Optoma CinemaX P2 4K DLP Laser Projector
Projector Central Editor's Choice Award

Editor's Choice Award

Our Editor's Choice award goes to products that dramatically exceed expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design.

  • Performance
  • 4.5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Pros
  • Accurate out-of-box image quality
  • Effective HDR and 3D playback
  • Solid on-board audio system compatible with outboard subwoofer
  • Excellent value
Cons
  • Ineffective Aptoide-based web-streaming platform
Our Take

Priced $500 less than its predecessor, Optoma's second-generation CinemaX P2 living room laser projector improves on the original while providing even greater value.

As we move into fall 2020, the UST living room projector landscape continues to evolve. Epson's long-awaited release of its LS500 in September ($4,999 with a 100-inch screen) was expected, but Hisense surprised us with a new, more affordable single-laser model for its Laser TV line that sells for $3,999, as did Samsung, with the announcement of two pending USTs including a single-laser model priced at $3,499 and a $6,499 tri-laser flagship.

Optoma CinemaxP2 top angle

Also unexpected was a new offering from Optoma, which successfully launched its CinemaX P1 last year to accolades that included our ProjectorCentral Editor's Choice Award. The CinemaX P2 we're reviewing here is a nearly identical replacement with some key differences I'll describe below. Critically, the biggest of those is a $3,299 street price—$500 less than its predecessor. The P2—like the P1—remains the next step up in the market from VAVA's entry-level $2,799 4K UST projector while carrying the same notable bump in performance. At its lower price, it represents an even better step-up value and stakes a solid claim against the new competition in its price range. Let's have a closer look.

 

Features

The P2's features are basically a repeat of what we described in our test report of the P1, but let's review them and delineate how the P2 departs. To begin, the high-tech, two-tone cabinet design—with its convex front grille—has a different color scheme. Gone is the jet black/dark gray two-tone for the case and grille, replaced by a white cabinet that matches much of the P1's competition. It's mated here with a light-gray grille. As with the P1 there is just one control on the unit—a power button—and some status LEDs visible on top. All other functions are handled through the compact brushed metal, backlit remote. This modest but efficient mini-wand operates via Bluetooth and has both a conventional navigation pad for menus and an air-mouse function that can be helpful with the built-in web browser and some streaming apps. Its integrated battery requires periodic charging via a USB cable.

Behind the grille is the same NuForce-developed stereo soundbar system found in the P1, with two 2-inch full range aluminum cone drivers and two 2.75-inch paper cone woofers, driven by a total of 40 watts of amplifier power. The woofers are housed in their own ported chambers to improve bass response from the small drivers. In our test of the P1, I found the overall sonics good, but bass noticeably less full and the sound less powerful and detailed than on the VAVA's excellent Harman Kardon-branded sound system. The saving grace with the P1, as well as the P2, is the ability to use the projector's analog audio output to drive a separate powered subwoofer. Adding one takes the audio performance to a whole new level in terms of overall tonal balance, volume/dynamic range, and sheer impact with both action soundtracks and music. I highly recommend putting aside a minimum $100 to $150 extra for a value-priced 10- or 12-inch subwoofer from Dayton Audio or Monoprice.

Optoma CinemaX P2 audio system
The Optoma CinemaX P2 built-in soundbar has four drivers—two 2-inch tweeters and two 2.75-inch woofers.

The same motorized lens optics with manual powered focus developed for the P1 is also found in the P2. The 0.25:1 throw ratio is not as short as on some competitors, which means you'll need more distance from the wall. Image size is specified at 85 to 120 inches diagonal in 16:9 aspect ratio, with throw distances from the back edge of the projector at 5.7 inches for an 85-inch image, 10.1 inches for a 100-inch image, and 14.5 inches out for a 120-inch image. Accounting for the projector's 14.5 inch depth and 5.25 inch height, filling a 100-inch screen puts the front edge of the projector at 25 inches out from the screen while resting on a platform approximately 15 inches below the bottom edge of the screen. (You can visit ProjectorCentral's Optoma CinemaX P2 Throw Calculator for different scenarios.)

Optoma has retained the extensive geometric correction tools found in the P1, as well as compatibility with the clever SmartFit iOS/Android app that uses your smartphone's camera to literally snap the image into place. If you don't mind activating the geometric correction circuitry, it greatly simplifies the tricky one-time maneuvering of the projector that accompanies set-up of any ultra-short-throw projector. On the other hand, you'll want to avoid geometric correction if possible to preserve the best image quality and fastest input lag for gaming. Optoma's new Gaming Mode (see below), virtually a requirement for any game play, defeats the geometric correction in any event.

As also reported for the P1, the combination of the UHD (3840x2160) resolution 0.47-inch DLP XPR micromirror chip, plus the excellent lens optics, results in an exceptionally sharp and detailed image for a UST, with very crisp pixel-level delineation from the center screen out close to the edges with only a slight loss of focus at the corners where it won't usually be noticed. I found my P2 sample to be as good or better in this regard than the P1.

CinemaX P2_side-800

The P2's 3,000 lumen rating for the laser light engine is also unchanged from the P1, and it shares the same 20,000-hour life to half-brightness at full power. Nonetheless, it's a misconception that a laser light engine delivers instant-on performance when you hit the power button. As with any modern TV, you still have to wait for the electronics boot up. With the P2, an Optoma splash screen comes up 18 seconds after hitting the power button, and if you've got a live source connected you'll be watching it in about 36 seconds from turn-on. Shut down is nearly instantaneous and you won't hear the cooling fans run for more than a few seconds after the screen goes dark.

As with the P1, the P2 generates light from a single blue laser that feeds a yellow phosphor wheel and a color wheel to generate the primary colors. In the P1, Optoma used an RGBYRGBY color wheel, adding yellow to the red, green, and blue primaries. This had the effect of stretching the projector's brightness to the full 3,000-lumen spec at the sacrifice of some color accuracy.

Optoma was able to retain the same 3,000 lumens in the P2 while using an RGBRGB color wheel, forgoing a white or yellow segment to boost the brightness. Without that segment, gamut is said to be extended and there's the potential for some colors to appear more saturated, more so when the DLP BrilliantColor control is set to its minimum.

CinemaX P2-lifestyle-main

Color gamut in the older P1 was not officially specified, but for our review I measured 79% of the DCI-P3 gamut that today's 4K content is mastered to, or 117% Rec.709. Color gamut for the P2 is specified at 120% Rec.709, and I measured essentially identical results to the P1, so just a percent or three short of the spec and within range of error of my instruments. But the main thing here is that the extension of gamut beyond Rec.709 is a benefit that is clearly visible in the accuracy and saturation of deep red objects, though not quite as obvious as with projectors that reach closer to the full DCI-P3 space.

Also visible is an improvement in rated dynamic contrast ratio from 1,500,000:1 in the P1 to 2,000,000:1 in the P2, made possible by enhancements to the projector's laser dimming scheme. As you'll see in my image quality observations, the improvement in black level is noticeable in dark room viewing.

Along with retention of the SmartFit app, the CinemaX P2 maintains the P1's list of other smart features, including on-board streaming apps from the Optoma Marketplace driven by the Android-based Aptoide platform, and compatibility with Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT automation. Optoma's InfoWall app for customizing your own home screen is still available, though I still find its execution clumsy. There's a new TapCast app for Android and iOS mobile devices that was first added to the P1 in its latest firmware update over the summer and which works well for initiating screen mirroring and casting to the projector, as well as for casting whatever is being projected back to your mobile device.

Another new addition is inclusion of the FRAMED digital art platform. The projector's screen saver, when activated, is now a curated exhibit featuring a dozen rotating works of unique animated digital art by emerging artists.

Unfortunately, my marks for the Aptoide streaming platform remain low. I repeat: no one should purchase this or any projector integrating this platform (including models from Optoma, BenQ, ViewSonic, and VAVA), expecting it to provide the streaming benefits, ease of use, and performance of a name-brand smart TV or a Roku, Amazon Fire, or Apple TV streaming media player. The apps for the major services like Netflix and Amazon are unsophisticated and difficult to use —if they work at all—and some will deliver only standard-definition resolution to your 4K projector. Buy a 4K-resolution streaming dongle for $50.

Optoma took some heat from gamers with the P1 for having noticeably slow input lag, which we measured at 121.8 ms with a 4K UHD signal. The last firmware update for the P1 introduced a Gaming Mode to increase the internal refresh rate and bypass the geometric correction and PureMotion frame interpolation, thus reducing lag to a claimed 66 to 67 ms for both 1080p/60 and 4K/60 signals. This was carried into the P2, where I measured lag at 66.5 ms for 1080p/60 and 69.2 ms for 4K/60 with Gaming Mode on. While this is a vast improvement over the results without Gaming Mode, be advised it's still fairly high and suitable only for casual gaming.

CinemaX P2_front-800

Here's a rundown of the Optoma P2's key features at a glance:

  • 3,000 lumens laser light source with 20,000 hour life (full) or 30,000 hour (Eco)
  • 2,000,000:1 rated dynamic contrast ratio
  • 120% Rec.709 rated color gamut, supports up to Rec.2020
  • 0.47-inch 4K UHD resolution DLP XPR imaging chip
  • Six-segment RGBRGB Color Wheel
  • HDR10, HLG high dynamic range playback
  • 3D playback
  • 67.6ms (4K UHD, 60 Hz) / 67.1ms (1080p, 60Hz) rated input lag (SmartFIT and PureMotion disabled)
  • 40W Dolby Digital 2.0 soundbar with 2 full range speakers and 2 woofers; subwoofer compatible
  • Compact, rechargeable Bluetooth remote
  • Integrated WiFi with Android-based Aptoide streaming platform; built in browser
  • SmartFIT companion app with auto geometry correction system
  • Smart+ technology with Alexa, Google Action & IFTTT integration
  • FRAMED digital art screensaver

Performance

Color modes and Calibration. The P2 offers similar color modes as the P1, beginning with six for 1080p/SDR (standard dynamic range) content: Cinema (the out of box default), HDR Sim (for simulating an HDR effect with SDR), Game, Reference, Bright , and User (which starts out mimicking the Cinema mode). The Bright mode comes with the usual green bias that makes it unsuitable for most serious viewing, though the tint was modest enough that it might be helpful for casual daytime viewing in bright rooms with lots of windows. There are dedicated modes that activate for HDR10 or HLG high dynamic range content and for 3D. All the modes provide the same access to picture tuning controls that include both RGB Gain/Bias for grayscale and a full RGBCMY color management system to align the color points. There's also a laser brightness setting that can be adjusted from the default 100% Brightness setting down to 50% brightness in 5% increments, or switched into any of three graduated DynamicBlack settings that deepen the blacks on dark content.

P2 remote1a

Although side-by-side comparisons of like-named modes on the P1 and P2 revealed differences in the each projector's tuning, my pecking order remained the same as with the P1. Reference was the most color accurate but least bright mode out of the box, making it most suitable for serious dark-room movie viewing, even on my 100-inch 0.6 gain UST ALR screen. Cinema mode produced noticeably higher brightness for ambient light viewing with a modest sacrifice in color accuracy, and Game mode provided even more punch for high brightness but with much more saturated color and bluer whites that would be well-suited to games and animation but wiped out fine differences in caucasian skin tones in its default settings. I ended up using Reference and Cinema as my dark- and bright-room SDR modes, adjusting the Brightness (black level) and Color saturation controls as needed to insure the best contrast and skin tones.

I performed measurements on the P2 using Calman software from Portrait Displays, an Xrite i1Pro2 spectrophotometer, and a Murideo Six-G 4K/HDR signal generator. Out of the box, the Reference mode measured close to the industry-standard D65 color point but leaned a little red on its grayscale. Nonetheless, images took on an unexpected modest blue tint that proved to be the result of a well-oversatured and off-hue blue primary. Still, this mode calibrated well in the end and ultimately delivered a very neutral white and excellent color accuracy. With final settings I measured 16.1 foot-Lamberts off my 100-inch, 0.6 gain screen, which would translate to about 27 ft-L on a same size 1.0 gain screen.

The Cinema mode defaults looked fine for bright room viewing where both contrast and color accuracy are less mission-critical. Measurements showed a bluer/cooler color temperature for white—not surprising for its higher brightness—and the same blue color point that needed correction. It too, calibrated up nicely and delivered a great-looking image for moderate to high ambient light. As measured in the dark, it punched out 20.1 ft-L off my 0.6 gain, 100-incher (about 33 ft-L on a 1.0 gain screen).

CinemaX P2 lifestyle 2

The HDR mode looked excellent out of the box, minus a bit of oversaturation of caucasian faces on most content that was tamed with a few clicks down on the Color control, plus the usual content-dependent tuning of Brightness (black level), Contrast (peak white), and the four-position HDR Brightness setting. The HDR Brightness control, which is easily accessible by pressing and holding the Menu button to call up a small slide-out menu, can be set to Detail, Film, Standard, or Bright. Detail provides the dimmest image for the darkest titles and Bright is for the hottest titles or for adding the most punch to bright highlights in HDR titles with average brightness. For most HDR movies I found the Standard setting preferable to the default Film setting; it usually lent more visceral punch while maintaining good contrast and without pushing the whites into blooming and creating a loss of detail in the highlights.

Calibrating HDR on a projector with instrumentation and calibration software is always a challenge because of the low peak-white brightness compared with the flatpanels for which HDR (and the software) was designed—often around a tenth or less. So I wasn't suprised when a couple of attempts to calibrate the HDR mode resulted in a worse-looking image than what I started with. In the end I just left well enough alone and lived happily with the default HDR settings for grayscale and color points. In the default HDR settings, peak brightness measured 23.4 ft-L or 80 nits off the 0.6 gain ALR screen. This would translate to about 39 ft-L or 133 nits on a unity gain screen. Even on the ALR, it was more than enough for some very punchy and satisfying viewing in moderate to bright ambient light, though without much visible benefit from the nuance of HDR.

In side-by-side comparisons of the P2 to the P1, the P2 achieved a deeper native black that was obvious on dark content, though the projectors were a little more evenly matched with DynamicBlack activated. Beyond this, the key differences I saw were in the overall color balance in the default settings, where the P2 tended more toward a cooler blue in my preferred Reference and Cinema modes (perhaps a result of its oversaturated blue color point) and the P1 leaned warmer. Both projectors looked very good, though, and it was mainly in direct comparison that these differences became apparent. Most viewers would be happy watching either one. The P2's color balance and its whites, after calibration, were pretty much spot on. You can find my final settings in the Measurements section at the end of this review.

 

Note that when I initially reviewed the Optoma P1 with its earliest firmware release I found that most of the out-of-box picture modes, including the Reference and Cinema modes, were oversaturated and red-leaning on flesh tones. This was easily corrected by turning down Color saturation and pushing the Tint control toward green, resulting in a very good subjective image without the requirement for professional calibration. Those errors seem to have been massaged out in the most recent P1 firmware, and these modes in the P2, with its RGBRGB color wheel, did not require any Tint adjustments for flesh tones and only modest tweaks of Color saturation to accommodate different sources.

SDR Viewing. I often go back to the well-saturated Blu-ray transfer of Apollo 13 to check for the neutrality of whites and the authenticity of familiar colors. Following my calibration of the P2's Reference mode, the white spacesuits worn by the astronauts and the lab coats of the technicians in the clean room where they prepared for their flight were superbly neutral and bright, while the metallic red, blue, and orange fasteners on the spacesuits gleamed and popped nicely off the screen. Ditto for the pure white dress worn by astronaut Jim Lovell's wife to the sun-lit launchpad gallery; it was punchy and bright with no noticeable hint of pink or blue, and the red trim around the lapel of her jacket and deep red accent on her white handbag were striking. Green foliage around the launchpad and the familiar red, white, and blue of the famous NASA insignia all rang true.

I also observed that the rippled texture of the fabric of Mrs. Lovell's dress was easily visible through the projector's well-executed scaling and fine optics. Indeed, the cleanliness of images throughout the movie left a very positive impression of how well the P2 can resolve detail with well-photographed content, even when it's only in 1080p resolution (and with the menu's Sharpness control turned down from its default 10 to 3 to avoid obvious distortion). Details from the interiors of the various spacecraft, with their switches, displays, and warning lights were equally engaging.

Apollo 13 capsule
The white of the astronauts space suits in Apollo 13 was neutral and bright. (Photo Credit: Universal Pictures)

Contrast was excellent on the bright and mixed-brightness scenes that make up much of this movie, and as noted above, the P2 showed improved black level compared to the P1 on the movie's few really dark scenes. A shot of a starfield and the tiny, distant moon demonstrated a solid-enough black of outer space to not be distractingly gray or take me out of the moment, and switching in DynamicBlack on this image and others like it greatly improved the low-black—though not without some sacrifice in color accuracy (see below).

Though I tend to be less sensitive to seeing rainbow artifacts than some viewers, I noticed perhaps only one or two on the screen in all of my hours of viewing the P2. That includes rewatching a couple of documentaries—one on Bob Dylan, the other on Frank Sinatra—featuring a lot of black-and-white footage that spawned many rainbows for me when viewed on another single-chip DLP projector I had on hand recently. Nonetheless, our usual advice applies: If you're sensitive to rainbows or don't know if you are, work with a retailer who will accept your return.

HDR Viewing. I sampled a lot of movies in HDR on the P2 and I'm happy to say that, in virtually all instances, I preferred the 4K/HDR versions to the 1080p Blu-ray. That's not always the case because of the limited or poorly executed tone-mapping on many projectors. But the P2's HDR rendering, optimized as needed with adjustments as described above, looked very good on all but the very brightest content. The best example I can cite of the latter is The Meg, a movie which leans so hot that I've yet to find a projector that isn't tripped up by it on the default HDR settings. On the film's brightest scenes shot on the open ocean, most projectors can't even be adjusted to deliver images that aren't blown out to some degree. But HDR movies this challenging are rare, and only the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark, which offers a demanding HDR montage that can be set to play with peak brightness at various levels as high as 10,000 nits, is the only other disc currently in my collection that pushes a projector's limits this way. The P2 handled much of The Meg well, but struggled to provide a solid dark floor on its torture test scenes without also burying shadow detail and flattening the highlights. On the other hand, the projector handled some other atypically bright but less demanding titles, such as Aquaman, with better results.

I watched First Man, the Neil Armstrong biopic that tracks his military and NASA career up to his famous moon walk, in both 1080p SDR and 4K HDR. Many of the scenes are moody interior shots that are dark overall, and many other shots feature a mix of bright highlights—such as a white spaceship exterior or the sun-lit lunar surface—against the blackness of space. HDR on the P2 catapulted the highlights off the screen with gusto. The predominantly dark scenes exposed the projector's native black floor, but I found even this to be a reasonably acceptable gray, and the DynamicBlack1 setting for laser brightness noticeably deepened the blacks. Unfortunately, it also tended to add a subtle red tint to faces and to neutral whites and grays—the lunar surface, for example, took on a touch of pink that actually stole some edge off the specular highlights and dulled it, making it feel less dimensional and realistic. So despite the benefit to deep blacks I typically left DynamicBlack off and set the projector power to 100% Brightness. On the vast majority of images with mixed highlights and dark areas, Dynamic Black did little and wasn't missed.

Trolls movie still
The Trolls showed off the beautiful colors of the Optoma CinemaX P2. (Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation)

Even for family-friendly animated fare, Trolls is a pedestrian and dull movie. But the HDR disc is a nice visual treat, and it showed off what the P2 can do with deeply saturated colors that run from purple to bright green to magenta to bright orange—and that's just the bodies of the living troll dolls themselves. Meanwhile, in 4K, the furry texture of the trolls' felt skin and the fine detail in their spiked hairdos exhibited wonderful dimensionality. Oh, and the well-recorded pop music soundtrack was a foot-stomping hoot played through the projector's integrated soundbar aided by my outboard sub.

3D Viewing. I found the default 3D mode on the P2 improved vs. the P1, with a slightly more neutral white but one that still leaned a smidge toward blue/cyan. I watched parts of Transformers: Age of Extinction and Pixels, two live action movies mixed with CGI. Both movies were sufficiently bright, saturated and punchy on their respective colorful robots or videogame villains, and reasonably color-accurate on real-life objects like fleshtones, green foliage, and the White House (in Pixels). Of course, there's only so much you can expect from 3D given the inherent limitations on brightness and the color shifting that takes place through the glasses, but the 3D mode on the P2 was more than acceptably bright and accurate, so 3D fans need not fear it. It also provides the same adjustments for grayscale and color calibration should you want to take that on.

CinemaX P2 silhouette 800

Conclusion

In moving from the first-generation Cinemax P1 to the Gen-2 Cinemax P2, Optoma has made some modest but valuable performance and feature updates to an already great projector. Moreover, the company has lowered the price by $500 while sacrificing virtually nothing from the original model. While Optoma now has more competition in this price range than it had a year ago with the P1, the CinemaX P2 is an even more extraordinary value than the P1 when it was launched, and a projector well worthy of retaining the ProjectorCentral Editor's Choice honor bestowed on its predecessor.

Measurements

Brightness. Due to the extreme angle of light coming off the lens, measuring ANSI lumens for a UST projector with a handheld luminance meter facing into the lens yields the potential for errors caused by small misalignments of the meter. The results in our ANSI lumens chart, which shows maximum brightness in the Bright mode at 2,864 lumens (well within the 10% ANSI tolerance), should therefore be taken with some grains of salt.

Accompanying it below are direct measurements taken off my 100-inch, 0.6 gain Elite Aeon CLR UST ALR screen in a dark room showing the brightness in foot-Lamberts and the color temperature of white for each color mode in its default color temperature setting. With this more reliable technique, I determined that the 50% Brightness laser setting reduced the brightness in any mode by 50.1%, and the 75% Brightness setting reduced brightness in any mode by 76.6%.

Optoma CinemaX P2 ANSI Lumens

Picture Mode 100% Brightness
Cinema 1,747
HDR Sim 1,990
Game 1,995
Reference 1,273
Bright 2,864
User 1,730

Optoma CinemaX P1 Brightness (Ft-L)*

Mode/Color Temp Brightness Ft-L (0.6 gain) Brightness Ft-L (1.0 gain) Color Temp (K)
Cinema/Standard 20.3 33.8 7,790
HDR Sim/Cool 23.3 38.8 9,270
Game/Cool 23.2 38.6 9,180
Reference/Standard 14.6 24.3 6,020
Bright/Cold 31.8 53.0 12,020
User/Standard 20.7 34.5 7,730
HDR**/Standard 20.8 34.7 7,690

* Ft-L and Color Temp measurements as taken off a 100-inch diagonal, 16:9, 0.6 gain screen with default projector settings. 1.0 gain brightness figures are calculated estimates. All modes default to 100% Brightness Mode for laser power.

** With Film HDR Brightness mode default.

Frame Interpolation. The CinemaX P2's PureMotion feature appears to be unchanged from what I reported in our review of the P1. There are three active settings besides Off that are labeled 1, 2, and 3 that are available in all modes. It was most effective for smoothing judder on camera pans but didn't do much to reduce the blurring of fast motion on my test clips used to check this. The number 1 setting introduced a modest but noticeable degree of soap opera video effect on 24p film-based content that did not increase noticeably at the higher settings, even though the judder-smoothing effect improved. I did occasionally use the PureMotion 1 setting in the HDR mode to add a touch of shimmer and extra realism, but I'm generally not a fan of introducing SOE to movies and usually left PureMotion in the Off position.

Input Lag. Lag measurements for the P2 were taken with its Gaming Mode turned on; this function is separate from the Game color mode and can be activated with any of the color modes. Flipping this on deactivates and grays out the PureMotion motion interpolation feature in the menus, defeats geometric correction, and speeds the internal refresh rate.

With Gaming Mode on, the lowest input lag measured with a 1080p/60fps signal was 66.5 ms in several color modes (including Game and Cinema). With a 4K/60fps signal in the same conditions, I measured 69.2 ms. The highest lag measured under any conditions was 286.1 ms with 4K/30 fps signals in the Game color mode with the Gaming Mode deactivated and the PureMotion frame interpolation control set to its maximum 3.

Fan Noise. I cited the CinemaX P1 in our review for its clever ventilation design, with two whisper fans on each side panel expelling air brought in from the rear of the projector. Nothing has changed, and the P2 remains remarkably quiet for a 3,000 lumen laser projector. As I reported for the P1, the noise component is a low-pitched hush that is barely audible from six feet in front of the projector. Noise is rated at 24 dB in lab test conditions; my SPL meter measured 33.5 dBA, which is close to the noise floor in my room. The fan was totally inaudible over any kind of soundtrack, and neither changing the picture mode to the brighter options nor adjusting the laser power setting seemed to have any effect. In High Altitude mode, the noise becomes noticeable if you're listening for it, but was exceptionally tame compared to the HA modes in most projectors and was still largely drowned out by any soundtrack.

Connections

OptomaCinemaxP2 Connections rear side
  • HDMI 2.0b (x3) with HDCP 2.2, one with ARC
  • S/PDIF optical digital audio out (Toslink)
  • Analog stereo audio out (3.5 mm)
  • Bluetooth wireless in
  • USB Type A 2.0 (4K media player)
  • USB Type A 2.0 (media player, power)
  • USB Type A (firmware and service)
  • Ethernet (RJ-45)

Calibrated Settings

Calibrated image settings from any third-party do not account for the significant potential for sample-to-sample variation, nor the different screen sizes and materials, lighting, lamp usage, or other environmental factors that can affect image quality. Projectors should always be calibrated in the user's own space and tuned for the expected viewing conditions. However, the settings provided here may be a helpful starting point for some. Always record your current settings before making adjustments so you can return to them as desired. Refer to the Performance section of the review for some context for each calibration. As reported, subjective tweaks following calibration sometimes resulted in adjustments to Brightness (black level), Contrast (peak white), and Color saturation to yield the most pleasing results and effect the most natural fleshtones on different content.

The settings below were for a 100-inch diagonal, 16:9, 0.6 gain UST ALR screen with a dark, contrast-enhancing surface.

Dark-Room SDR

Display Mode: Reference
Brightness: -7
Contrast: 9
Sharpness: 3
Color: 0
Tint: 0
Gamma: Film

COLOR SETTINGS:
BrilliantColor: 1
Color Temp: Standard

Color Matching:

Red
H-5, S1, G-3
Green
H-16, S3, G-7
Blue
H-15, S2, G-5
Cyan
H-11, S-5, G-3
Yellow
H-12, S-5, G-4
Magenta
H-29, S-7, G7
White
Red Gain-6, Green Gain -6, Blue Gain -6

RGB Gain/Bias

Red Gain: 0
Green Gain: 0
Blue Gain: -1

Red Bias: 0
Green Bias: 0
Blue Bias: 1

Brightness Mode: Power 100%

PureMotion: Off

Bright-Room SDR

Display Mode: Cinema
Brightness: -14
Contrast: 14
Sharpness: 3
Color: 0
Tint: 0
Gamma: Film

COLOR SETTINGS:
BrilliantColor: 10
Color Temp: Standard

Color Matching:

Red
H-6, S1, G3
Green
H17, S0, G-4
Blue
H-17, S2, G0
Cyan
H-9, S-4, G3
Yellow
H-20, S-4, G2
Magenta
H-31, S-9, G8
White
Red Gain 0, Green Gain -5, Blue Gain -8

RGB Gain/Bias

Red Gain: 0
Green Gain: -1
Blue Gain: -4

Red Bias: -2
Green Bias: -1
Blue Bias: -1

Brightness Mode: Power 100%

PureMotion: Off

Dark-Room HDR

Display mode: HDR
Brightness: -2
Contrast: 11
Sharpness: 3
Color: 10
Tint: 0
Gamma: 2.4

COLOR SETTINGS:
BrilliantColor: 10
Color Temp: Standard

Color Matching:

Red
H0, S5, G20
Green
H0, S5, G20
Blue
H-10, S0, G15
Cyan
H22, S-4, G25
Yellow
H-31, S-5, G15
Magenta
H10, S-5, G20
White
Red Gain 0, Green Gain -4, Blue Gain -8

RGB Gain/Bias

Red Gain: 0
Green Gain: 0
Blue Gain: 0

Red Bias: 0
Green Bias: 0
Blue Bias: 0

Brightness Mode: Power 100%

PureMotion: Off

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Optoma CinemaX P2 projector page.

To buy this projector, use Where to Buy online, or get a price quote by email direct from Projector Central authorized dealers using our E-Z Quote tool.

Comments (36) Post a Comment
Bjorn Posted Oct 12, 2020 11:13 PM PST
Thanks for the review! 👍

Any word on model name for EU/Europe?

The P1 is marketed as UHZ65UST is Europe.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 12, 2020 11:15 PM PST
Bjorn, Optoma says it is selling this projector under the same name and model number in the EMEA markets.
Mike Posted Oct 13, 2020 4:06 AM PST
Can you be more specific about your screen? Can I assume that you are using a UST ALR lenticular screen for viewing? Also, yo unstated moderate to high ambient light. Did yo take any measurements of the amount of ambient light, or can you provide more detail on what you meant by moderate to high? Also, was the light coming from a particular direction or was it diffuse?

As per some of my prior comments, it would be great for you to standardize the ambient light test conditions, or at least provide more measurable information so that we can compare to our locations that are limited to non-light controlled rooms.

Thanks much, Mike
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 13, 2020 4:10 AM PST
Hi Mike. The Elite Aeon CLR screens use the same sawtooth construction found in most UST ALR screens, as described in this article on UST screens.

I did not measure the ambient light, but by moderate light I mean lighting coming from the side and not directly washing on the screen; in my basement studio I have accent lighting off the left of the screen that is at knee height as well as some downlights well off the left; and also a small table lamp that sits on an end table alongside my viewing couch. The space is fairly well lit with this arrangement; you could sit and read something on the couch while viewing. The projector in its Cinema mode looked great in this environment -- very punchy to the point that no one would not think it was a normal TV.

By bright light I am referring to the overhead lights being on, which includes an overhead can light that sits just three feet in front of the middle of the screen and washes directly on it. It's an absolute torture test, probably equivalent to what most people would have in a family room that's open and connected to the kitchen while preparing dinner. In Cinema mode, the projector still looked plenty bright and the black level/constrast suffered only marginally with the ALR screen; it was noticeably more washed out with my 1.3 gain matte white screen.
John Chesney Posted Oct 13, 2020 4:20 AM PST
Bought P2 and installed a 120” screen. It is impossible to fill the screen with manual adjustments of projector. The adjustments are just not fine enough to fill the screen. You either get a picture that is 1-2” inside the screen boundaries or completely outside of screen. The smart fit app does not work. You cannot manually adjust the screen with app. Optoma tech support is worthless.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 13, 2020 4:25 AM PST
John, setting up a UST projector is definitely more challenging than the manufacturers would like the general public to believe, but it's basically a one time process and well worth the effort. It's not difficult, just more time consuming than it would first appear. Some points that may help clarify:

- with any UST screen, but more so with a 120 inch, any slight movement or misalignment is greatly magnified. If you did not, you should start out making sure that your credenza or cabinet is level (use a bubble level) both left to right and front to back. Also, if your screen wall and the back of the projector are anything less than perfectly parallel to one another you'll run into some keystone issues that will have to be corrected.

- The SmartFit app and the manual geomatric correction is designed so that the image starts out wider than the screen edges; you then use these tools to pull the edges of the image in. You can't push the edges of the image out. So if you are able to place the projector so that the edges of the image exceed the screen, it's a simple matter to pull in the four corners or even some of the other mid points along the edges between the corners to perfectly align it. If SmartFit isn't working for you, you should skip it and just use the manual geometric correction function in the menu. The SmartFit app is not designed for incremental adjustments. If you do it right, and start out with the image outside the screen edge, it just snaps the image back inside the edges of the screen.
Mark Posted Oct 13, 2020 6:02 AM PST
I wish they had stayed with black over white but currently I have an Optoma GT5500+ and recently added an AEON CLR2 screen. I notice a small bright spots in the lower center of my screen that I never noticed before when projecting onto a wall. Do you notice any bright spots with this one?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 13, 2020 7:09 AM PST
Mark, I have observed very uniform brightness across the screen with both the P1 and now the P2. Keep in mind that some degree of hotspotting in the area you speak of closest to the lens is not uncommon with UST projectors, and the CinemaX P series are much more expensive 4K projectors with pretty advanced optics for this category.
Philip McClenaghan Posted Oct 13, 2020 8:57 AM PST
Thanks Rob, you are giving exceptional info in the comments; especially how to tune a screen. Right now I am deciding between a tensioned 120" Silver Ticket thin bezel grey screen, and a Silver Ticket UST screen. The UST screen is X2 the price! It's it really necessary?

In a basement with 2 small Windows round a corner but with cream colored walls - is a grey screen or white screen recommended?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 13, 2020 9:16 AM PST
Phil, for viewing in a dark or mildly lit room you can manage with a high contrast gray material, but some of the brightness of the projector will wash up toward the ceiling without the optical elements in a UST screen that redirect the light from below straight back to the viewer, and which (critically) reject the light from overhead to vastly improve contrast. Even with a non UST gray material I don't know if you'll see the black level and contrast you'll get with a UST screen. After living with a UST screen for a while and seeing several of these UST projectors on it in a variety of viewing conditions, I strongly recommend having one.
Tony Posted Oct 13, 2020 9:19 AM PST
I have the P1 model and very happy with it. However the PS5 and Xbox series X HDMI ports are 2.1 and supports 120HZ. I called Optoma support and asked them to include 2.1 HDMI ports in the next release then I will upgrade from P1 to P3. By the way I gave them a feedback about firmware updates settings and the ability to save calibration settings and not change it when it updates. Also carry over the settings on usb stick for next P2/P3 releases.. If they do it and we shall see!
Gene Posted Oct 13, 2020 10:44 PM PST
How soon will you be able to compare this with the new Samsung Premiere LSP7T?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 13, 2020 10:50 PM PST
No schedule yet on when we'll be able to review the new Samsung projectors.
Haydar Cem Harbiyeli Posted Oct 14, 2020 4:44 AM PST
What I'm curious of is the comparison of brightness of the short throw screens and long throw screens. For example this one has capability of 2000-2500 lumens brightness. Is that value, the brightness on the screen or the brightness on the wall ? Cause long throw projectors usually has >3500 lumens
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 14, 2020 6:40 AM PST
Haydar, projectors of both the UST and long-throw varieties come in a range of brightness ratings. The brightest home theater UST projector right now is the Epson LS500 at 4,000 lumens max. This one goes up to 3,000 lumens. The lumen brightness is independent of the screen or image size; it might be considered the equivalent of the horsepower of an engine that tells you how powerful the vehicle is but not how fast it will accelerate without you defining the terrain. With a projector, once you describe the size of your screen the lumens can be used to determine the brightness of the light that REACHES the screen in a dark room. The amount of light you SEE on the screen-- that is, the light that is reflected back to the viewer -- will be further determined by the screen gain. We go into detail on how to make these calculations in our Home Theater Buyer's Guide. You can also use our projection calculator to estimate the lumens you will see at a particular size and throw distance; the calculator accounts for these parameters as well as your screen gain.
Gary Piazza Posted Oct 14, 2020 1:10 PM PST
Thank you for the wonderful review. Currently have an Optoma HD30 and will be switching to the P2 soon. Glad you covered 3D as we watch a lot of 3D titles at home. I do wish they would offer yet a cheaper version without all of the integrated sound hardware. My home theater is miles above what an integrated speaker setup could offer. Paying for hardware I won't use seems like a waste of money.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 14, 2020 1:15 PM PST
Point well taken, Gary, though I understand that manufacturers are trying to appeal to folks who want an all-in-one solution. But maybe as this projector category matures we'll see units that are more basic and therefore offer higher value for those of use who just want a good picture from a projector that sits at the front of the room.
Tony Posted Oct 14, 2020 1:49 PM PST
The speakers/sub seems like a waste if you already have a sound system.

You guys used to compare projectors to others in the same price range. I would love to know how this compares to the Epson 5050 in multiple categories.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 14, 2020 1:50 PM PST
Tony, although we are planning on some UST comparisons, putting this against an Epson 5050UB long-throw projector wouldn't be very logical as being near in price is the only thing they have in common. The two products are not just in different product classes, but they are designed for entirely different viewing environments and usage patterns. The 5050UB is the better dark-room home theater projector with wider color gamut and more sophisticated HDR tone-mapping. But it won't get quite as bright for ambient light viewing, it doesn't have a sound system, it's a 1080p projector with pixel-shifting and not a true 4K, it uses a lamp that requires replacements instead of a laser, and you have to mount it at the middle or back of the room and run long wires to it. Totally different animal. I hope it's obvious to people that if image quality for dark room viewing is the number one criteria and you're in the position to install a traditional long throw projector, the Epson would be the better choice here.
BTL Posted Oct 14, 2020 2:45 PM PST
I read Tony’s comment about HDMI 2.1 and I’m wondering if it really worth waiting if you plan on purchasing one of the new gaming consoles?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 14, 2020 5:39 PM PST
BTL, if you're a very serious gamer and you wish to take advantage of the next generation of games...when they arrive...then HDMI 2.1 will be an important feature for you. But I don't know how long you'll be waiting for the new games to come out and whether what you'll get will be worth it. Eventually, new projectors will all migrate to 2.1.

David Rivera Posted Oct 14, 2020 6:05 PM PST
Rob, I've been on standby on purchasing a UST projector for a year. I will order the P2 for a bedroom. There will be no ambient light. I want to maximize contrast and brightness in order to extract the best hdr impact possible from the projector. This being my goal, please let me know if I would benefit from a standard 1.0 white screen, or a 1.2 ALR grey green. I believe that either is capable of accurate light reflection, even for a UST. I'm aware that for UST projectors the lower gain dedicated UST screen is recommended, but the .06 or .08 in these screens are designed to reduced the impact of ambient light (I will have no ambient light). Your guidance in these matter is much valued and appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Ray Cherry Posted Oct 16, 2020 5:22 AM PST
Do you have any results/advice if wanting to place the P2 closer to the wall than the suggested minimum? It can fit, but curious what the results are if I want a slightly smaller picture/ less protrusion on its platform.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 16, 2020 5:30 AM PST
Ray, you should have no trouble pushing the projector closer as long as you don't push it so close that the image is less than the specified minimum of 80 inches diagonal. Although I haven't tried it, the image should likely get a bit sharper across the board with a smaller image. You just have to stay within the image size range to insure the ability of the lens to focus sharply.
Rafe Chisolm Posted Oct 19, 2020 2:27 PM PST
Thanks so much for this review. Super thurough! Are there any plans to review the Samsung Premier LSP7T in comparison to the Optoma P2? They seem very comparable!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 19, 2020 4:24 PM PST
We have requested samples of both the LSP7T, which directly competes with both the P2 and the new Hisense model, and the LSP9T, which probably represents the state of the art in the UST arena right now. It remains to be seen what becomes available to us and when.

JGF Posted Oct 19, 2020 6:57 PM PST
Another interesting looking laser projector with some pretty good numbers and performance and....again.... UST only. Fantastic. I just don't get it. It seems like laser UST projectors in that 3-5K sweet spot are coming out of the woodwork and yet not a whisper on standard mounted projectors. Suuuuuper frustrating....
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 20, 2020 7:04 AM PST
JGF, that's a fair observation. The activity you're seeing in UST is recognition by the manufacturers of an opportunity to expand projection's influence beyond the dark room home theater enthusiast, and it's a good instinct. The combination of cheaper laser technology and relatively cheap UST ALR screens makes for a viable replacement for the living room TV. But the long-throw enthusiast projector hasn't been forgotten. Aside from BenQ adding "smarts" to its various existing budget projectors, we have Sony introducing two new high end projectors recently (one laser, one lamp), ViewSonic is out with a long-throw enthusiast LED projector, and LG has a new long throw laser projector coming out. But I think there's recognition that the market opening for UST right now is vast.
USTM Posted Oct 20, 2020 7:51 PM PST
Could you compare this with the LG HU85LA, which you also reviewed recently, please?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 20, 2020 7:52 PM PST
The LG is the better projector image wise, thanks in part to its three laser engine and the 0.66-inch DLP chip, which has higher native resolution before and requires only a two-phase pixel shift to achieve UHD on the screen. But I haven't compared them directly and it's been a while since I've had the LG set up. A comparison between these models is definitely in order.
Tony Posted Oct 22, 2020 8:41 AM PST
"Tony, although we are planning on some UST comparisons, putting this against an Epson 5050UB long-throw projector wouldn't be very logical as being near in price is the only thing they have in common. The two products are not just in different product classes, but they are designed for entirely different viewing environments and usage patterns. The 5050UB is the better dark-room home theater projector with wider color gamut and more sophisticated HDR tone-mapping. But it won't get quite as bright for ambient light viewing, it doesn't have a sound system, it's a 1080p projector with pixel-shifting and not a true 4K, it uses a lamp that requires replacements instead of a laser, and you have to mount it at the middle or back of the room and run long wires to it. Totally different animal. I hope it's obvious to people that if image quality for dark room viewing is the number one criteria and you're in the position to install a traditional long throw projector, the Epson would be the better choice here. "

Yes I hear you, but technology changes. I'm sure many of us are wondering when, if ever, UST projectors will provide an image that is CLOSE ENOUGH to equivalently priced long throw projectors. Providing a sentence or two about a products applicability for various environments, as you did in your reply above would be very helpful. I'm hoping that some day we can do away with the more complex installment and placement requirements of long throw projectors. We might say that physics prevents this or that UST isn't the solution, but I can't believe that we will projectors hanging from ceilings in the home in 2050, other than for nostalgia purposes.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 22, 2020 9:08 AM PST
Yes, great observations Tony. I don't think this new generation of USTs is terribly far off of the performance of a good long-throw dark-room home theater projector, but there would have to be a will to create a product for dedicated theater use rather than a TV-replacement hybrid whose primary design goals are bright images in high ambient light and an ancillary integrated soundbar and streaming platform. Gamut and color accuracy are not issues -- Samsung just released a $6,500 three-laser true RGB UST projector that is claimed to achieve Rec.2020, and there should be no reason it can't be tuned at the factory or calibrated by the user for good color points and grayscale. The potential for high quality UST optics, as witnessed by this Optoma P2 and hopefully by other models we'll be testing shortly, is there. 4K via DLP or pixel-shifted 1080p (as with Epson's new model) is there. Perhaps the only mitigating factor that needs to be worked on is the black levels. Manufacturers appear to be learning more with each generation about how to properly modulate their laser dimming schemes for dark scenes. With a gray UST ALR screen, I found the P2 to be a very acceptable dark room projector, though it remains a long throw (pun intended) from my JVC DLA-X790 reference. I'd really like to see what the manufacturers could do with an affordable, stripped down laser UST (no sound system or "smarts") designed from the ground up to just be a dark-room enthuisast projector. Or...maybe even a lamp-based model if that's what it takes to acheive the design goals.
Sam Posted Oct 22, 2020 1:34 PM PST
Hi Rob, I notice that you used an Xrite i1Pro2 spectrophotometer directly as opposed to using it to correct a i1DisplayPro Plus which is a colorimeter and probably takes readings much faster. However, is the process fairly fast when using the i1Pro2 spectro directly?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 22, 2020 1:40 PM PST
Sam, you need to wait a good bit longer in particular for the low-level readings, though I typically reduce the sampling size for low light readings to 10 from Calman's default 20 to speed that along a bit. And the i1Pro2 isn't as accurate reading black below 20 IRE or so as some colorimeters, including the i1DisplayPro Plus. But as you may already know, a colorimeter needs to be modeled against a more accurate spectrophotometer to provide good accuracy; the i1Pro2 is calibrated with each use against a white chip standard registered with the NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology).
Felipe Posted Oct 22, 2020 1:45 PM PST
Hi Rob,

Thanks for the review! FYI, all my knowledge for projectors came from Projector Central when I got into projectors in 2015!

I am looking for an upgrade (from my 5 year Acer H5380BD lol). I am trying to decide between the Optoma CinemaX P2 or Epson 5050UB. I am not worried about short throw vs long throw, my top priority is picture quality and color accuracy (even though I do not know much about color calibration) to watch mainly films. I am also interested in 4K quality, HDR capabilities, and I enjoy watching 3D movies (I do find it too dark in my old Acer with the 3D glasses). I'm having a hard time figuring out between these two projectors based on specs alone! I've seen great reviews for each one but never one that compares them both. I know the black levels on the Epson is considered premium but I wonder how it compares with the blacks of the Optoma P2. On the other hand, Optoma has a True 4k vs Epson with native 1080p achieving 4k with pixel shifting (although all the new 4k specs are still confusing to me!). Rainbow effect never bothered me with my Acer which is DLP.

I would really appreciate your advice in regards to Optoma P2 vs the Epson 5050UB!

Thank you! Felipe
Victor Posted Oct 25, 2020 5:46 PM PST
I seen a pro model of this ust projector when is this pro coming out?

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