A hundred inches of pleasure for the eyes and ears – a projector as comfortable as a TV

We recognise the unique Optoma Cinemax P2 projector, which can produce an image of 85 inches upwards and downwards just a little away from the screen. This projector is also a soundbar and media player that works under Android and Aptoide control.

PROS
– very good quality 4K and HDR/HLG images,
– It handles contrasting scenes well,
– Shadows rich in detail,
– wide range of displayed colours,
– does not require far-reaching adjustments when taken out of the box,

CONS
– applications available through the built-in Aptoide platform of little use,
– not very intuitive setting menu in the projector,

The television manufacturers are two and three to enable us to buy large and extremely flat TVs at the most attractive price. Today, even 65 inches at an affordable price does not surprise anyone, and yet two decades ago, satisfaction with a 32-inch CRT TV set was disproportionately greater.

Films in 4K from an Optoma projector set up against a wall are something you need to see, hear and feel.

Parallel to the TV industry, the projector industry is also developing, with the segment of ultra-short-throw projectors, which allow the image to be projected from a very short distance from the screen or wall. The latter may turn out to be much more convenient because the so-called screen must be perfectly flat, so as not to increase the distortion of the image very strong with an ultra-short projection.

The Optoma Cinemax P2 projector came into my hands for a while. The name suggests a pleasant film experience and I can immediately say that I liked this projector very much. I generally appreciate the Optoma for its attractively priced projectors and very good colour scheme, but I didn’t think I’d get a device that would be so much fun to watch not only movies but also photos, as well as surf the web and work occasionally on a huge 100″ screen in 4K resolution.

Optoma Cinemax P2 projecting the projector desktop onto the wall while working in the room. Picture for illustration, colours may differ from the real ones. Image quality was assessed on an additional projector screen.

Optoma Cinemax P2 specifications:

  • light source blue laser + phosphor wheel / DLP XPR display technology / 3D image support
  • The life span of up to 30,000 hours depending on operating mode
  • brightness 3000 ANSI lumens
  • 4K resolution via DLP chip shift function, signal support 2160/60p
  •  optics / image size projection distance 47 to 66 cm
  • the image size from 85 to 120 inches
  • image shift of 124% (bottom edge is above the projector when placed on a table)
  • zoom / position / distortion correction none (adjustment by distance from screen) / adjustable feet / digital correction in menu
  • RGBRGB filter wheel colours, 120% Rec.709 support, HDR10 and HLG support
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet
  • 3 x HDMI 2.0 (one with 1.4a 3D support) / 3 x USB (with power, without service) / SPDIF audio output, minijack / Ethernet RJ-45
  • 2x19W NuForce built-in soundbar / Dolby Digital 2.0 / subwoofer support
  • Can be used as a Bluetooth speaker
  • additional functions of image liquidator, Android 8.0 platform with Aptoide app shop
  • image transfer functions from smartphones with Android and iOS
  • information board, lens cover detection, cooperation with Google assistant, Amazon Echo, IFTTT, Kensington lock
  • operating volume 26 – 28 dB(A)
  • dimensions / weight 576 x 383 x 130 mm / 11 kg
  • price £2800

Optoma Cinemax P2 – it’s not a small projector, but will fit on an IKEA Lack table
To clarify, it should be mentioned that Optoma Cinemax P2 is not a small projector. Its dimensions are 576 x 383 x 129.7mm and its weight is 10.5kg. However, it won’t bother us if it’s placed in the middle of a room, and you don’t even have to hang it from the ceiling to let it “disappear” from the living room or any room. We can install Cinemax P2 in any room where the wall allows you to display an 85-inch image and there is space for a small table underneath (the IKEA Lack fits into contact and there is space at the front for a disc, for example).

You can’t project a smaller picture because it’s a diagonal that’s practically possible with the projector facing the wall. At the sides and front, you need to give it about 50 cm of space for proper ventilation.

I decided to move it a dozen or so cm away from the wall to get a beautiful 100-inch picture. In this manual, we will read that the maximum suggested diagonal is about 120 inches, but you can get an even bigger picture by moving the projector away from the wall even further.

Only in this case, it will no longer be so impeccable. But, let us think about it. Who of you has a 120-inch TV at home and realises how big the picture is. I already felt like in a small cinema with a diagonal of 100 inches viewed from a distance of about 4 meters. Because it is the cinema and films that are the most popular here. Except that Cinemax P2 is not only an ultra-short throw projector.

How beautiful – a projector and soundbar in one

The NuForce Soundbar is compatible with Dolby Digital 2.0 and can work as a standalone and good Bluetooth speaker if required. Simply turn off the projector by activating the audio mode and you can enjoy the music without any additional image. That’s why I look at the Cinemax P2 differently from those ultra-short-throw projectors where the speakers immediately ask for additional support.

Optoma can play very loudly (a set of two full-range and two tweeters has a total power of 38W) and you won’t feel it integrated into your audio projector. If you run out of bass, you can always connect an external subwoofer to the projector and get an audio message for your stomach. In the menu, you will find some sound character settings, but I left the Auto option. There is also a built-in speaker delay option (-50 to 50ms), it is a pity that this option is not available for Bluetooth devices connected to the projector (for example headphones).

Optoma Cinemax P2 side connector

The whole projector is made of high quality white semi-matt plastic, on the left and right side it has ventilation holes, on the front the mentioned soundbar is covered with grey beige material and on the back a large set of connectors.

Connectors in the projector – everything you need on-site

What is not here – two HDMI ports on the back panel (the third one is on the right side of the casing), USB connectors accompanying these ports to power a possibly connected computer or a player in the form of an HDMI key, or to connect a standalone disk or a media storage device (Cinemax plays not only movies and photos, but also Office files, Adobe PDF documents and handles it very well). There is also a digital SPDIF audio output, a simple minijack port for speakers or an external subwoofer, and an Ethernet port for remote projector management.

Because we can connect this projector to the network not only by wireless means but if we have such expectations and wired. In certain circumstances, wired data transfer may turn out to be more effective, and yet it is a 4K projector.

There is also a connector for power supply and a Kensington viaduct if we would like to place this projector in a place from where it could fly away with someone’s help. And I admit that I immediately thought of this projector as an interesting installation device. Not so much for the sake of brightness, but for the sake of convenience.

On the back wall, just like on the sides of the case, we have a mesh to facilitate ventilation of the internal display mechanism. The Optoma Cinemax P2 is a laser projector that offers a declared brightness of 3000 ANSI lumens and uses DLP technology for projection. The image is projected through a reflection from the mirror which is obscured by protective glass.

I am a person who cares about such devices, but perhaps one day the manufacturer will think about extra protection for example when a cat is visiting, curious about the light coming out of the interior. At this point, it is worth mentioning that the projector has a light sensor which, if the light beam is obscured, significantly reduces its intensity so as not to dazzle us.

It is quiet, very quiet

In the case of home cinema projectors, as well as multimedia projectors, attention is always paid to the volume of work. In this respect, one should only praise the Optoma Cinemax P2. The noise is very quiet but compared to what many projectors can do. In the category of silence, I appreciate the Sony brand, but here, too, Optoma has stood up to the challenge. Even at maximum brightness or with HDR mode on.

Thanks to this, we can watch films with a very quiet soundtrack without losing anything from the idea of the director and composer.

Remote control is also included with the projector. It did not turn out to be as useful as I expected, but it is not the pilot’s fault. I also found a measure to make it easier to position the projector against the wall for a given image diagonal.

Installing Optoma Cinemax P2 – with an ultra-short throw is a big challenge

For many projectors, one possible orientation is when the projector is suspended from the ceiling. In this case, it is best to place the projector on a table, as this is the only way to make the most of its advantages. The projector can work either by projecting the image on the screen from the front (behind the projector) or from the back (in front of the projector). In the latter case, there will be no obstacles between the viewer and the screen unless we place them there ourselves.

Accurate levelling and straightening out of the screen is very important with Cinemax P2. Even the slightest deviation from perfectly straight angles will result in noticeable image distortion. First try to position the projector well on a table, move it away from the projector and then level it with either the table’s feet or the projector’s feet on the speaker side. If this does not help, there is a Geometry Correction submenu in the projector menu. Here we will correct the position of not only the corners of the image but also the inner node points of the image grid to fit the display to less flat surfaces.

Despite these options, it would be worthwhile for the screen to be as flat as possible, i.e. either a rigid screen or a wall. Ideally, this wall should be painted with so-called projector paint to improve light reflectivity.

Of course, it is also possible to display the image on a wall that is grey or deviates strongly from the white colour, but the menu lacks the option of colour correction in this respect. The grey wall is the least of the problems. I used such a wall (apart from the screen) and it did not interfere at all with the pleasant reception of colours.

For the picture to be sharp, the screen must be perfectly flat

If you have a drop-down screen, get ready for a little shock. First of all, it has to be at least 85″ diagonal, secondly, if the screen is already a bit worn out and hanging out a little bit, it’s not comfortable to watch. You may not even be aware of this fact if you have used a screen with a standard or long-throw projector so far because in these cases the slight waving of the screen hardly affects the geometry of the image.

The wall is theoretically the flattest surface we have at hand at home, and yet even in its case there may be irregularities which the projector mercilessly highlights on the test image

If you want to know exactly how far you need to place the projector (the back of the projector, the ones with connectors) from the screen, there are a few most important values below. The image is displayed several tens of cm above the installation plane

85 inches – 15 cm distance,
100 inches – 23 cm distance,
120 inches – 34 cm distance.
The last step is to focus on. This is best done with the on-screen menu enabled or when the geometric shape is displayed. Sharpening the film image will be ineffective. To do this, select Focus from the menu or press the bottom right button on the remote control for a few seconds. Sharpening information appears and the left-right buttons adjust the focus.

The projector does not show any auxiliary value in this case, so it is a little on the feel. However, you will quickly see in which direction to focus. Even a small change of focus will result in a huge change in the image. During the sharpening process, you can also see whether the projector has been positioned correctly in relation to the screen.

Despite the advanced distortion correction option, which allows you to compensate for trapezoidal but also barrel, cushion, cylindrical and spherical distortion, it is recommended that the image is projected straight ahead.

A remote control, because there is only one button on the casing

The remote control attached to the projector operates in two modes. Infrared (IR) or Bluetooth. This is determined by the standby mode in which you leave the projector. If this is the SmartHome mode, which allows you to wake up the projector remotely via commands from your smart devices, the remote control will communicate immediately via Bluetooth. If we have chosen Eco mode, which is standard standby, the remote control will first send an infrared signal.

Using a remote control is very similar to the remote controls that come with devices such as the Mi Box or Chromecast or other Smart TV set-top boxes. From time to time it needs to be charged via USB. It is absolutely necessary because we only have the power button on the projector. Some buttons on the remote control are dual-function, for example, a home screen button pressed for a long time activates the gyro mouse mode.

Optoma Cinemax P2 – start up the projector

When the projector is set, it is time to turn it on. After a few seconds, the manufacturer’s logo and the English text See more, Hear more will appear, and after another few seconds the image will appear depending on the selected input and the connected image source. This is important because the projector can either display an image from the outside of its own home screen. At this point the real fun begins, but also some stairs appear.

Optoma Cinemax P2 projector menu

They concern the intuitiveness of the projector’s main menu. Once you have mastered them, it will not cause you any problems, but at the very beginning, you may think that there are no options at all. Fortunately, there is everything you need for an entertainment projector, including HDR and HLG (for a wide dynamic range picture), colour correction options, dynamic black functions and brightness levels. There is also a TV theatre or PureMotion function. I don’t like it very much, but I have to admit that Optoma is doing quite well in this respect.

The projector is able to accept and display a 4K image at 60 fps. If this is not the case, which is easy to see in Netflix, for example, which does not signal the availability of 4K content, then we probably had the EDID option for the HDMI port set to 1.4 rather than 2.0.

In the case of Optoma Cinemax P2, we can count on 4K or 4K HDR support in Netflix. In the latter case, there is only the HDR icon

I wrote that the projector displays an image from a selected HDMI port to which a computer is connected (then we have a huge screen), a video player or other device. This may end up being necessary, but it is important to note that Optoma Cinemax P2 is intended to be standalone. 

Not enough applications, but there is light in the tunnel

Onboard was the Android system, which enables the work of applications installed from the Aptoide TV shop or from an external carrier. Using the projector in this mode is similar to working with an Android TV or the popular Xiaomi Mi Box. Unfortunately, a serious clash is the poorly implemented Aptoide TV platform. Only a few useful applications can be installed from the Marketplace, which is integrated with the system. For example, Netflix works only in SD mode and only very good scaling up of the resolution up by the projector saves the situation.

Fortunately, we are not at a loss, but this requires the connection of an external image source. It can be a movie drive, then a practical built-in media player will come in handy, or it can be the mentioned Xiaomi Mi Box, which will expand its wings giving us a 4K and HDR image if the application allows it. This spoils the completeness of the projector a little, but it also seems to take a little to be lucky.

Only the goodwill of programmers who will correct the mistakes. I was able to install the latest Netflix from the network on the projector, but every attempt to run it ended with a message about incompatibility. It was similar to HBO GO. The Amazon Prime TV application did not cause problems.

Being in the projector’s desktop mode we have access to the second menu, the more Android one. It is here that we will configure Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other details, as well as search for possible software updates.

From here, we will also select the input source and run two tools. The first one is InfoWall, which is an information screen that turns the projector into a summary display of our day. For the time being, there are not many options, but if you like the video in the background to be accompanied by information such as a task list or weather forecast, this is the way. The second tool is TapCast. It helps to turn your projector into a Chromecast equivalent and stream content directly onto the projector.

In this way, I could wirelessly display the image from my computer (not only the browser tab, but the whole desktop), but it was possible after installing the TapCast application even on Huawei smartphones with HMS, which, as you know, do not cope with sending content to Chromecast.

Optoma Cinemax P2 can also become part of a home Intelligent IoT system managed by Google Assistant, Amazon Alex or IFTTT. In turn, we will connect a keyboard and a mouse to the USB ports, which in theory, combined with appropriate applications, will turn the projector into a simple computer for the Internet and multimedia. We have web browser software as standard. For this reason, I regret that Aptoide TV works below expectations. But I am waiting with hope.

Optoma Cinemax P2 browser

Meanwhile, as long as I was watching movies and photos from the disk, the projector remote control was very useful. However, when I switched to Netflix 4K and HDR movies, it was boring on the table and the remote control from the player hit my hand. Apart from that, the way the Optoma Cinemax P2 displays the image deserves praise and overshadows the problem with the applications.

Image display technology

Maximum display resolution is provided by a 0.47-inch DLP XPR chip. In this way, thanks to displacement technology (XPR), the chip with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels is able to display a high-quality image of 3840 x 2160 pixels. Such a high resolution encourages the launch of games on the projector but does not go hand-in-hand with the super low latency that can sometimes be experienced in game mode. Of course, I did not deny myself a moment with the world of Cyberpunk 2077, which, despite its shortcomings, delighted me by filling almost the entire wall of the room.

It is worth taking care of the cleanliness of the glass protecting the internal optics. The dust that collects on it does not significantly degrade the image quality but makes it difficult to use the full potential of the projector.

The service life of a light source is up to 30,000 hours, which will meet the requirements of even the fans of film marathons. Optoma Cinemax P2 uses a blue laser with a yellow phosphor circle for white light and DLP technology with an RGBRGB colour filter circle takes care of the correct colours of the image. The projector can handle a wider colour space than REC.709 but is also unable to accurately reproduce the DCI-P3 space. Nevertheless, the richness of colours and, what surprised me, not tarry blacks, but rich in detail shadows, make watching films a pure pleasure.

Optoma Cinemax P2 – the image and experience in practice

When the Optoma Cinemax P2 is fed with high-quality film footage, the projector will return the favour:

  • great colours right out of the box,
  • retail shadows, even if we are watching films with little outside light,
  • the sharp, bright and saturated image also in colours, although it is only DLP with a single chip.

Usually, the bigger the screen, the more we see on the film and hence the impression that we are watching it as if we are watching it again. Thanks to Cinemax P2 I could not only enjoy the large scale, but also the mentioned picture detail. It was best for 4K films with HDR, but even SD content gains a lot from being projected by this projector. The better the recording the more.

Optoma Cinemax P2 does best in a room without additional lighting, but the brightness of the projector is so high that even glowing lights will not spoil the screening. This allows us to use the projector as a typical home cinema screening equipment, but also as a multimedia and entertainment product when more than one person wants to enjoy the picture.

Subjectively, in the case of the content without HDR, which allowed the selection of the display mode, Cinema mode and HDR Sim mode worked best, where even old productions took on a new life.

The measured brightness of white is for the most important modes:

  • Cinema – 1700 lumens,
  • HDR Sim – 2000 lumens (sufficient to watch movies even in slightly lit rooms),
  • Game – 2000 lumens,
  • Reference – 1300 lumens (works well, in a darkened place prepared for film entertainment),
  • Bright – about 3000 lumens (declared brightness by the manufacturer).
  • Image customisation options in Optoma Cinemax P2

In the menu of the projector, we have a number of options to adjust the image to suit not only the environment but also the projected image, so that you can enjoy the pleasure of watching as little as possible. It happens that some films are generally very bright, others are very dark and still, others are very contrasting.

Optoma Cinemax P2 video modes

When the signal does not contain HDR data, HDR and HLG options remain inactive

Adjusting the image to your preference settings or our own tastes is helpful:

display modes: Cinema, HDR (only when the signal is HDR), HLG (only for HLG content), HDR Sim (HDR simulation, selectable manually), Game, Reference, Bright, User and 3D (ISF calibration can also be used when activated),
For HDR and HLG we can set a different effect power to emphasise Brightness, Balance (Standard), Film quality (Film) or Detail – it is best to check for yourself which setting fits you,
The Pure Motion Fluidiser has four settings, off and three effect levels,
Brightness can be adjusted for each display mode, there is also a Brightness Mode menu, where we have three Dynamic Black modes (for different contrast levels of scenes) and 11 lamp power settings from 100 to 50%.
Summary – one hundred inches of pleasure for the eye and for the ear
This is not the first time I have said this, but if the projector goes home, I think it is best to have an ultra-short throw. The problem is that in order for such a projector to guarantee high image quality, it cannot be a cheap device. It is, after all, difficult to find such projectors on the lower shelf. Especially if they offer 4K resolution and have a built-in soundbar.

Optoma Cinemax P2 top view pilot

Optoma Cinemax P2 costs about GBP 3 thousand. A lot, but let’s look for TVs at that price. Yes, you will certainly notice that it is not much more expensive to have a real 8K. Only that with a diagonal of 65 inches. Meanwhile, 4K is still in the price, and Optoma will display this resolution on an 85-inch, 100-inch and a larger screen.

The Optoma Cinemax P2 retains the best of the projectors, a very large diagonal image, combining it with the convenience of a TV.

A hundred inch TV set, unless it is a layer glued to the wall, will already be a large and inconvenient construction. And the Optoma Cinemax P2 is just placed against the wall and you can enjoy the picture. The stylistically attractive casing, combined with an integrated soundbar, completes the image of a home entertainment centre. It is a pity that the Aptoide TV platform has failed, but I hope that it can be repaired faster than it would have been in the case of hardware shortages.

Optoma Cinemax P2 – is this projector worth buying?

If your goal is a very large image, great 4K with HDR and installation convenience combined with an attractive design, the Optoma Cinemax P2 projector deserves our recommendation. Those who decide to buy this projector will surely be satisfied.

The Optoma Cinemax P2 projector pros

  • very good quality 4K and HDR/HLG images,
  • It handles contrasting scenes well,
  • Shadows rich in detail,
  • wide range of displayed colours,
  • does not require far-reaching adjustments when taken out of the box,
  • efficient movement fluidizer,
  • very quiet work,
  • a built-in NuForce soundbar that can be used as a BT speaker on its own,
  • It can be placed just below the wall/screen,
  • Extensive image distortion correction options,
  • built-in media content player/Office/PDF, web browser,
  • convenient transfer of content from any computer or phone,
  • can be part of a home IoT system,
  • The Android system allows you to connect your keyboard and mouse,
  • attractive design to suit every type of room.

 The Optoma Cinemax P2 projector cons

  • Applications available through the built-in Aptoide platform are of little use,
  • not very intuitive setting menu in the projector,
  • requires very precise adjustment to the screen

 

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