV, one of which was both Ambient Light Rejecting and Ceiling Light Rejecting. These types of screens are designed for ultra-short-throw projectors.

The P2 does come with some impressive auto-alignment tools. While these tools are incredibly convenient, I would strongly recommend exhausting your projector position adjustments before using digital adjustments as this can result in a loss of brightness in your image.

THROW DISTANCE FOR A 16:9 SCREEN

The CinemaX P2 allows projector placement at the top or bottom edge of the screen with 124% +6%/-2.5% offset with a throw ratio of 0.25:1. The CinemaX P2 optimally projects an image of 85” – 120” at a distance of 8”- 16.5” from the back of the projector to the projection surface. The P2 has no analog lens adjustment but does offer a digital zoom of 0.8 - 2.0x. As usual, we at projectorreviews.com do not recommend using any digital image adjustments unless you have exhausted all other options or you are willing to accept the brightness drop, they cause

Optoma provides a chart, assuming tabletop use, telling you how far below and how far out from the bottom of your screen’s surface you should place the projector. Optoma can’t tell you how far below the surface you must place a projector. They say there is enough variation in the optics to vary the distance for a 120” diagonal screen by up to 127mm, which is almost perfectly 4 inches. It would be appropriately less for a smaller screen, so even a 100” screen would have a lot of range.

REMOTE

I wish this remote control were backlit. Optoma stuck with the P1 remote, which is unfortunately small. The black and very minimalistic design that works so well for the projector does not work for the remote. Honestly, it looks like every other smart stick remote used today.

On the plus side, the remote is Bluetooth and infrared. It uses a built-in, non-removable battery that needs to be charged like the AppleTV remote. The remote is also capable of doubling as an Air Mouse for presenting, teaching, and even basic gaming. In addition, the remote has a small red LED that blinks at you when it needs to be charged.

Fortunately, the remote control's battery lasts a long time and charges quickly via a micro-USB cable. To engage the Air Mouse, do a long hold of the Home button, which will then show both a house and a mouse. Do the same to disengage.

For a more detailed look at the remote functions, look at the picture I’ve included or check out the P2 User Guide.

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