Optoma definitely knows its way around a projector or two. But can the latest release shine bright, or does it fall short of its previous incarnations?…
The HD142X is the replacement for the very successful HD141X. Taking this new version out of the box there’s a pleasing upmarket feel to the product compared to the older version. It has a nice gloss black plastic top and matte black sides. Things are still a little plasticky but nothing that isn’t unacceptable at this price point. Underneath the unit are the usual fixings for ceiling mounting and the two rear feet are height adjustable, which is very handy. The button array at the top of the unit is also pleasing to use and allows access to the menu system as well as source selection. The supplied remote is nicely laid out and has a bright blue backlight, which makes using the remote in complete darkness very easy.
Optoma have tried to cram in as much quality and technology as possible at this price and it shows: 1080p resolution, a class-leading 3000 ANSI Lumens brightness level, 23,000:1 contrast ratio and an impressive Rec.709 colour reproduction. This means the HD142X has the ability to produce a bright image with a wide range of colours, and respectable black levels in pretty much any lighting condition. The HD142X is a short-throw projector, meaning you don’t need to have the projector far away from your screen in order to fill it.
When testing the projector the first thing I watched was a clip from Mad Max: Fury Road. I pace the HD142X in its factory settings to see how it faired fresh out the box. Straight away I noticed that there’s a good level of detail and sharpness to the picture, although the colours were wildly oversaturated. After some investigating it turns out that the factory picture mode is “Vivid mode”. A quick play with the picture settings revealed that “Reference mode” is the best pre-programmed mode to get a more accurate and realistic imagine from the HD142X.
Next up in the audition was a clip from the fantastic TV series Game Of Thrones. A very dark scene was chosen to see what how the HD142X dishes out it’s black levels. It certainly delivers a very well rounded image; people’s dimly lit faces are easily recognised and there’s good accuracy to skin tones too. On a few of the scenes colour banding starts to become noticeable, (what looks like a paint by numbers effect). It is visible but not overly distracting.
The third and final bit of content I tested on the HD142X was Transformers Age Of Extinction. The particular scene I watched had lots going on, as the buildings crumbled around the main characters trying desperately to escape the destruction. The CGI in this film is fantastic and the Optoma makes sure that it’s delivered with plenty of detail. With all the chaos going on it makes it a very good test for motion. The image is more that of traditional cinema, which is not a bad thing as some other projectors often over process the image which can lead to worse artifacts.
To summarise, Optoma has produced a great projector at the budget end of the price range. It may have some small imperfections in the image, but these are only minor when you consider what other fantastic attributes there are to it. To really get a fantastic idea of what a true home cinema could feel like, book an appointment at your local store and see the HD142X and many other projectors for yourself!
Author: Aaron – Bournemouth store