Highly Recommended Award
Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.
- Solid-state LED light source
- 1080p resolution with HDR10 and 3D Support
- Short-throw lens
- Streaming platform with Netflix App
- vColor Tuner compatibility
- Well laid out, backlit remote
- USB-C support
- Inaccurate out-of-box color requires calibration
- No vertical lens shift
- Apps require a mouse to navigate
The ViewSonic X2 is an entry-level home theater projector suitable for both movies and gaming. With proper tuning, it offers above-average performance compared to most projectors in this price point while offering a host of features that's sure to please many.
The ViewSonic X2, released in June 2022, is placed roughly just over the midpoint of ViewSonic's line of home theater-centric projectors. With a heavy emphasis on smart features and home theater viewing, it's also suitable for gaming thanks to relatively low input lag. Serving as a great entry level all-in-one Full HD projector, the X2 currently comes in with a street price of $1,099. With that compelling price point and a robust feature set, it has a lot to offer.
The X2 is a native 1080p projector with a short-throw lens. (Its sister model, the X1, offers similar features with a standard-throw lens for $100 less.) The projector accepts up to UHD resolution (3840x2160) signals that it displays at 1080p, though it offers support for HDR. Utilizing a solid-state LED light source, it eliminates the need for changing bulbs over the course of its life and boasts 30,000 hours of life depending on usage.
The X2 utilizes Texas Instruments 1080p DMD 0.65-inch DLP chipset in combination with an RGB (RGBG) LED light source. Despite the lack of a color wheel, during my time with the X2 I did see very minimal rainbow effect on white spinning animations. The light source is rated to have an LED Lumen specification of 3,100 and an ANSI lumen specification of 2,300 ANSI lumens; we measured 2,098 ANSI lumens in the brightest mode.
The light engine is spec'd for 125% gamut coverage of the Rec.709 color space. The DCI-P3 coverage for HDR is therefore somewhat limited, but 125% Rec. 709 isn't bad for a 1080p projector. The LED light source provides quite a few benefits, including but not limited to faster power-on and -off time without the need to warm up to reach full operating performance as seen with lamp-based projectors, fairly quiet operation in all modes, long life span without having a need to change lamps, and a projector chassis that is fairly compact in size and weight. Achieving the full 30,000 hour lifespan is somewhat dependent on the brightness mode used, but in any usage scenario it is more likely a user would be looking at upgrading the projector for a higher end model well before the light source runs dry.
The X2 weighs in at 7.9 lbs with the dimension of 14 x 4.7 x 9.9 inches (WHD) so placement is flexible with table or ceiling mounted options. The X2 is capable of displaying a diagonal image size from 30-inches diagonal up to a massive 300-inches diagonal using a short-throw lens with a throw ratio of 0.69-0.83. This supports a minimum projector distance of around 1.5 feet up to about 14 feet at maximum for the largest screen sizes. I was able to project a 100-inch diagonal image at a distance of approximately 5.5 feet. To determine throw distance for your preferred screen size you can utilize the ProjectorCentral Viewsonic X2 projection calculator.
During my time with the X2 I did find it has a vertical offset of around +/- 5 degrees, so the placement of the projector does need to be positioned somewhat below the screen if installed on a table or slightly above the screen if ceiling mounted. Unfortunately, the X2 lacks a traditional vertical lens shift—unlike its sibling the X1—so this does need to be considered when installing and placing the projector either for temporary setup or a permanent install. The lens does offer manual 1.2x zoom, and manual focus. The manual focus has a very tight control that will allow getting and holding a sharp image.
If installing on a table, the X2 does have a foot that can be used to angle the projector up, however, if utilized it will result in needing to use the keystone correction to readjust the image. It's recommended to avoid that for permanent installs to best retain image brightness and resolution. Another additional picture adjustment is the 4-corner adjust. This will allow the user to make small changes to help align the image with little degradation to the picture itself. Please keep in mind, though, that like the keystone, using the 4-corner adjust does impact the integrity of the image. However, they are available if needed for a less than ideal install and could come in very handy for the quick, temporary setups this short throw projector is likely to get used for.
While the X2 is not specifically marketed as a gaming projector, it is quite capable. Utilizing the 3X Fast Input feature reduces the input latency to as low as 17ms depending on the resolution and source timing being received. Generally speaking, with projectors, the higher the signal frame rate (60 Hz, 120 Hz, or 240 Hz) the lower the input latency. This, however, was not the case with the X2 and its 3X Fast Input. With 3X Fast Input active, input lag from the X2 measured 17ms for 1080p/60hz, and 24ms for 1080p/120hz. Sending a 4K resolution signal is not an option with the 3X Fast Input. When 3X Fast Input was disabled, input latency ranged from 24ms to 32ms.
Note that the 3X Fast Input option is available regardless of picture mode, so a user is not limited to using it with the Gaming picture mode. Also, the digital zoom, Overscan, Keystone and 4-corner adjustments are all reset and not active while it is in use. As mentioned, 3X Fast Input was most effective and reduced latency the most with 1080p/60hz signals, which is the projector's native timing input signal. So, while it's useful for casually playing games and performs better than many projectors in this respect, for more competitive gaming users may want to consider a more gaming-centric option with even lower lag times.
The X2 offers various connectivity options with two HDMI 2.0b/HDCP-compliant inputs, one USB-C that allows for display functionality, one USB-A that plays media and supports 5V/1A which will power media streaming sticks such as a FireTV, one 3.5mm audio in jack, one 3.5mm analog audio out, an RS232 connection port, and one USB service port. Additionally, the X2 also supports Wi-Fi with an embedded Wi-Fi radio (no dongle is needed) that facilitates streaming or screen mirroring, and it offers dual Bluetooth options that allow for sending a signal to the unit's built-in speakers or connecting the projector to Bluetooth devices such as a speaker or headphones for viewing. This amount of connectivity is not common and great to see.
The X2's pair of 6-watt Harman Kardon stereo speakers were actually fairly robust. I was able to keep the volume at 1-2 on the scale of 20 and that was plenty. It wasn't what I would call dynamic or particularly detailed, nor would it be a replacement for an external audio device such as a soundbar or AVR, but it is more than sufficient in a pinch.
The X2 is able to take advantage of a built-in app store of unspecified origin. It does offer Hulu and Netflix apps, for example. However, the downside is that using the apps requires attachment of an external USB mouse, and the overall number of apps is fairly light. One would be better served using a Roku, Fire stick, or Chromecast that can be powered using the USB-A input. An alternative option is to use Miracast, which is supported on the X2 to share content from your mobile device.
The X2 also includes support for 1080p 3D which is always a welcome addition, though in my time viewing 3D I did experience a little more crosstalk than I normally like to see and while using 3D none of the picture controls for White Balance, CMS, gamma, etc. are available.
The included remote is well laid out and backlit, however, there is one button on the remote that has no function. It would be nice if that button could be remapped to be a hotkey of the users choosing.
Finally, one of the features that I was most impressed with is the vColorTuner support. The vColorTuner is a ViewSonic software program that can be downloaded from the projector's website page and installed on your PC. It allows you to make picture adjustments by connecting your PC to the service port on the projector via USB. Once connected, adjustments can be made from the software's attractive interface without the need to bring up the projector's on-screen menu. What's really great about this is that you're able to save a picture mode setting and upload it to ViewSonic's vColorTuner cloud server so that it can be downloaded by others. The file that is saved can also be shared between users and they can load it into the save directory of the software and upload it that way. So, settings can be easily shared and or referenced.
Utilizing this software makes calibration of the units much easier and quicker as changes are represented on screen immediately, and it takes the handheld remote out of the equation completely. I really liked this experience and would like to see more companies utilize something along the same lines in the future. ViewSonic currently offers it for several projector models. My calibrated settings for the X2 are at the end of this review and are downloadable via the provided vColorTuner Profile names for SDR and HDR. For more information and a look at the software, you can watch ViewSonic's vColor Tuner overview below.
Color Modes. The ViewSonic X2 has six picture modes for SDR, and six for HDR. These are labeled Brightest, TV, Gaming, Movie, User 1 and User 2. All can be set up the same and have access to all of the same settings. The color temperature is independent of the picture mode itself and can be changed for each picture mode, though by default each picture mode has a color temperature that is already associated with it.
None of the picture modes were accurate OOTB (out of the box), and presented either an extremely cool picture that had a blue bias to the image or warm picture that was too overly red biased. The exception was Brightest, the projector's brightest mode that's there primarily to make the claimed lumen spec. It exhibited a very strong green bias to the picture and was effectively not watchable with its default settings.
3D picture mode was not too bad as it was cooler and brighter, so when paired with active DLP link glasses it looked pretty good. It appeared after any of the 2D modes was calibrated and in use, the 3D picture piggybacked off of that mode once 3D content was introduced. This is very fortunate because once you're in 3D mode, picture adjustments for White Balance, CMS, and all other image controls are not available.
The X2 provides controls for both grayscale and color management system adjustment in all available picture modes. This allowed for white balance adjustment of the grayscale using RGB 2-point controls for Gain and Offset. An important note though regarding the White Balance controls is that Offset is ONLY available when the color format signal is RGB. If the color format signal is YUV, only RGB Gain is available for adjustment, and the Offset controls (which help align colors within the darker part of images) are not selectable through the user interface or through vColorTuner. A similar but opposite situation also applies to the color point controls as well. When using RGB signal format, the CMS used to adjust color points is not editable, and it is only editable while in YUV. Where available, the CMS allowed for Hue, Saturation, and Gain adjustments within target color space for primary and secondary colors (RGBCMY).
Gamma options in the menu are all predefined values that ranged from 1.8 to 2.5, though there was no specific 2.4 gamma option; the closest was 2.35. Additional gamma options were sRGB and Cubic. Gamma did not track as specified in the menu and 2.2 actually tracked closer to 2.4. The 2.0 setting tracked closer to 2.2. I opted to use the 2.2 setting to get closer to my preferred 2.4 gamma target.
As noted, out of the box performance wasn't the best in most modes. The modes that were most suitable for use were TV, Gaming, and User 1 due to the default color temperature that was associated with them. All other modes had an apparent green/blue or very heavy red bias, and this held true in both SDR and HDR. Besides the obvious color shift in the white balance, it was evident that most color was oversaturated and also the incorrect Hue. The over saturation is likely due to ViewSonic's attempt to reach the specified 125%+ Rec.709 gamut coverage. When measured, the X2 does exceed 100% of Rec.709 with red, magenta, and blue planted extremely far outside of the Rec.709 target color points. This can be expanded even further when the CMS is used. Per my measurements Rec.709 has a coverage of around 116%, while DCI-P3 has a coverage of 74.02%.
Overall, initial viewing of the out of the box (OOTB) picture modes was ok and depending on viewing environment the color inaccuracy may not be an issue to some, though it is very noticeable, especially in cyan, blue, magenta and yellow. It was very evident that the X2 would benefit greatly from a calibration. For those who use this projector with OOTB settings, I found the most accurate modes for dark room viewing to be TV or User 1 for both SDR and HDR. I'd recommend using a gamma setting of 2.2 or 2.0, with Lamp Power mode at Custom 40 or Normal depending on level of brightness desired. It would also be recommended to go into the CMS and adjust Hue on all colors to look most natural. In HDR picture mode it would be recommended to set the EOTF to Mid for accuracy, though High is useful at the expense of accuracy and HDR presentation.
I began calibration of the X2 using Calman Ultimate calibration software from Portrait Displays, a Colorimetry Research CR-250 Spectroradiometer, a Colorimetry Research CR-100 Colorimeter, and a Murideo 8K Seven Generator. The X2 was calibrated to 100-inch diagonal on a 1.3 gain Stewart Filmscreen, at approximately 5 feet 5 inches in distance. Prior to beginning calibration, I ran various measurements to confirm what I saw in OOTB viewing and as expected, outside of the obvious bias in the grayscale the gamut was indeed oversaturated and the hue on all colors were very off. Measurements also confirmed that tracking for the gamma menu options were all off versus their labels.
SDR pre-calibration measurements had very large errors for dE (DeltaE), which is the metric used to determine the visible error. It has been determined that anything over a dE of 3 is visible, anything over 2.3 is a just noticeable difference for trained eyes and anything below 2.3 should ideally not be seen to the eye. The X2's pre-calibration grayscale measurements for the User 1 picture mode had dE errors all over 3 and going as high as 9.6 dE for 90% white. Color gamut color points for the Rec. 709 color space exhibited very high DeltaE errors in double digits as well due to hue and saturation inaccuracy, with errors running as high as 23.0 dE. HDR pre-calibration measurements faired similarly, with an average error in grayscale of 8.2 dE and 9 dE in color, with max errors in the double digits.
Utilizing the provided 2-point gain and offset controls for White Balance, I targeted the production industry standard D65 neutral gray white point. I utilized RGB signal format for this to unlock access to the Offset controls in the White Balance menu. An important note is the Gain control adjustments will be the same regardless of YUV or RGB color signal format. Afterwards, a full CMS (color management system) calibration for the RGBCMY primaries and secondary colors was performed as well, using the YUV signal format that unlocked the CMS controls.
Post calibration for SDR resulted in User 1 being calibrated to peak 12.5 foot-Lamberts/42.8 nits brightness in my dark theater room. HDR Post calibration measured in at 26.4 fL/90.34 nits in User 2 picture mode.
Fortunately, post calibration DeltaE errors were extremely low. I was very pleased to see how well the controls worked. I ran a large ColorChecker in my Calman software, which measures accuracy on a wide range of color swatches corresponding to skin tones, blue sky, and other common colors. This resulted in an average of 1.2 dE, and a max of 2.3 dE. Post calibration results for HDR were also better than expected, with an average DeltaE for grayscale of 3.3 dE and 3 dE for color points. Not surprisingly, the overall max errors for HDR, which also account for luminance, were on the higher side due to the lack of brightness suffered by most projectors, and in the X2's case the projector was not completely tracking the EOTF perfectly. Nonetheless, considering the lack of a filter in the light path to expand the color gamut, it is great to see that the X2 did so well with HDR adjustments.
The devices I used for reviewing content post calibration were an AppleTV 4K, FireTV, and Oppo UDP-203 Blu-ray player.
1080p/SDR Viewing. Post calibration viewing began with Vikings, Season 5, Episode 5 & 6 on Prime Video through FireTV. I just recently finished watching all of Vikings on several of my displays so I'm very familiar with how it looks. Watching on the X2 provided a similar experience. The skin tones were all correct and distinct for each of the characters. There was no posterization in the scenes with smoke from the fires during the battle with King Harald. The area where the X2 did fall behind, though, was in contrast and shadow detail. In many scenes throughout the series there is a lot of dark clothing and very dark night scenes. In many of these scenes, detail in clothing and surroundings are lost, such as in one shot where Ivar is giving a speech in the Great Hall regarding the Seer. Many of the soldiers are wearing black fur that does have some detail that's visible on a good display. On the X2, however, these areas were just all black. If I tried to pull the detail out using the Brightness control it would raise the black floor, so in this case it was the best the X2 was able to do.
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring on Blu-ray via the Oppo 203 was my next pick for 1080p/SDR viewing. Specifically, I watched the scene where Gandalf prevents the Balrog from crossing. The scene was rendered well, with no posterization seen in the Balrog's smoke, or in Gandalf's shield that he places over himself when the Balrog first attacks him. The saturation and color of the Balrog's flames was as expected and what I'm used to seeing. The contrast was a little lacking and suffered from the same issue as Vikings where some detail was lost in darker areas while they were running through the catacombs. Again, the choice was either raise the black floor to see the detail or go for a more correct, natural image and crush some detail. I opted to go for the more correct image. But overall, the scene was displayed well and really shows that with proper tuning of the controls provided the X2's SDR color can be excellent.
1080p 3D Viewing. For testing 3D, I started with Tron: Legacy on 3D Blu-ray via the Oppo 203. As mentioned previously, the 3D presentation of the X2 appeared to have a fair amount of crosstalk. This was seen in multiple scenes in the movie as well as the trailers prior to the movie starting. The scene I focused in on was the Grid Battle with the LightCycles. The sense of depth was fairly shallow on various on-screen elements such as the fireworks, the bits when a crash would occur during the light cycle battle. However, during other scenes such as when Jarvis was giving the introduction speech prior to the battle starting, the depth looked natural and convincing. The image's brightness was just ok—it could have been a little brighter, but overall, a decent experience. Colors looked fairly accurate and everything was distinguishable including all the small subtleties in colors that are in this scene.
UHD/HDR Viewing. Continuing my Vikings marathon, I began viewing Vikings: Valhalla, Episode 2 on Netflix via AppleTV 4K. This scene stood out to me when I initially watched it because of the highlights off the water when the great army set out to England. When they just began to set sail, the scene has a very high APL (average picture level) and very bright specular highlights from the sun hitting the water. If the display is capable of high nits and follows EOTF properly you should see a lot of detail in those highlights. The X2, however, clipped a good majority of the highlights off the water, clouds, and sun. The scene still has a very convincing sense of HDR, but much detail was lost. Areas that should have resolved detail were mainly just bright white.
How do you choose the right screen for your projector?
Our Projector Screen Buyer's Guide will take you through the process of finding the correct screen for your projector and space.Screen Buyer's Guide
No Time to Die on 4K Blu-ray via the Oppo 203 was next on my list. Overall, the presentation was good. The scene that I watched several times was the opening car chase scene where 007 saves Madeline. The APL appeared right and about what I expected considering the X2's light output, though the scene had a somewhat flat look to it mainly due to the lack of contrast. The skin tones looked good even though Madeline's face lacked a little bit of red. This lack of color was also seen in the gunfire coming from the Aston Martin. I know from familiarity that some of the shots should have a slight orange hue to them, but on the X2 it was mainly white. But the scene was still enjoyable to watch, and the X2 again came away with a convincing HDR performance.
Ready Player One on 4K Blu-ray via the Oppo 203 was last on my list. The scene I decided to view is one that I'm sure everyone is familiar with, which is the first race. The reason I selected this scene was because of how off the pre-calibrated color was initially on the X2, especially cyan. But post-cal, this scene actually did rather well with the reproduction of color. From the moment the DeLorean is tossed on the starting grid and it begins to materialize, the color of the frame is good—it's pretty close to the correct shade of cyan, just slightly too dark due to the lack of luminance the projector can reproduce. But this scene overall doesn't have a very high APL, so it didn't clip much. As I saw earlier, it did have a somewhat flat look compared to better displays due to the lack of contrast and luminance, and flames were missing some orange saturation I'd like to see, but it wasn't bad. If one wasn't already familiar with this scene, they wouldn't know what was missing. Even though the overall HDR impact was limited due to the projector's lack of firepower, this scene still looked good—it just looked more like SDR.
The ViewSonic X2 provides a nice well-rounded set of features at a reasonable price point. It's a solid performer, though more of a jack of all trades, master of none. It has areas it can improve upon, such as the app store and app functionality, and serious gamers may find it lacking from an input lag standpoint— though it still performs better than many projectors in this regard, and considering that it's not really targeted or marketed towards gaming, it's suitable.
Perhaps the X2's biggest issue is that its lack of out-of-box color accuracy really calls for a DIY calibration or at least an attempt to use calibrated settings found online (which may or may not work for you) from a review or ViewSonic's own vColorTuner database. Even though the inaccuracies are correctable it is unlikely that a user will get it fixed professionally based on the sheer cost of calibration when compared to the price of the unit. ViewSonic would do well to get the out-of-box color accuracy a little tighter. Contrast was also a point where a little more could have gone a long way. That being said, the X2 doesn't do badly overall once the settings have been dialed in, and considering the price-to-performance it did well in all of my viewing. With proper adjustment, it provides a great SDR presentation and a fairly convincing HDR experience.
Someone seeking a simple and cost-effective all-in-one solution should definitely take a look at the X2. It's a great option for a backyard movie night or temporary setup for a big screen experience with friends. Paired with an external streaming device, and using the on-board speakers, it will give most users a great experience, and its ability to accept a UHD resolution signal with support for HDR is very appealing. Overall, ViewSonic's X2 really does provide quite a bit for a fair price, and should surprise and please many.
Brightness. The ViewSonic X2 is rated for 2,300 ANSI lumens or 3,100 LED lumens. The latter is ViewSonic's attempt to account for the accepted view that we see LED-generated projections as brighter than lamp-generated images, and is meant to suggest the projector will be perceived as bright as a 3,100-lumen lamp projector.
The brightest picture mode in SDR or HDR was Brightest, which had a heavy green cast and wasn't really suitable for viewing. In SDR, this picture mode measured 1,977 ANSI lumens, which is 85.9% of ViewSonic's 2,300 rated ANSI specification and within the 20% tolerance of the ISO21118 specification. In HDR, Brightest measured slightly higher at 2,098 lumens, or 91.2% of the spec.
Selecting ECO for the Lamp Power mode setting measured a 25% light decrease. The Custom setting with default value measured a decrease of 17.9%. Normal, Dynamic Black 1, Dynamic Black 2, and Custom set to full power all measured the same with no light decrease between the modes.
ViewSonic X2 ANSI Lumens
|SDR Mode||Normal/Dynamic Black 1&2||Custom||Eco|
Zoom Lens Light Loss. The ViewSonic X2's light loss when shifting from the widest zoom position to its longest telephoto position was 15%.
Brightness Uniformity. The ViewSonic X2 projecting a 100-inch diagonal image resulted in measured brightness uniformity of 67% while in wide angle zoom, and 67% in telephoto zoom. The brightest portion of the screen was the middle center sector, and the dimmest the right bottom. The difference in brightness on a full white screen was very slightly noticeable, though more noticeable on a 15% stimulus full gray screen. It was hard to detect with real moving content.
Fan Noise. ViewSonic rates the fan noise at 31dB in Normal and 27dB in Eco mode for typical noise level as measured in a soundproof booth and averaged from different positions around the projector. Using Room EQ Wizard software and a Umik-1 microphone, my theater room ambient noise floor is 33.3 dBA. The ViewSonic X2 measured at the following dB for both SDR and HDR, in the following brightness modes. All measurements were taken at a distance of approx. 4.5 feet away from each side of the unit.
|SDR/HDR (all picture modes)||ECO|
4K/60—30ms (3X Fast input feature does not support 4K/60 signals)
- HDMI 2.0b (x2; HDCP 2.2)
- USB 2.0 (x2; 5V/1A power delivery/media playback, Service port)
- Mini Jack (x1 3.5mm Audio In; x1 3.5mm Audio Out)
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 for some context for each calibration.
vColorTuner Profile Name: Sammie ProjectorCentral X2 SDR
Display Mode: User 1
Color Temp: 6500K
Red Gain: 36
Green Gain: 48
Blue Gain: 66
Red Bias: 0
Green Bias: 1
Blue Bias: 1
(Bias only available with RBG signal)
Light Source Settings: Custom w/ Light Source Power 20 (or to taste), or Dynamic Black 2
vColorTuner Profile Name: Sammie ProjectorCentral X2 HDR
Display Mode: User 2
Color Temp: 6500K
Red Gain: 24
Green Gain: 43
Blue Gain: 50
Red Bias: 0
Green Bias: 0
Blue Bias: 0
(Bias only available with RBG signal)
Color: 0 (n/a)
Sharpness: 15 (n/a)
Gamma: 1.8 (n/a)
EOTF: Mid (Mid tracks closer to EOTF, High over tracks and rolls off earlier)
Light Source Settings: Normal or Dynamic Black 2
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our ViewSonic X2 projector page.