With more people working and staying at home these days, there's a big need for new audio/video equipment, whether it be for conducting meetings, editing video, or just having the young kids watch a program while the adults are being productive on the job. In the projector realm, a lot of different projector units are difficult to install and require a major overhaul of a living room or media room in regards to placement and setup, not too mention adding a decent audio system to coincide with the image it projects. This can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to be built, but alas, Optoma has released a projector that alleviates all of those issues at a fraction of the cost with their remarkable and impressive Optoma CinemaX P1 projector that is one of the best short-throw laser projectors on the market.
With most projectors, installation can be tricky and quite frankly a pain to deal with. Usually, a professional will have to be hired to install and conceal a projector in the ceiling many feet away from the screen where the bulb will most likely die out within a few years. This short-throw laser CinemaX P1 removes that element where the unit can be placed on a media center or table only a couple of inches from the wall or screen and project a 4K image using a high-end laser up to 120 inches with virtually zero noise coming from the machine. And it gets better. This machine comes packed with a NuForce Dolby Digital 2.0 audio with 2 full-range aluminum drivers and 2 woofers for an impressive audio palette, thus not needing to purchase an additional soundbar - all for the price of $3700 (a fraction of the cost of a similarly sized LED TV). HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Optoma has delivered a space-age design with its CinemaX P1 projector that looks like something from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Measuring at 22.1 x 5.1 x 15 and weighing in at 24 pounds, this machine has a beautiful jet black color casing with a two-tone black and gray fabric grille that covers its speakers. Dark gold text and bordered legs make this unit pop in a sleek look and make it a conversation piece when placed on a media table.
The stereo soundbar points toward the viewer and features a 2-inch full-range aluminum cone driver and 2.75-inch paper cone woofer for each channel with 40 watts of amplifier power that makes this one of the best audio speakers inside a projector. Each woofer is housed in their own chamber as to not cross paths and bleed over to the other drivers, making for a complex soundscape from audio company NuForce.
The laser itself comes with 3,000 lumens of brightness and is comprised of a single blue laser with 1.5 million:1 contrast ratio and a Dynamic Black feature for lower lit scenes. The unit also engages in HDR with a wide color gamut with the laser lasting over 30,000, meaning if the machine ran 4K content non-stop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would start to die out after 4 years. Also, this laser offers a 0.25 throw ratio, meaning it only has to be a few inches away from the wall to project a 120-inch diagonal image in a 16:9 aspect ratio.
The software is Android-based with several streaming apps available. Unfortunately, these apps and Optoma's software aren't top-notch and is riddled with issues of stalling, quitting out unexpectedly, and hard to navigate menus. On top of that, streaming these apps from the projector itself is not in true 2160p 4K, nor is it in 1080p HD. The best way to work around this is to just plug in an AppleTV, Roku 4K, or Amazon Firestick, which will then suit all the UHD needs.
Other software features include smart voice control and automation elements, which sound great in theory. Optoma brings its own wall of apps and features to the main screen, where an art gallery of images can be displayed on the wall, widgets for sports, news, and weather can be shown, and even a picture-in-picture feature is available. All of these can be brought into play by voice, but not through the remote control, but rather the clunky and difficult Optoma Connect App that can be accessed through a mobile device. Additionally, Alexa and Google Assistant can be used with this device with only basic commands, along with controlling lighting, cameras, and doorbells around the house.
The CinemaX P1 consists of three HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, an aux port for audio, an optical port for audio, and an ethernet port of hardwiring internet is the preferred choice. Wireless connectivity is also available too.
Lastly, the black metal remote control connects via Bluetooth and doesn't require batteries, but rather a USB charge. It has backlighting for darker rooms and comes with only a few buttons, making navigation simple and easy.
Setting up this device is very easy. Just place the unit a few inches away from your screen or flat wall, then plug and play. Of course, measuring the precise distance to fit on a screen is recommended, but other than that, the projector is that simple. Out of the box, the image looks great, but if the factory settings are undesirable, a quick calibration can be done along with using Optoma's Smart FIT, which links to a smartphone that allows movement of the image on the screen to perfect placement. The remote control can also navigate settings and easily control the volume.
After installation and updating the firmware, the CinemaX P1 was ready for its maiden voyage, where an AppleTV 4K, an Xbox One, and a Sony 4K player was hooked up. This projector truly excels with 4K content with HDR, showcasing those enhanced and nuanced colors in television and film at such large projections. The colors are bolder and richer in every lighting condition with deeper black levels that never showed signs of crush or bleeding. Details in lower lit sequences and shadows revealed textures and facial features nicely too.
Putting in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was a must with this projector.Â The first big improvement is the black levels, starting with the opening crawl in space. On this 4K Disc, the blackness of space is deeper with the perfect white stars that illuminate the vast emptiness. The yellow letters pop on screen in a more restrained way, while managing to still burn with that bright golden color. This is also evident in darker sequences at Palpatine’s underground lair as well as Kylo Ren’s black costume that never showcases crush or bleeding into shadows.
The color spectrum is wonderful and wild, as the character’s journey to different planets that reveal some fantastic color schemes from red and orange desert-like terra to deep ocean blue and green worlds where there is not an ounce of sunshine. In between those, the lightsabers and gun blasts really light up the screen nicely with a perfect glow. Even C3PO’s golden body looks excellent in all lighting conditions. All skin tones are natural too.
The detail is extremely sharp and vivid, even in the heavier CGI sequences. Closeups reveal individual hairs, facial pores, wrinkles, and makeup effects nicely on each actor’s face, along with some fine stitching and textures in the wardrobe. The lightsabers themselves showcase their intricate details in the light source and each ship has the necessary detailed components shown from every angle perfectly. Nothing looks flat in this image.
Next up was The Joker in 4K.
Director Todd Phillips and cinematographer Lawrence Sher perfectly created a grimy Gotham that looks to have taken place some decades ago. It has a very gloomy Scorsese Taxi Driver feel where everything seems to be covered in dirt. The color spectrum here with the HDR does it all justice too. The varying shades of browns, reds, greens, and yellows all burn a little brighter and contrast nicely with the night-time blues.
When Arthur is in his clown makeup and costume, the primary colors of neon green hair, bright red mouth makeup, and more all pop right off-screen. And the illuminating white face paint does wonders in every lighting scenario. In addition to that, when Arthur fully ascends to Joker’s status, his maroon and yellow suit burst to the scene with top-notch vibrancy, mixed with his blue eye makeup. It all just looks wonderful in each of these different darker tone scenes. Black levels are deep without any evidence of crush or shadows and the skin tones are perfectly natural.
The detail with this 2160p transfer also looks very vivid and sharp, no matter what the color scheme is. Arthur’s suits and clown outfits show more of the intricate threading and stitching with better textures on the actor’s faces, including facial pores, wrinkles, and makeup effects such as bruises, and nasty wounds all show up nicely. Individual hairs stand out on Joker’s matted hair and his cigarette ash can be seen much easier now. Wider shots showcase all of the necessary grit on buildings and interior sets, which all look realistic.
There is an overall nostalgic feel to the movie where certain sequences can look soft, but rest assured, this is not a transfer issue, but a style choice that creates a 1970’s look of Gotham. It’s an intentional and perfect stylistic decision that makes the image look much better.
With the AppleTV 4K in use...
Streaming 4K content from original Netflix shows like Space Force Season 1 and the action film Extraction look incredible through the eye of this projector. The HDR enhancement brightens the screen with each stylistic choice in color and filter that brings to life every action beat and background image. It's never pixelated or soft, but rather full of depth and a wide palette of intense colors.
Streaming pro-wrestling from the WWE network also works perfectly on the CinemaX P1 that showcase the vast amount of bright neon primary colors that's on display on a constant basis. When streamers are thrown and millions of different colors confetti pop into the air as a wrestling superstar walks out all look astonishing with zero pixelation or softness. It's quite an impressive feat.
Getting into the video game arena with the Xbox One was also a delight.
Jumping into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare with the Warzone playlist online was simply superb in every way. There was virtually no lag time like there is on LCD and LED television that can cause delayed reactions and result in a game over for the character. Scores and XP improved with the use of this projector.
The animation is fluid and smooth from start to finish and the colors are amazing. From the camouflaged uniforms to the contrasting icy mountains and green pastures, all the way to the extremely bright green laser sight scopes - each color simply pops off-screen. The orange and red explosions of helicopters and vehicles to the bright white and yellow flashes of bullets all look excellent too.
The NuForce audio element is a big leap from any other previous projector speaker system. The audio works with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, but 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Atmos options are not available yet. Still, the audio output is incendiary with robust sound effects that liven up the soundscape with. some great atmospheric sounds in the background that are consistently loud.
The dialogue was also boisterous and crystal clear. Music and scores from films and television shows always drove in the bass with a nice rumble too. This NuForce audio speaker system is not a direct replacement for a high-end soundbar that simulates Dolby Atmos or 5.1, but it definitely sounds better than a run-of-the-mill sound system.
The Optoma CinemaX P1 is the perfect audio and video set that should satisfy every need from watching films on 4K UHD Disc to streaming 4K content on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, and even playing extravagant video games through all hours of the night, along with a wonderful sound system to boot that is better than pretty much all projector speaker systems. All of this comes for less than a 100-inch or most 75-inch LED or QLED television sets and will last longer. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!