Optoma’s CinemaX P2 is the replacement for last year’s CinemaX P1 Ultra-short Throw Projector. With 4K resolution, HDR, and 3000 lumens output, it can project a 120-inch image from just 16.5 inches away. It can be your TV thanks to a laser light engine rated for up to 30,000 hours and built-in streaming courtesy of Android TV 8.0. With a Bluetooth remote and convenient setup, it makes a great display for any media room or living room.
Optoma CinemaX P2 UST Laser Projector
- Ultra-short throw laser projector with 3000 lumens output
- HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma support (through USB)
- 3D support
- Two internal speakers with Dolby 2.0 tuned sound, 40 watts total power
- Projects a 120-inch diagonal image from 16.5 inches away
- Android TV 8.0 built-in
- Bluetooth remote
Most projector manufacturers are now offering ultra-short-throw displays designed to replace a flat panel TV. The trend is now well established enough that many products are in their second generations. Optoma has updated its CinemaX P1 UST projector from last year with the CinemaX P2.
The basics of the projector are unchanged. A 0.47” DLP chip delivers 3840 x 2160 pixels using Fast-Switch XPR technology. The max image size is 120 inches with the P2 placed 16.5 inches from the screen. The claimed output is still 3000 lumens and you get support for 3D and HDR10. HLG is also accepted through a USB input. The CinemaX P2 is also a networked display with Android TV 8.0 built-in. You can control it with voice commands through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It also features two high-quality speakers with 40 watts total power.
New in the P2 is a claimed 25% greater contrast and more vibrant color. An Enhanced Gaming Mode lowers input lag and improves response for better play through consoles like Xbox and PlayStation. And when you’re not watching or gaming, there are built-in fine art graphics that can be displayed on your wall or screen with a digital exhibit feature. It’s a cool new package that I can’t wait to test. Let’s take a look.
Single-chip DLP 0.47”
1920×1080, 3840×2160 with Fast-Switch XPR, 16:9 aspect ratio
HDR10, HLG (through USB)
frame-pack, DLP Link compatible
Light output (mfr):
3000 ANSI lumens
2x HDMI 2.0 (1 w/ARC), 1x HDMI 1.4a
optical S/PDIF out
1x USB media player, 1x USB service
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
2x 20 watts
22.1” x 5.1” x 15” (WxHxD)
Optoma CinemaX P2 UST Projector Price:
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The CinemaX P2 uses the .47-inch version of Texas Instruments’ Ultra HD DLP chip. Natively, it runs at 1920 x 1080 pixels but uses Fast-Switch XPR technology to create Ultra HD resolution. In practice, it works well and delivers a visible improvement in sharpness and clarity, especially with native 4K content. Upconversion is effective as well for Blu-ray and streamed 1080p material. A six-segment RGBRGB color is used which should eliminate the rainbow effect seen by a small percentage of viewers. In my case, I couldn’t see it in content or test patterns.
The light source is a laser phosphor rated at 20,000 to 30,000 hours depending on the power setting. That’s something like 10 years of watching the P2 for five hours a day. It’s also the same as the rated life span of an OLED or plasma panel.
HDR10 is supported as well as Hybrid Log-Gamma through the USB inputs. To increase contrast, the P2 has three dynamic black modes that vary laser brightness on a frame by frame basis. In my tests, it provided a roughly five-fold increase in dynamic range for both SDR and HDR signals. The P2 also accepts 3D signals in frame pack format. Using a totaled 120Hz refresh rate, it can deliver 60Hz per eye which does a lot to reduce motion artifacts. 24p 3D signals are doubled to 48Hz per eye. This helps reduce crosstalk and deepens the 3D effect.
Color-wise, the P2 offers a little extra gamut volume beyond Rec.709 but it doesn’t cover quite as much of P3 as some other projectors. But as you’ll see in my tests, native contrast is indeed higher than before. Coupled with an ideal light output level, the P2 is perfect for just about any media room or living space as a TV replacement.
As an ultra-short-throw display, it is very easy to install. You can throw a 120-inch image from just 16.5 inches away with the projector a few inches below the screen. Leveling feet are provided to aid in squaring up the picture and you can also use digital correction with keystone and warping. Optoma includes plastic distance guides in the box and you can use your smartphone with an app called SmartFit to achieve ideal geometry.
The input panel includes three HDMI ports, two in back, version 2.0, and one on the side, version 1.4a. One of the rear ports supports ARC so you can send audio back to a receiver or processor. This is handy when using the Android TV 8.0 interface to stream content from the internet. You can also output sound through an optical port. A USB input accepts a multitude of video and audio signal formats including Hybrid Log-Gamma from media players or thumb drives. To connect to your home network, Wi-fi is built-in or you can hook up a cable to the provided RJ45 port.
The remote is a tiny handset that operates via infrared and Bluetooth. Once paired, you can control the CinemaX P2 without a line of sight. The buttons are backlit after you press one but when the light is off, it’s almost impossible to see the icons printed on them. Luckily there aren’t many keys, so you’ll memorize the important ones quickly as I did.
For 3D fans, the P2 accepts the frame pack format. Glasses aren’t included but you can use any that are compatible with DLP Link. I used a pair from Xpand. The P2 can deliver up to 60Hz per eye which helps keep the motion smooth and blur-free. It also deepens the 3D effect and eliminates any visible crosstalk.
The CinemaX P2 is designed to be placed a few inches below the screen or wall. Its distance determines the image size. In my case, I set it up beneath a Stewart Filmscreen Studiotek 130 Luminesse, placed to fill its 92-inch diagonal space. Since my table and screen were already level and straight, there were no geometry issues. A few tweaks of the motorized focus and I was ready to go. For trickier setups, you can level each of the four feet independently. It only takes tiny movements of the projector to see a big change on the screen so proceed slowly. You can also adjust focus in four zones of the image if you’re having trouble getting everything sharp.
Pressing the top right button on the remote brings up the menu with the picture options listed first. There are six SDR picture modes, four HDR presets, three more for HLG, and one for 3D. Installers can enter a remote code to unlock five additional ISF modes for a grand total of 19 picture memories. That might be a new record!
Each mode can be calibrated separately and by input, so the possible combinations are extensive. I started with the default Cinema mode which had a few issues that needed correcting. Optoma provides seven gamma presets and four color temp options. All can be calibrated independently using the RGB gain and bias controls. The settings are very coarse, and I had a hard time dialing in grayscale tracking precisely but in the end, I achieved excellent accuracy. I also made use of the Color Matching feature which provides hue, saturation, and gain controls for all six colors. My final results were excellent and can be seen below in the benchmark section.
To increase contrast, there are three Dynamic Black options which throttle the laser on a frame by frame basis. Number 3 is the most aggressive and will all but turn off the laser in the darkest scenes. I settled on number 2 as the best option and it delivered excellent contrast for both SDR, HDR, and 3D content. If you prefer to set a lower peak brightness level, you can manually set the laser power in 5% increments from 100 down to 50%. Also included is a Pure Motion feature which engages three different levels of frame interpolation. This option is good for some content but for movies and TV, it causes the soap opera effect which will not be palatable to all users.
The Display menu has several options for image warping which are effective but will ultimately reduce resolution if used too liberally. The best way to achieve a square clear image is to physically move the projector until its placed just right. The Optoma SmartFit app can aid in setting the geometry if manual adjustments don’t cut it.
The built-in two-speaker soundbar sounds great in its default Movie mode but has four additional sound settings that are designed for music, sports, or gaming. Each has a slightly different timbre. I preferred Movie mode for my viewing tests. You can also set an audio delay if lip-sync doesn’t look right.
With calibration complete, I connected up a Philips BDP-7501 Ultra HD Blu-ray player and settled down for some movie watching. I checked the P2’s settings with a few clips from Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark. The demo material is very revealing of color and contrast performance. Both were exemplary once I selected the correct 600 nit demo reel. If you try to play something mastered to a higher peak, it will look very blown out with little in the way of highlight detail. When encountering a disc mastered over 1000 nits (few are), the only recourse is to turn down the contrast control. Luckily, I didn’t have that issue.
I also checked out the Android streaming interface. To set it up, you’ll have to install apps for the services you subscribe to. I found the Netflix app quite limited in both performance and features. Though it played content smoothly, navigation was very slow. The biggest bummer though is its lack of support for Ultra HD and HDR. 1080p looks fine on the CinemaX P2 but it means your shiny new projector is underutilized. My suggestion? Hook up an Apple TV; it’s my reference streaming player for a reason.
The CinemaX P2 is best used with an Ultra HD Blu-ray player and the latest HDR-enabled movies. I started with Christopher Nolan’s latest mind-bender Tenet. This film is full of gritty and cold hues like green, blue, and brown. Occasionally, you’ll get a warm scene on the ocean where beautiful rich people are sunning themselves on a yacht. The P2 was in its element serving up a razor-sharp image with vivid color and excellent contrast. HDR looks quite good here with deep detailed blacks and highlights that pop. The dynamic black 2 mode varies laser output to make the most of each frame. I was never able to see it in operation. It’s much more responsive than an iris.
Mission Impossible Fallout has a difficult sequence where our heroes drive a boat through a dark tunnel. Every few seconds, it passes under a sunlit opening which varies the overall picture brightness from one extreme to the other. The dynamic black feature had no problem keeping up, but I did see a few brief instances of black detail crush. The brightness slider can be increased to compensate but I saw no need for adjustment. The movie looked great throughout.
Bumblebee is a period film that takes place in the 1980s. A vintage feel is cast over the image with lots of warm tones and a filtered look that is appropriate for the story. The P2 captured this perfectly, always maintaining sharpness and contrast, even in softly lit scenes. Nighttime material had a solid black backdrop with well-rendered foreground objects. If you grew up in the Eighties, the P2 will rekindle your memories as it did mine. Movies with a classic film look are definitely at home here.
I finished my viewing with a Marvel CGI-fest, Captain Marvel. All the computer-generated elements shone with their familiar smooth tones, perfect lines, and intricate detail. Human characters super-imposed on these backgrounds maintained their natural flesh tones and surface textures. The details in different alien costumes were particularly well done. The CinemaX P2 is a worthy 4K display that can keep up with just about any other Ultra HD projector or flat panel.
For all my viewing, the CinemaX P2 delivered room-filling sound without requiring a high volume setting. I never moved the slider past 50% and occasionally dropped it to 30% for titles with more boisterous soundtracks. The bass is reasonably deep given the speaker size and lends a nice weight to dialog. The sound stage is a little wider than the projector with a sweet spot about three people wide. I played with the different sound modes and settled on Movie as the best for all viewing. If you listen to music through the P2, the Music mode is better for that purpose.
SDR Grayscale & Gamma Tracking
For the CinemaX P2’s baseline measurements, I stuck with its default picture mode, Cinema. Like all the presets, it is fully adjustable with two-point grayscale, gamma, and color management controls.
Grayscale tracking is visibly blue with a tint that can be seen at all brightness steps above 10%. While the image is nice and bright, it lacks dimension and pop. Gamma is a bit light with larger dips at the 10 and 90% steps. This adds to the picture’s flat look and prevents detail from standing out.
Several adjustments were needed but, in the end, grayscale and gamma tracking is exemplary. Changing the gamma preset to 2.4 rendered BT.1886 almost spot-on. That is a good thing because a lot of modern content is mastered at that slightly darker spec and it adds a lot of depth to the image. Grayscale tracking is now visually perfect with no errors of consequence.
SDR Color Gamut & Luminance
The CinemaX P2 follows the Rec.709 gamut spec closely at the triangle’s perimeter but inner targets show visible hue and saturation errors. Color luminance is reasonably well balanced and close to the neutral point. The hue errors in cyan and green are visible as are the lighter shades of red which look slightly pink.
I worked with the color management controls for a while before realizing that Brilliant Color was contributing to the measured errors. Turning that slider from 10 to 1 made a significant difference in color tracking. It also made the CMS more effective and you can see the end result. Gamut errors are now completely invisible with near-neutral and balanced color luminance. This is excellent performance; better than I was able to achieve with the CinemaX P1.
After applying an HDR10 signal, the CinemaX P2 switched over automatically and offered four additional picture modes. I stuck with the default, Film. All the presets can be independently calibrated for grayscale and color.
The default measurement run shows blue errors that rise towards the tone-map transition point then level off at around 4.25dE. This is reasonable performance comparable to other projectors at this price point. The EOTF rises right on the reference line with a soft transition that covers the range from 40-70%.
With a few tweaks to the RGB gain and bias sliders, grayscale tracking is much better with just a few minor green errors in the brightest steps, 80% and above. These are very hard to see in actual content because those levels only render in tiny highlight details. The EOTF is unchanged.
The CinemaX P2 doesn’t quite fill the DCI-P3 gamut volume but it pushes green and red to add more saturation. The inner targets are mostly under-saturated except for blue which tracks well but is a little off hue.
The color management controls are effective when used with care. I had to adjust at multiple saturation levels to achieve a good compromise for the entire gamut sweep. Red is now much more saturated inside the triangle where most content lives. Green is also improved. Secondary color hues are also much better. Though the CinemaX P2 could use a little more HDR color in general, its accuracy with calibration is quite good and lends a satisfying look to Ultra HD content.
The CinemaX P2 had no problem with above white and below black tests in all three signal modes. You can hook up any source and get the same resolution regardless of whether it’s RGB or YCbCr. The projector is less capable with interlaced content though. While that is increasingly rare these days, many of us still play DVDs. For that, you’ll want your player to handle the video processing.
Light Output & Contrast
All luminance values are expressed here in nits, also known as candelas per square meter (cd/m2). For those needing a frame of reference, 1fL equals 3.43 nits, or 1 nit equals .29fL.
As a TV replacement, the CinemaX P2 puts out an ideal light level. I measured with a regular projection screen (Stewart Studiotek 130, Luminesse) in a completely dark room, but an ALR or lenticular model will better suit an ultra-short throw display like this.
After calibration, I measured 158.8485 nits peak, .1528 nit black, and 1039.8:1 contrast. This is the CinemaX P2’s native dynamic range with Dynamic Black turned off.
Setting Dynamic Black to level 2 yielded 153.2557 nits peak, .0349 nit black, and 4397.4:1 contrast. Dynamic Black 3 reduced black to an immeasurable level.
In HDR mode, I recorded 168.6154 nits peak, .1528 nit black, and 1103.4:1 contrast with Dynamic Black turned off.
Setting Dynamic Black to level 2 yielded 171.7835 nits peak, .0354 nit black, and 4850.1:1 contrast. Dynamic Black 3 reduced black to an immeasurable level.
In 3D mode, I measured 17.5858 nits peak, .0202 nit black, and 870.7:1 contrast. With Dynamic Black set to level 2, I measured 17.3741 nits peak, .0019 nit black, and 9152.5:1 contrast through the DLP Link glasses. Crosstalk measured .08%.
Recommended Settings for SDR & HDR
- Mode Cinema
- Brightness -8
- Contrast 8
- Sharpness 4
- Color/Tint 0
- Gamma 2.4
- Brilliant Color 1
- Color Temp Warm
Color Matching – Hue Sat Gain
- R -5 0 0
- G -19 6 -12
- B -14 0 -16
- C -20 -4 -6
- Y -23 -5 0
- M 2 -7 -5
RGB Gain/Bias – R G B
- Gain -3 0 -1
- Bias -1 0 0
- Mode Standard
- Brightness -4
- Contrast 10
- Sharpness 4
- Color/Tint 0
- Gamma 2.4
- Brilliant Color 1
- Color Temp Standard
Color Matching – Hue Sat Gain
- R 0 8 29
- G 0 10 20
- B -10 0 15
- C -20 -4 25
- Y -21 -5 15
- M 27 -5 20
RGB Gain/Bias – R G B
- Gain -1 0 -1
- Bias 0 0 0
The Optoma CinemaX P2 Ultra-short Throw Laser Projector delivers a bright, sharp, and colorful image with room-filling audio at an attractive price.
- Sharp bright image
- Excellent SDR and HDR contrast
- Room-filling audio
- Very color-accurate with calibration
- Better out-of-box accuracy
- Larger color gamut for HDR content
As a television replacement, the Optoma CinemaX P2 is a worthy display. It’s very easy to install and it produces a bright, sharp image that rivals any Ultra HD flat panel in dark to moderately lit rooms. You can take this a step further with a light rejecting or lenticular screen. I’ve seen demos of ultra-short-throw projectors paired with products like Screen Innovations’ Short Throw ALR and the image quality is stunning.
The P2 puts its performance where it counts. DLP with Fast-Switch XPR technology effectively renders a 4K image and even though the color gamut doesn’t quite hit the DCI-P3 spec, no one will object to the projector’s vivid and saturated hues. Out of the box, there are a few issues to correct but once properly calibrated, the P2 approaches reference quality. And I was very impressed with its contrast. The dynamic black feature is quite effective at producing true deep blacks with excellent shadow detail.
As a one-box solution, the P2 also delivers well in the audio department. There is plenty of power to fill a medium-sized room. I never had to turn the volume up past the halfway mark to achieve a nice sound stage with both width and depth. Bass wasn’t room-shaking but there was enough bottom to render clean and clear dialog and add a good sense of space.
The Optoma CinemaX P2 is a well designed and engineered lifestyle component. It competes with the best media room displays and can serve as both a movie machine and a television. It offers decent value and can be set up just about anywhere you have a wall and a credenza. And with a 30,000-hour service life, it will deliver entertainment for years to come. If you’ve been itching to have a 120-inch TV but can’t justify spending tens of thousands of dollars on a mega-sized flat panel, the P2 is just the ticket. Highly Recommended.