Optoma HD146X Review – Budget 1080p DLP Projector

If you’re in the market looking for a budget 1080p projector with spectacular specs, then the Optoma HD146X is the right pick for you!

$500 is a sweet price point for finding a good quality projector with bright light output and longer life. Although most products at this price come with 720p native resolution.

On the other hand, the Optoma HD146X is a value-for-money proposition. With this projector, you get 1080p native resolution and a low response time of 16ms. Thus, watching movies and gaming will be joyful on this tiny beast.

In this Optoma HD146X review, we’ll take a look at the projector’s design, built quality and performance, and let you know if this product is the right choice for you.

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Optoma HD146X Review

  • CINEMATIC PICTURE QUALITY: Enjoy crisp, high-definition images with a native 1080p (1920×1080) resolution and an RYGCWB color wheel for home cinema color calibration.
  • PERFECT IMAGE ALIGNMENT: With the latest technology from Texas Instruments, the DLP DMD single-chip design ensures perfect image alignment combined with high-brightness for an incredible picture
  • LIGHTS-ON VIEWING: Enjoy an incredible 3, 600 of brightness in any room in your home; leave the lights on or keep it dim for a cinematic experience
  • FAST RESPONSE TIME: Enhanced Gaming Mode enables lightning-fast response time; Game Display Mode boosts shadows and dark scenes for greater visibility of impending obstacles
  • HDMI-CEC FOR SIMPLE ON/OFF: HDMI-CEC technology enables control of the projector and connected devices using a single remote, all via the HDMI connection with the projectors HDMI-Link feature
  • MORE IMAGE DEPTH: Dynamic Black technology provides more depth to the image by smoothing lamp output to create a high contrast ratio (500, 000: 1); bright scenes appear clear while dark scenes remain detailed
  • LONG LAMP LIFE: Enjoy up to 15, 000 hours of lamp life enabling an average of 4 hours of viewing time every day 10+ years
  • FULL 3D: The HD146X displays true 3D content from almost any 3D source, including 3D Blu-ray Disc players, 3D broadcasting, and the latest-generation game consoles. Support for 120Hz rapid-refresh rate provides ultra-smooth flicker-free images; 3D glasses required
  • EASY INSTALLATION: 40° vertical keystone correction and a 1. 1X zoom enable flexible placement in any environment
  • HDMI + USB POWER: Support for HDMI extender and USB power supply; connect to Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox, Switch, PS4 or set top box for a big-screen entertainment experience

First Impression and Design

While most budget projectors are available in white or off-white color, it is a friendly welcome that the Optoma HD146X is available in a complete blacked-out body. This color choice surely helps the product stand out from its competitors.

Optoma HD146X Review - Enhanced Gaming Mode 16ms Response Time

Although design-wise, it retains the generic projector look that we’re used to with most projector. The generic design helps keep the price down yet offer fantastic specifications.

The projector’s front features the projection lens and an IR sensor. The projection lens is covered by the focus ring, while the zoom ring is situated at the top. The top also features a power button, few navigational buttons, input source, and settings control.

With most projectors, you get plenty of connectivity options like VGA port, RS-232 port, and multiple HDMI ports. However, the Optoma HD146X only comes with 1x HDMI port, 1x USB port, and 1x audio port. The projector’s back looks relatively ghost-out and is a sight better left unseen. Although, a device like an HDMI switch will help if you want to connect multiple HDMI devices in one go.

Optoma HD146X Review - DLP Single Chip Design

Within the box, you get the projector along with an HDMI cable, remote control, instruction manual, and a warranty card. Luckily the remote control is backlit, but also features direct buttons for non-existent inputs like HDMI 2, VGA, and video component – a clear case of cost-cutting.


Built Quality & Performance

Talking about built quality, there’s nothing special about the projector’s body or long-term reliability. To keep the price down, it uses the same body seen in the Optoma H184X projector, which works well for daily use.

While this projector weighs just over 6 pounds, it is recommended that you ceiling-mount it to prevent any accidents or the projector falling from your coffee table.

Optoma HD146X Review - 3600 Lumens Projector

Out of the box, the Optoma HD146X can produce 3600 lumens of brightness. In its brightest mode, the color accuracy takes a hit. Hence, it is best reserved for presentations and classroom work.

Although, in movie mode and game mode, you get an outstanding balance between color accuracy and brightness, making it a joy to use this projector.

Optoma claims that in its Bright mode, the projector lamp lasts up to 4,000 hours. Whereas in Eco mode, the lamp life can extend up to 10,000 hours. Moreover, the Optoma HD146X also features a Dynamic Black feature, extending the battery life even further to a whopping 15,000 hours. It keeps the blacks darker and whites brighter and results in the cooling fan making noticeable noise.

It is a DLP projector; thus, you’re sure to get bright and vibrant color output. Although, the vibrancy is no match to the color accurate pictures you get in the Epson Home Cinema 880 projector with its 3LCD projection technology.

This projector also comes with a 1.1x optical zoom range and ±40° vertical keystone adjustment to get a proper picture adjustment. However, suppose you’re ready to spend an extra $150. In that case, you can get a 1.3x optical zoom and 2D keystone adjustment with the BenQ HT2050A projector.

Optoma HD146X High Performance Projector for Movies & Gaming
Optoma HD146X features only 1x HDMI port

Even though it’s a bright projector, the Optoma HD146X is an ideal pick for watching movies and TV shows. Compared to Epson projectors, the blacks are slightly brighter on this projector. To combat this, Optoma has Vivid mode and Brilliant Color to adjust the color output as per your needs. However, if it’s your first projector or an upgrade from a cheaper projector, you’ll enjoy the color output and brightness.

The Optoma HD146X will make an excellent outdoor projector. You can watch your favorite content in the evening or night with its high brightness output.

Since it’s a bright projector in a relatively small casing, the exhaust fans have to work extra hard to keep this projector cool. In budget projectors, you do get relatively loud fans. However, the fan has variable speeds and adjusts its RPM accordingly.

Although, things can get quite irritating if you switch on the Dynamic Black mode. In darker scenes, the fan slows down, whereas, in brighter scenes with high lamp brightness, the exhaust fans shoot up in speed.


Important Features and Functions

  • 1080p resolution: It’s hard to find projectors with 1080p resolution and priced close to $500. A Full HD resolution is a must-have in a modern projector. It offers a superb balance between clarity and color output. If you’re projecting on a 100-inch plus screen, you’ll surely enjoy the higher resolution that provides crispier pictures. The Full HD resolution also makes viewing modern content a joy on this projector.
  • Full 3D support: With Full 3D support, you can convert your living room or outdoor space into a 3D movie theater. The DLP projection technology can produce 3D images. To enjoy the full 3D experience, you’ll need DLP-link 3D glasses, which are relatively inexpensive.
  • High Brightness: Brightness output of 3600 lumens makes the Optoma HD146X a versatile projector. You can use it in office, classroom, sports bar, living room, and outdoor space. Since it weighs just over 6 pounds, carrying around this projector also won’t be an issue.
  • Low input lag: If you prefer gaming on a big screen, it won’t get better than playing games on a projector. Most projectors are plagued with high input lag. However, the Optoma HD146X is equipped with a low input lag of 16ms, making it ideal for playing fast paced games without any issues.

Optoma HD146X Review: Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Full HD resolution
  • 3600 lumens brightness
  • Up to 15,000 hours lamp life with Dynamic Black Mode
  • Backlit remote
  • Full 3D support
  • It weighs just over 6 pounds
  • Available at an affordable price

Cons

  • Comes with only 3 connectivity port (HDMI, USB and Audio jack)
  • Noticeable fan noise
  • Low zoom range of just 1.1x

Conclusion

Optoma is a reputed projector brand and puts out some of the best projectors available in the market. Although to offer a 1080p projector at an affordable price, there are few corners cut with the Optoma HD146X.

The biggest hit is the single HDMI input source, whereas even budget projectors have more connectivity options.

Don’t get me wrong; if you’ve never used a projector before and want one with the best specs, then the Optoma HD146X is an ideal choice. You really wouldn’t go wrong with it.

However, suppose you want a reliable 1080p projector option. In that case, I’d also suggest taking a look at the Epson Home Cinema 880 projector.

Moreover, suppose you’re ready to spend $100 more. In that case, you can get the Optoma HD28HDR that offers 120Hz refresh rate, 4K input support, and HDR compatibility.

If you have any questions regarding this projector, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below.

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