As technology advances, so do the alternatives to a traditional media player. We’ve seen it multiple times as VHS paved the way for DVDs which eventually gave way to Blue-Ray technology. It’s no surprise that the same would begin to happen with projector technology and home television sets. This is especially true when you consider projectors like the Optoma CinemaX P2, a device designed especially to produce a stellar home theater experience on par with any other type of media player. With its sleek modern design and short-throw capabilities, it’s an unobtrusive, neat machine that won’t clutter up your living room (or home theater).
Not only does it provide state-of-the-art image and sound, but it also comes with a dedicated gaming mode that makes it a versatile alternative that might have you putting your standard television on stand-by for the foreseeable future.
Who is the Optoma CinemaX P2 for?
Originally part of the Coretronics Group (a key manufacturer of LCDs in the 90s), the Optoma Corporation was founded in 2000 and cemented itself quickly in 2002 by announcing the world’s first 65-inch DLP® projection television and winning the CES Innovations Award. Since that time, they’ve consistently been a leader in projector technology and best-selling devices in their fields. Optoma designs projectors for gaming, home theaters, business meetings, and even features many portable devices.
The Cinemax P2 is the successor to the earlier model – the CinemaX P1. Both models were designed for a singular purpose – to elevate the home theater experience by creating an image worthy of replacing any popular big screen 4K LED television. A difficult feat to master, right? But when you take a look at this projector, you just might find that it can make your home television obsolete while maintaining a lower price point! Nothing is impossible when it comes to technology, after all! Even better, this short-throw projector is great in almost any space, making it comparable to a 100+ inch screen from as close as a foot away.
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While we’ve done a quick rundown of what this projector is (a short-throw 4k beast) and who it’s designed for (anyone looking for an alternative to a much more expensive LED 4K television), that isn’t all you have to look forward to with the CinemaX P2. It’s time to take a deeper dive into the features this machine offers.
- Brightness: 3,000 ANSI Lumens
- Resolution: 4K, 1920×1080, 3840×2160 with fast-switch XPR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- HDR: HDR10, HLG (through USB)
- Color Wheel: 6 segments
- Light Source: Laser
- Lamp Life: 20,000-30,000 hours
- 40W NuForce soundbar (2x 20watt speakers)
- Throw Distance: 1.5′ – 2.2′
- Image Size: 85-120 inches
- Throw Ratio: 0.25:1
- Zoom: digital 0.8-2.0x
- Projector Size: 22.1” x 5.1” x 15” (576 x 129.7 x 383 mm) (WxHxD)
- Weight: 24.25 lbs (10.5kg)
- Audible Noise: 24-32 db
- HD Compatibility: Full HD 3D, DLP Link compatible
- Enhanced Gaming Mode
Next, let’s talk about connectivity! This is always an important (and often overlooked) aspect in choosing any projector for your space. You don’t want to unplug various devices all the time if you need to swap out media sources with any regularity. For the full list of included ports, we have:
- 2 HDMI 2.0 (1 with ARC)
- 1 HDMI 1.4 A
- Optical S/PDIF out
- 1 USB media player
- 1 USB service
- Ethernet input
- 3.5 mm audio jack output
Long lamp life
Most lamp-based light source projectors have a lamp life of around 6,000 hours. Some can do more or less, depending on the quality of the machine and the type of lamp. By utilizing the Optoma’s laser light source, the CinemaX P2 can extend the average lamp life of the projector to an astounding 30,000 hours! Not only that, but the laser technology maintains the same stunning quality image and color throughout the entire lifespan.
One inclusion on this projector model is an onboard streaming app from Optoma Marketplace powered by the Android Aptoide platform. With it, you’ll find preloaded apps like Amazon, Netflix, and Youtube ready for you to sign into. It’s also compatible with Alexas, Google Assistant, and IFTTT automation. You can customize your home screen with a little effort and you have the option to activate a screen saver of curated, rotating works of digital art.
With the HDMI port, you have the option of 3D viewing. This projector features full 3D support, although you will need to purchase glasses separately for use.
Most projectors in this price range feature Full HD. This one certainly does. This makes the image crisp, sharp, and detailed which certainly enhances your viewing experience.
4K UHD Support
The Cinemax P2 offers full 4K input. It’s what you’d expect from a projector of this quality (and at this price point). The 6-color wheel brings out the vividness in the displayed image without sacrificing the intensity of black balance.
Pros and Cons
As we’ve said before, no projector is perfect! It’s important to take a look at the good and the not-so-good that each one offers before you decide what the best option is for your budget and home entertainment needs.
What are the best features that the Optoma CinemaX P2 has to offer? Here are our picks for the best features you’ll appreciate from this machine:
Powerful Ultra-Short Throw (UST) Projector
Despite the size of this projector, its ultra-short throw range makes it perfect for just about any space. This absolutely means that you can get 4K UHD quality images from as short as 14 inches away.
4K Picture Looks Great
Seriously, everything looks fantastic on this machine! As a note, there are changes from the P1 model of this projector. For one, Optoma reduced the contrast from 2,500,000:1 to 2,000,000:1, and brightness is down to 3,000 lumens. The color gamut has also diminished, with only 85 percent of DCI-P3 now support, compared to 87 percent on the original model.
Dedicated Gaming Mode
Anytime you have a dedicated gaming mode on a projector, it’s an automatic advantage over those without. Putting the projector into this mode drops the input lag down to 50ms, which gives you a great advantage for fast-paced and competitive console or PC gaming. It cuts the delay in your gaming experience, meaning the image you’ll see on your screen is broadcasting in real-time. No more frustrating lost kills or failed timing puzzles. It’s the next best thing compared to a dedicated (and expensive) gaming monitor.
Game Display Mode also provides a visual advantage by boosting shadows and dark scenes, making your gameplay a more immersive experience.
Let’s be honest, most projectors – especially those in the lower price range – do not offer great options for sound output. Fortunately, that isn’t the case with the Optoma CinemaX P2! You certainly get what you pay for, and in this case? It’s an impressive set of integrated 10-watt speakers that will enhance your viewing experience. This soundbar supports Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and has clean Bluetooth audio. Granted, if you want a surround sound experience, you’ll still need to invest in dedicated external speakers but that is standard for any home viewing setup you might put together.
Let’s take a moment to discuss pricing for this projector. Not only did it originally retail for 500 dollars less than the original Cinemax P1 immediately, but the MSRP is also comparable (and many times less expensive) than an equally powerful 4K LED television. If you’ve been looking to make the switch – or upgrade from an older projector to a more powerful one – this might be the perfect time to do so! The Cinemax P2 gives you the benefits of a 4K UHD image without the price tag! What’s not to love about that?
While the Optoma CinemaX P2 has plenty of great features, it’s not without its flaws. There are a few things we found to be less than ideal when checking out this projector.
Onboard Smart Apps Disorganized
While it seems like a great feature to offer built-in smart apps as part of your initial package, this is really hit-or-miss as it’s implemented in the CinemaX P2. The remote is woefully unimpressive and it’s difficult to use for built-in apps like Netflix or Amazon. At the end of the day, you’re likely going to need to invest in a Roku, Apple TV, or other plug-in media stick to access your favorite apps and services. It’s going to save you the headache overall.
Gaming Mode Isn’t Fully Optimized
Given that the projector has a dedicated gaming mode, you would think they would decrease the lag time further than the supposedly 60-66ms. Timing is crucial when you’re competitive gaming online or even with friends. Even the smallest difference can ruin your latest round of COD or Fortnite. While this likely wouldn’t affect casual gamers, this isn’t going to be the set-up for a professional (especially when the much cheaper Optoma HD146X has an incredibly low input lag of 8.4 ms to give you a basis for comparison).
As with purchasing any projector, there is no single right answer for your needs. It’s just as important to look into other models that might work better for your price point or quality level. If the CinemaX P2 just isn’t quite what you’re looking for, we’ve got a few other options that might do the trick. Here are two alternatives to check out for comparison?
Obviously, this projector is the precursor to the CinemaX P1 and is a good alternative for anyone who doesn’t need the newest model on the market. After all, the P2 was built off the existing earlier model. While this projector did originally retail for more than the CinemaX P2 when it launched in 2019, you’ll likely find it to be cheaper – usually by at least a thousand dollars or more – now than the newer model has come out. You’ll find much of the same features with one major exception – the color wheel. The P2 eliminates the yellow segments, making more vivid and accurate colors without losing brightness. However, it’s a great alternative overall, especially if you’re looking for something a little cheaper.
Super bright, outstanding 3D quality, and a great laser projector for the price, the Epson EH-LS500 is another great option for someone looking at either of the Optoma CinemaX models. Epson is another solid projector brand with a great reputation and excellent ratings across the board. The EH-LS500 is comparable to the CinemaX P2 with its 4,000-lumen laser engine and 20,000-hour rated life. In short, it’s slightly brighter but with a shorter light life. This one doesn’t offer the same ultra-short-throw capabilities so it will take a little more space to make it work in a smaller room.
This is also a more expensive model than the CinemaX P2.
Finding the perfect fit for your home theater experience isn’t always an easy task. It’s important to do your research and take your time to find the perfect model for your home. However, if you have the budget for a big screen 4K television and you’d rather invest in a projector (or you want to upgrade your current set-up to a more serious home viewing experience), the Optoma CinemaX P2 just might be the thing for you. It’s cheaper than televisions of comparable size and quality while still giving you the same viewing experience. While it’s not going to wow any serious cinephiles accustomed to bigger (and more expensive) projector set-ups, this projector is sure to please anyone looking to enjoy their media on the big screen at home.
Overall, this is a fantastic projector for the price and the quality! It’s versatile, incredibly powerful for a short-throw projector, and has bright colors as well as dark blacks.