The HD141X projector is a cheap, light, and beautiful looking projector that has no business being the price it is, features which all helped rocket it to the top if our list of the best projector under $1,000 for 2016.
But will its shockingly low price come with unseen tradeoffs that ruin the movie watching experience for you or your guests? Read on in my review of the Optoma HD141X to find out.
Is it a best hd projector for the budget-minded.
Price: $549 on Amazon
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Need brightness on a tight budget? Get the Optoma HD141X.
Summary: The Optoma HD141X is a bright, beatiful projector that won’t break the bank.
What We Liked
- Color representation was serviceable
- Whisper quiet operation
- Serious brightness on a budget
What We Didn’t
- Lacking input variety
- Runs pretty hot under the collar
Optoma HD141X Specs
|Screen Size||41.8" - 300"|
|Native Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Refresh Rates||24 - 85Hz ( up to 120Hz for 3D)|
|HDMI Ports||2 (1.4)|
|Device Dimensions||12.4 x 8.8 x 4.5 inches|
Of all the features of the HD141X, the design is probably what helps it to stand out the most against the rest of the noise. With black on black stylings, a polished top casing, and subtle lines around the edges, the HD141X’s design isn’t exactly loud straight out of the box, but it’s not muted either.
As I’ve mentioned before, the world of projectors hasn’t seen a lot of design innovation over the past few years, despite the fact that these devices often take the front-and-center attention of any room they’re in. That said, the Optoma HD141X eschews traditional norms with its sleek black shell, but not so much that it will grate on the eyes of any guests who happen to sit down for your weekly movie night.
The Optoma HD141X uses DLP technology to create its images, a maximum display resolution of 1920 x 1080, a contrast ratio of 23,000:1, and can create an image as large as 300″ across from 20ft away.
Unfortunately the unit itself was seriously lacking on inputs, with only two HDMI 1.4 ports (one was MHL compatible), a mini-USB input, and a lone audio-out jack. Given the price skimping on all ports except the essentials is understandable, but still pretty disappointing.
Luckily, all our complaints about the lack of ports were quickly washed away when we picked the unit up. At just 5.4 lbs standing weight, the Optoma HD141X is impossibly light, making it perfect for mounting from the ceiling, your wall, or on a shelf without much reinforcement or stud-drilling necessary.
User Interface and Settings
The user interface on the Optoma HD141X was relatively basic, just about what you would expect from a projector at this price point. All the regular customization options made an appearance, including more advanced settings like the ability to keystone the picture based on how the projector was mounted in our testing space, as well as turning on/off the dynamic black feature (more on that later).
Like everything else on the Optoma HD141X, the menu was made to be simple, but friendly to newer users who have perhaps never touched a projector before they bought this one. For that task alone, everything included in the interface did the job it was supposed to, which is just fine by our mark.
Testing and Performance
The BenQ HT4050 (review coming soon) comes with a rating of 3,000 lumens, which was plenty to give us a rich, palatable set of colors during movie watching in the middle of the day or the darkest depths of night.
In our brightness tests, we found the Optoma performed above and beyond for what you would expect from a sub-$600 projector. At a distance of 5ft with the lens shining dead on during the day, we recorded 1370 lux of brightness. At 10ft (distance from the projector to the screen), that figure barely dropped in strength while measuring from the center of the image, to just 1102 lux. Dead zones weren’t much of a problem either, fading just slightly to 912 lux at its absolute weakest points (top left and right-hand corners of the screen).
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The overall picture quality was equally as impressive for the HD141X’s weight class, thanks in large part to its DLP projection technology. There wasn’t a whole lot of variation between what we saw in 2D and 3D games/movies, with many of the same benefits carrying over to the extra dimension of visible space. The one caveat to all this was the Dynamic Black feature, which Optoma says is supposed to create “more depth to your image by smoothly adjusting the lamp output, based on the brightness information of each frame”. Personally, we noticed that different sources of content would cause the system to go slightly haywire, as it rapidly tried to darken the blacks and pump the contrast on objects around it in order to compensate.
Gaming performance was again just as solid as the picture quality, especially when you take the price of the HD141X into account. On slower single-player games like Rise of the Tomb Raider there was no input lag that we could find, and faster-paced multiplayer games such as Halo 5: Guardians performed just as we hoped it would for a beginner’s projection setup.
Noise and Heat
One area where the Optoma HD141X simply blew us away was in the noise department. Even using sensitive equipment, we were only able to register a 3dB difference in the ambient sound of our testing environment with the projector turned off compared to when it was on and running video content.
The heat displacement on the other hand could still use some work. Because the fans faced out toward the front of the projector, we weren’t able to put it on the normal shelf behind the couch without feeling some sweat start to build up on our brows after an hour of watching Game of Thrones. If you’re mounting the projector inside a coffee table or anywhere in front of the seating area this won’t be an issue, but it’s still something to bear in mind when you’re deciding where to house the unit in your viewing room.
And finally, we come to the speakers. Previously I’ve mentioned that it’s hard to rate a projector simply on the basis of its onboard speakers, considering that 99% of the time you use it you should have an external stereo system hooked up anyway. This in mind, there are still some points when you might want to take the projector outside for a block party or camping trip, and in those scenarios the HD141X will still hold its own just fine.
At louder volumes the onboard 10W speakers were muddy and lacking serious balance, but once we fiddled around in the settings we were able to hit a nice happy medium that would do the job of a tower speaker just fine in a pinch.
If you’re in the market for your very first projector, but aren’t comfortable spending more than you would on a comparable HDTV for the whole setup (complete with a projector screen, external stereo, and input devices), the Optoma HD141X is the perfect projector for you.
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Its picture quality is only “okay” by premium home theater standards and there could definitely be a few more input options, but when you consider the Optoma HD141X is only $549 out the door all its sins become a whole lot easier to forgive. This is an entry-class projector for the budding home theater enthusiast, and in that role exclusively, it handles the job with flying colors.
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