-- Introduction --
I spent a long time thinking about getting a projector. I loved the idea of a huge image - like a cinema in my front room - but was not up-to-date with the current projector technology and was unsure of what they were capable of, especially at this price point. I did some research online and discovered this Optoma model (the HD200X) was considered a great pj for the price, being full HD and and abailable brand new from Tesco for £548.
After selling a couple of things to raise some more cash, I took the plunge and ordered one, then picked it up 2 days later from my local Tesco store. I also bought a cheap blackout blind from Dunelm Mill, to use as a temporary screen while I saved up some more cash for a real screen!
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and quick it was to set this thing up. Due to me having a home cinema surround set-up in place already, all I needed to do was run an HDMI cable from the back of the blu-ray player/receiver, into the rear HDMI input on the projector. I popped a Lord of the Rings Blu-ray disc into my player and powered on the projector (after connecting it to the power outlet too, of course!)
The HD200X has 2 HDMI inputs, as well as a component input and VGA, so you can connect several devices at once. However, if your surround system/receiver has several inputs, all you'll need is a single HDMI from your receiver to the HD200X.
-- Full HD at 80" --
Obviously I was only using a blackout blind as my screen, but the projector impressed me immediately. I had to darken my room as much as possible, to achieve the best contrast and brightness for the image (this is true for just about any projector, although a grey screen can help with this). I was blown away by the detail and crispness of the image, being full 1080p HD on an 80" scale (my TV is 50" so this was a huge leap).
I had set the projector up on a table top, a few inches below the bottom of my 'screen' at a distance of about 9'. I had to zoom out fully on the HD200X to achieve a picture small enough for my 80" blind, so it's obvious that this model is capable of short throw projection, and should be able to give a brilliant, large image from as close as a few feet from the screen. I will be ordering a 110" screen soon, and mounting the HD200X on the ceiling, probably about 10' away. Viewing distance will be around 9' which will be simply awesome when watching full HD movies!
Colours are vivid and really a joy to behold. When watching something like 'Up' or 'Cars' on Blu-ray, the image is just stunning - brilliant sharpness and detail, fantastic bold colours, bright and crisp whites and good (but not great) blacks. Basically, this thing rocks! You will not be disappointed by the image quality of the HD200X, for £550 it's a real bargain, considering you can use a £20 blackout blind as an 80" screen, and a 60" plasma TV costs at least £1000! Of course, a projector is not something to replace a television, though, so you can't really compare like for like, but for the price of a 60" TV, you could get this projector AND a good 42" HDTV!
Ambient light is a bit of an issue, as with all but the most expensive projectors (which cost thousands of pounds and are still not 100% perfect). As long as you can have the room dark enough, by using blackout blinds and having darker walls if possible, then the image will have good contrast and acceptable black levels. However, using this pj in daylight is not really an option, as the image will be far too light and washed out. But then, who does that anyway?! In my opinion, a projector is for enjoying movies on, for a real 'home cinema' experience. I only use mine in the evenings, with the curtains closed and the lights off. In these conditions, the HD200X really shines, and every time I start watching a film through it, I sit there in awe for the first few minutes, and at multiple times throughout the film, due to the clarity of the 1080p image - it gives my blu-ray collection a whole new lease of life, as I want to re-watch all of my movies! And then watch them again when I get the proper, 110" screen!
-- The 'Rainbow' Effect --
As with most (if not all) DLP projectors, there is a visual quirk known as the Rainbow Effect, or 'RBE'. It is present with the HD200X, but I did not notice it myself until my other half pointed it out! The effect consists of a sudden flash of colours, like a vertical rainbow down the screen, usually when moving your eyes across the picture quickly, and usually more prevalent in contrasty scenes. As I said, I did not notice it at first, but my girlfriend did. After some online reading, I discovered that the effect usually lessens as 1) the pj bulb gets older and dims slightly after 100 hours or so, and 2) you become accustomed to the effect and your brain blocks it out and you don't notice it any more!
I honestly don't see the effect any more, after only a few hours of viewing, and did not really see it in the first place, anyway! I really don't think it will bother anyone, and if they do notice it at first, the effect should wear off after a few viewings.
-- Audio --
I do recommend having a home cinema/surround sound system in place if you want to use a projector, since it really enhances and completes the home cinema experience. The projector has no speakers, so there is no way to hear the audio from a film, unless you have some kind of sound system in place for the audio to go to. My home cinema system is currently only a Sony BDV-E380, which Tesco also had on sale at the time. I will give that a review soon, but it's a great system for the money and works well with my Panasonic TV and Optoma HD200X projector.
-- Adjustments and Settings --
There are lots of settings on the projector, not only for zooming in and out and focussing, but also for the picture, to tailor the image to your needs. It's worth fiddling with the contrast (don't put it too high), brightness, colour etc or looking online for the optimal settings, as it can enhance the picture and make the movie even more impressive! The settings may need adjusting after a hundred hours or so, as the bulb burns in and settles down a bit. Of course, the image can be inverted so it's the correct way up when the pj is mounted upside-down on the ceiling, and there are some built-in scene modes for things like 'cinema', 'photo' and 'bright', but I stick to the user mode and make my own adjustments.
-- Fan Noise --
The fan in the HD200X is pretty quiet. I have only ever noticed it during very quiet scenes, when there was next to no sound coming from the surround system, and that was when the projector was sitting on a table right next to me! I have no other PJ's to compare it to, but I am happy with the fan noise, and I'm sure I will never notice it at all once it's mounted on the ceiling, above and behind me. The projector does get very hot though, at the front where the lamp is, so I'm not sure if the fan can keep up, after a couple of hours' viewing!
-- Conclusion --
The HD200X is a superb projector for the money. As I said earlier, for £548 you can't go wrong, when things looks this good. Full HD images look absolutely stunning at 80" (and I'm sure they'll be just as good at 110" too!) with wonderful colours, pristine detail and smooth motion. I am very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the HD200X and highly recommend it to any movie fan! If you can't afford an expensive screen (I recommend a grey one if you aren't viewing in a very dark room and want better blacks) then just get a large, white, blackout blind from Dunelm or Ikea ;)
Having never purchased a projector before, i gave up my £800 pounds for the Optoma HD200x with some apprehension. Needless to say i was not disappointed.
In terms of image quality the picture is amazing. No visible pixelation until you are very close to the screen (1m>0), no rainbow effect to me, just a crisp, sharp image. Even when displayed on my cream wall, which is covered in marks, and is un-even in many places, it matched my previous LCD tv for brightness and contrast.
Now i have a 90" perfectly flat white screen, with a black bezelled border, and it is like being at the cinema.
The main selling point of this projector is that it is 1080p and at the cheapest price. Don't be fooled into thinking this means the image is in any way bad, because it matches any of the LCD or plasma screen tvs i have seen or owned. Watching blurays (played on my denon bluray player) is a joy, letting you truly appreciate the detail and clarity which blu rays are made for.
The only downside i can find is that the ceiling mount i bought seperately for the projector did not fit very easily with the projector. I did manage to fit it however and i would recommend fitting any projector you may buy to the ceiling.
In conclusion i cannot recommend this projector enough. If you have any questions about it feel free to message me.