We take a first look at the new H183X projector from Optoma – bringing the big screen experience home to your front room.
One of the things that can put people off of having a large TV is the simple impact that it has on the room. As a piece of furniture, they can seem intrusive and take up a lot of space (despite the bezels of TVs being quite small these days) especially when situated in a small room. For consumers with small children, safety can also be a worry as left unchecked, children might accidently pull the TV over. It’s no small wonder that some choose to use a smaller TV for regular broadcasts but then invest in a projector for more cinematic content that they want to see on a bigger screen. Of course, projectors have their own considerations – ceiling mounts, sound systems, screens, extra cabling etc. which inevitably increases the cost. So what if you want the big screen experience but you’re on a smaller screen budget? Enter the Optoma H183X…
With a footprint of 298mm x 230mm and weighing just over 2kg, it’s considerably smaller and lighter than any of the TVs that we sell. It’s also hard to believe therefore that a unit in this price range has the potential for a projected image of 316 inches! Naturally, the distance from the screen or wall would need to be pretty far away (at least 36 feet in fact) but the point is that projectors allow you the luxury of big screen images without needing to remortgage the house.
Despite its potential for large screen sizes it’s worth mentioning that the H183X is only capable of 720p HD resolution, however at this price that’s still not to be sniffed at. The reality is that most people are likely to use this for an image size of less than half of what it’s capable of (say 100 inches or below) which still means it sits firmly in the land of good value for money. Unusually for this price point, picture specification is very favourable with the H183X boasting a contrast ratio of 25000:1 and brightness of 3200 lumens. This means that you don’t have to be in pitch-blackness to get a decent picture. Also the depth of colour will be more varied than other manufacturers that may be more expensive. With only one HDMI, one component and one VGA input it’s not massively well spec’d for connections, but again this shouldn’t be a surprise. Considering that you’re most likely to use this in conjunction with an AV receiver or soundbar for sound purposes, their extra inputs should allow you to accommodate further sources.
Starting off with a Blu-ray of Transformers: Age of Extinction, it’s obvious that the H183X is no slouch when it comes to the bright action scenes of buildings crumbling and big sea tankers exploding. There are half a dozen or so picture presets to select from and various brightness, contrast and colour temperature modes to choose from, so finding settings to suit your environment isn’t hard. Darker scenes such as those found in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring suffer a little from a lack of subtlety but that’s to be expected when looking at any entry level projector. It’s still an enjoyable experience when you’ve paid so little for the unit. Being DLP, there’s a touch of rainbow effect in there, but only on frantic scenes with normal viewing being pretty stable most of the time. Those who might not be able to match up the height of the projector with the edge of the screen needn’t worry as there’s an option for vertical keystone (angling the image forward or backwards to un-skew the picture) as well as adjustable feet too. Playing some DVDs resulted in the expected drop of detail but motion remains adequate despite there being fewer pixels on the screen.
If you’re serious about your audiovisual equipment you’ll not be looking at this sort of projector. As small and discreet as it is, it doesn’t have the specifications to match a proper home cinema experience. That being said, the whole point of this is that it’s for people on a budget and if you’ve neither the space nor the bank balance for the bigger toys, the Optoma H183X is a serious contender for ramping up the enjoyment when playing video games or watching a movie. Why not bring in your favourite Blu-ray and come and get the big screen experience for yourself at your local Richer Sounds store.
To find out more about the Optoma H183X, click here.
Author – Steve, Bristol store