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Home theater possibilities greatly benefit from ultra-short-throw (UST) projectors which can beam a large image size while being positioned at the front of a room inches from the screen. No longer needed are specialized rooms totally free of ambient light big enough to allow for projector placements many feet away from the screen in order to have sufficient throw distance to display big-screen image sizes.
The Optoma CinemaX P1 is a UST projector that displays a large image with sufficient brightness such that ambient light control is less problematic, has multiple interfaces, supports HDR content as well as HDR10 and HLG, is easy to set up, and has an integrated audio soundbar. The Optoma CinemaX P1 is featured in GR’s Best Laser Projector buyer’s guide of UHD home projectors.
The Optoma CinemaX P1 is a sleek looking ultra HD, ultra short throw projector that delivers an immersive big screen viewing experience placed inches from the screen.
The Optoma CinemaX P1 is the predecessor to their other Optoma 4K Projector, the CinemaX P2 Smart 4K Projector. The P1 model performs every bit as well, throwing sharp images that are detailed and vivid, with equivalent so-called “smart home” features of its successor model, as well as a couple of differences. The P1 uses a DLP XPR chip that natively projects 1080p (HD) resolution, and then uses pixel shift technology to emit 4x the pixels to achieve UHD resolution (3840 X 2160). Some purists label this technology ‘faux 4K,’ but nevertheless the image quality and viewing experience are very much 4K resolution. This is unlike the Optoma EH415ST, which is only 1080p.
P1 uses an 8 segment color wheel delivering a color gamut visually on par with the P2 (which has the better technical specification). There are ample physical connectivity options with three HDMI 2.0 inputs (two rear, and one to the side), two USB ports, an RJ-45 Ethernet adapter, a 3.5mm audio jack, and an optical digital audio output. Also integrated Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth connectivity as well. The CinemaX P1 is compatible with HDR and HDR10 input sources.
There are few controls on the attractive P1 case, with functions managed using a remote control. Customer comments were critical of the embedded software in the P1, saying that navigation wasn’t intuitive and the use of the remote was confusing. The Optoma P1 is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, but customer comments were also critical of the included streaming apps which only support HD resolution, suggesting instead that connecting the P1 to an external streaming device provided better usability and produced far better picture quality.
There is also a Gaming Mode setting that increases the internal refresh rate and bypasses image geometry correction, but even with this enabled serious gamers will find the input lag of the P1 to be even slower than the P2 and therefore unsuitable for fast action games. The front panel of the Optoma CinemaX P1 is a stereo soundbar system with two full-range 2” 20-watt stereo speakers. Pretty good sound, but a connection to an external sound system is needed for a fuller theater sound experience.
Unlike the BenQ TH671ST, the Optoma CinemaX P1 is rated at 3,000 lumens with its phosphor laser light source feeding an eight-segment (RGBYRGBY) color wheel to generate the primary colors. The Optoma CinemaX P1 is certainly bright enough to overcome a moderate amount of ambient light, but really excels in darkened room environments.
The P1’s contrast ratio of 1,500,000:1 is slightly less than the contrast ratio of the successor P2 projector, but looks great and is comparable with other UST projectors, however, both are below the ultra contrast ratio of the VAVA 4K projector.
The Optoma CinemaX P1 projects image sizes from 85 to 120 inches (diagonal) with a throw ratio of 0.25:1 which is not as short as LG’s HU85LA, and which means you’ll need just a bit more distance from the wall. For a 120 inch image, the back of the projector (closest to the screen) needs to be approximately 15” from the screen. Physically the Optoma P1 box is just under 15” deep, so filling a 100-inch screen size means the front edge (closest to the audience) of the P1 sits 25” out from the screen.
The P1 has geometric correction capability through Optoma’s SmartFit app which uses the camera on your smartphone (iOS or Android) to snap the projector image into place. However, based on user feedback this appears viable only on a fixed screen, i.e., not workable on pull-down screens. Geometric correction also worsens input lag for gaming. There are six color mode settings for 1080p SDR content, and dedicated modes that activate HDR content (ultra HD). Some customer comments also lament that the CinemaX P1 setup instructions are inadequate.
The Optoma CinemaX P1 is a stylish box sitting at the front of the viewing room. While there’s some noise from a cooling fan, it’s not so noticeable over a soundtrack. Optoma rates its laser lamp life at 30,000 hours (not the amount of time until failure, but rather the time until the laser engine’s brightness is reduced by 50%). The unit is well built and stylish in a black color scheme. The warranty for the P1 is two years.
There are many choices and trade-offs in the projector market. The Optoma CinemaX P1 list price is actually a few dollars more than the CinemaX P2 projector, and both cost way more than the VAVA 4K projector. Nevertheless, it’s a reasonably good choice. Still, it’s possible to spend far less for the VAVA UST, or spend even more for an LG HU85LA UST projector. Alternatively, an equivalent projected picture quality could be obtained in less space-constrained rooms by using longer throw projectors, where again you can spend less for an Optoma UHD60, or more on an Optoma UHZ65.
The Optoma CinemaX P1 delivers outstanding picture quality performing outstandingly well projecting in a variety of room settings. Its ultra-short throw lets it sit at the front of a viewing area and makes ceiling mounting unnecessary. The Optoma CinemaX P1 instantly turns any room into a home theater.