OPTOMA HD146X Review: Successful Entry-Level Projector
The HD146x offers a lot of options for a comparatively low price. In OPTOMA HD146X REVIEW, I will clarify how well the projector performs in everyday life and where you have to compromise.
But before we go into depth, you will first get the technical data:
|resolution||Native Full HD (1,920 x 1,080)|
|Aspect ratio||16: 9 (native), switchable to 4: 3|
|brightness||3,600 ANSI lumens|
|Projection lens||f = 15.59 – 17.14, manual zoom, manual focus|
|Projection size (diagonal)||28 inches (71cm) – 301 inches (765cm)|
|Projection distances||1m – 9.8m|
|Max. Lamp life in hours||4000 (standard), 10,000 (ECO)|
|Keystone Correction||+/- 40 degrees (vertical) manually|
1 x HDMI 1.4a
1x DC Out USB A (5V / 2A)
1x 3.5mm audio out
|Audio||1 internal 5W speaker|
|Power consumption||295 watts
205 watts (Eco)
0.5 watts (standby)
|Dimensions / packaging||316mm x 108mm x 244mm|
|included supply||Power cord, remote control, remote control batteries, printed quick start guide|
Visually, the HD146x is a plain black device. Optoma only uses plastic as the material for cladding. The sides are matt, the top is made of glossy plastic. The glossy top is very susceptible to dust. So if you permanently install the projector somewhere, you will not be able to avoid frequent dusting.
I can’t say anything about the scratch resistance of the top. Like all high-gloss surfaces, it should be very susceptible to this, but I didn’t want to try it now to see how easily I can leave a scratch.
The workmanship is flawless. There are no sharp edges or loose parts. Although only plastic is used as the material, the HD146x makes a robust and high-quality impression.
Lean Connection Selection
Connections are in short supply on the HD146x. There is an HDMI input. That was it. You’d think that Optoma would at least include an HDMI cable. Unfortunately this is not so. Apart from the power cable, there are no other cables in the packaging.
In the photo you can see another USB port. Unfortunately, this is not used for data transmission, but only for power supply. With it you can connect a dongle like the Chromecast and stream over it. The HD146x does not have Bluetooth or WLAN.
Bright Lamp And Dlp Technology
The lamp of the HD146x has an output of 3600 ANSI lumens. This gives you a decent picture even in brighter surroundings. But of course there are limits.
The HD146x cannot compete against the midday sun. The image will then become flat and difficult to see. In closed rooms, you get a good and detailed picture with indirect afternoon light. Of course, you get the best picture when the room is really dark. But more on that later.
With this entry-level projector, Optoma uses DLP technology for projection. In essence, the process works as follows: White light is colored red, green, and blue using a color wheel and then passed on to the DLP chip. In the next step, the image is passed on to the screen via the lens. This means that the light hits the canvas in layers. You can also see this when you take a photo of the canvas. The effect can be clearly seen in the photos.
Simple And Clear Menu
You can easily adapt the HD146x to your preferences. Because Optoma not only provides a very clear menu with a good structure, but also a remote control.
The menu gives you access to the operating modes and the image settings. I recommend that you download the operating instructions as a pdf directly from Optoma. All options and menu paths are clearly itemized there.
You can operate the projector not only via the remote control, but also via the buttons on the top.
A brief word about the operating modes. The standard mode at Optoma is called “Hell”. The HD146x also has the “Eco” mode. Unfortunately, you have to do without a dynamic mode that automatically adapts the image to the available light.
There is also a dedicated gaming mode. If you use this, the response time is reduced to 16ms. This means that even games that do not require fractions of a second are really fun. Both my dearly and dearly beloved Command & Conquer Remaster and the establishment of a wise and benevolent rule in Anno put you in a good mood on such a large screen. However, the response time is a bit too high for shooters.
The same applies to sports broadcasts as to gaming. Really fast scenes are not the strength of the HD146x. This leads to streaking effects and the picture appears blurred. This is hardly noticeable in long shots, but very clear in close-ups.
If you want to adjust the HD146x completely to your own taste, there are three memory locations available, which you can call up directly via the remote control. Incidentally, it lies comfortably in the hand and also reacts well to inputs.
Decent Picture Even Without A Canvas
But who cares about technical fuss if the picture is wrong. A projector is useless without a good picture. The HD146x does not come close to the top models, but it can convince in dark surroundings.
Colors are displayed vividly, with the intensity fluctuating depending on the selected image mode. The picture is bright and rich in contrast. There is nothing to complain about here.
As already described above and not to be expected otherwise, the image quality decreases with increasing brightness. Colors are washed out and the contrast decreases. So if you are thinking of watching the games of the possibly / hopefully / maybe soon-to-be-held European Football Championship in the garden with a projector, you should skip the afternoon games and switch to the evening.
If you can darken your room sensibly, then use the eco mode. The picture is then not quite as bright as in normal mode, but this has no influence on the color display. This mode not only ensures a longer service life for the lamp, but also ensures that the fans do not run continuously, but at intervals and also run more quietly.
Of course, you get the highest image quality with a canvas. I don’t have them with me. But a good picture can also be displayed directly on the wall. Up close you can see the structure. But from a distance of one to one and a half meters nothing of it can be seen.
The HD146x needs a distance of one meter to be able to display an image. The result is a 27-28 “image. If you have a little more space, you can set up the projector up to 9.8 meters from the screen. This distance leads to an image with a full 7.65 meters diagonal. In my apartment, the projector was about 2.5 meters in front of the wall and that gave me a 70″ diagonal.
There is Sound, But It’s Not Fun
With the HD146x, Optoma offers a speaker with 5 watts. That is enough for an emergency and is better than nothing. But good sound is different.
In normal mode, the projector is so loud that the speaker can only drown out it with difficulty – and not always. If you use the eco mode, that’s no problem at least.
The sound of the internal speaker is also thin. Lows hardly develop at all and accordingly the highs dominate. Depending on the nature of the surroundings and the contact surface, the tone also sounds tinny. If you can use a table with a thick top as a resonance body, then do that. This then ensures a richer and deeper sound.
This sound was to be expected and is in no way a surprise. If you want good sound, you have to connect the projector to a sound system via the jack connection.
Operating Volume – Partly Clearly Audible
According to Optoma, the HD 146x delivers a maximum background noise of 28db. That doesn’t sound like much, but it can be loud under certain circumstances.
The sound of the projector can be clearly heard in quiet rooms. While watching a film, I could still hear the projector in normal mode from just under three meters away. The 5-watt speaker is only partially against the ventilation. I cannot judge to what extent you will find it disturbing. It depends on how sensitive you are. I was able to partially block out the sound. But once I noticed it, it was always present. With a sound system, however, it should no longer be audible.
The good news: In Eco mode, noise no longer plays a role. The projector’s internal speaker is completely sufficient to drown out the fan noise that occurs at intervals.
The HD146x draws in fresh air from the left side and expels the exhaust air to the front and to the side on the right side. So if you sit directly to the right of the projector, it can get warm.
Uncomplicated Lamp Replacement
The lamp is the primary wear part of a projector. When the time to change approaches, you will be informed directly by the projector. But before you start to replace the lamp, make sure that the projector is cold. Optoma recommends letting the projector cool down for 30 minutes before approaching the lamp. Because it gets really hot during operation.
To get to the lamp, you just have to loosen one screw on the right side. It sits under a small guarantee seal. Then you simply slide the small part on the top to the right and take it off. Then you can easily access the lamp of the HD146x.
Conclusion: The Optoma HD146x ReVIEW
The Optoma HD146x scores in most areas. With reasonable lighting conditions, you get a large, colorful and bright picture. In bright rooms, however, the projector cannot compete with the ambient light.
A well-structured and intuitive menu is available for operation. The sound is not convincing, but that was not to be expected otherwise and is the case with many projectors. You have to use external speakers for good sound.
I found the operating noise annoying in normal mode. That’s why I preferred to use the projector in Eco mode during the test. It is significantly quieter and also scores with an extended lamp life.
The second point that bothers me is the low port selection. USB ports for data transmission should actually be the standard for every device today. Optoma clearly has to improve on a new edition.
Overall, the HD146x is a successful entry-level projector. A good picture, many setting options, and a reasonable price make it an interesting overall package.