We live in a world where we have various forms of entertainment. From our game consoles to different streaming services, it is important that you have a TV or something to project those things.
And, while Android TVs are getting cheaper and cheaper, what better way to up your home theater system than to use a short-throw projector.
This article will center around the Optoma CinemaX P1 review. Read further to find out why this short-throw projector is worth the money.
What is It?
The Optoma CinemaX P1 is a short-throw projector that is quite competitive and has all of the features that you want if you are thinking about improving your home theater experience.
For those of you who do not know, short-throw projectors are the kind of projectors that are able to emit up to 100 inches of content and the reason why they are called as such is due to the fact that it can only do that if it is within 15 feet from the wall or an ALR screen.
There are many ways to use a projector. You can either use a white wall or you can use what is known as an ALR screen or an Ambient Light Rejection display. The latter is better if you have ambient light surrounding the area of the projector since the said screen will limit the amount of light that may hinder the content that comes from the source.
Anyway, why would you need a short-throw projector? Well, that is because you want to enjoy entertainment on a much bigger screen or platform and projectors are able to showcase that.
So long as you have a flat surface or an ALR screen bigger than an Android TV, that is going to provide you with the best cinematic experience ever.
And, you are not limited to using its built-in software since you can use an Amazon Fire stick, a game console like the upcoming Playstation 5, and many others.
With its $3,399 asking price, the Optoma CinemaX P1 is not cheap. Thankfully, the price translates to its robust build quality, so I do not have complaints about it.
This short-throw projector has a predominantly black color with some gold accents. It has dimensions of 22.1 x 5.1 x 15 inches and although it might seem big, it is unnoticeable when you put it on a desk or somewhere near your screen or wall.
Because this projector can run hot, you will find air vents situated on the sides. It is also worth noting that the device comes with built-in fans to keep the temperature in check.
At the front, you will find a fabric cover for the speakers, and a little bit on the right side, you will find an HDMI 2.0 port that you can use to plug in your game consoles or whatnot.
Looking at the back portion of the projector, you will find a slew of different ports. Here, you can find two additional HDMI 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port if you do not want to use the built-in WiFi card, AUX ports and S/PDIF port for your external sound system, and you can also find USB ports as well.
You can plug your external hard drive into the USB ports so that you can have your media content streamed directly from the projector itself.
The included remote control is easy to use, though I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the menus and different settings since you are going to need them when you are going to set things up.
The Optoma CinemaX P1 makes use of the Texas Instruments 4K DLP chip which can also be found in other premium projectors on the market.
Since projectors of any type would need a light source to display an image, this device uses laser phosphor as opposed to an LED light bulb.
What that means is that you not only have a pretty bright light source but it can also withstand long hours of use. Theoretically, the said laser technology should last up to 10 years of use, considering that you are going to utilize the unit for 8 hours a day.
The aforementioned Texas Instruments chip, despite its capability of projecting 4K-like image quality, is natively in Full HD resolution. That means that, by default, the video that will output to the wall or a screen is 1080p.
Now, I did say that it can project “4K-like” video quality and that is because the projector makes use of what is known as Pixel Shifting that essentially lets the device emit four times the regular pixel density. In other words, you get nearly 4K quality content streamed from the projector itself.
Because short-throw projectors need to be positioned almost near to the wall or screen, the Optoma CinemaX P1 makes use of a high-performance glass lens.
The reason why the company did that is to make sure that the pre-distorted images (inherent in short-throw projectors) will remain of high quality once the image is shown on the canvas. This means that even if it is too close to the wall, the quality should remain consistent at either 1080p or 4K.
Bear in mind that the Optoma CinemaX P1 is meant to project things on a flat surface (i.e. wall) or an ALR screen. For the best results, I suggest the latter, though you might have to spend more money to get one.
The reason why ALR screens are better when it comes to using a projector is that the screen itself blocks out ambient light, thus only showcasing you the images or movies that you truly want.
If you are planning to use a motorized screen, I suggest that you do not do so because the creases (that are common in such) might distort the images even further and may not provide the best possible viewing experience.
Ideally, you want to put the projector 4-15 feet away from the wall or the ALR screen. This is to ensure that the image that is projected is ideal to fit on the canvas. It also comes with a ‘SmartFIT’ feature that automatically adjusts its projection based on the canvas you choose to use so that the image is displayed correctly.
The Optoma CinemaX P1 is capable of reaching 3,000 lumen of brightness, so you may want to adjust that if you are using a flat surface instead of an ALR display.
When you fire up the projector for the first time, you will have to manually adjust the color settings to your liking. I know that this can is cumbersome, but you only really need to set it once anyway.
The remote control is very easy and intuitive so you should not run into any problems when using it.
Anyway, while the Optoma CinemaX P1 can make use of an internet connection (either using its built-in WiFi card or ethernet port), it would still be best if you use a streaming box instead.
The reason is that all supported apps within the device are subpar at best. What I mean is that the user experience is not going to be good, so I suggest using your phone, game console, or streaming box.
If you are going to use a phone, there will be a companion app that you can download so that you can stream content directly from your mobile device.
You might also want to put your own external sound system in. While the built-in speakers are pretty good, its bass response leaves much to be desired.
The performance of the Optoma CinemaX P1 is actually pretty good. It is able to reach 87% of the color gamut using DCI-P3 which means that the picture quality is going to be mostly color accurate.
After updating the device’s firmware, I was able to use it to install Netflix and I use the streaming platform as my testing ground. Since there is some HDR content found on the streaming service, I can test the projector’s HDR performance as well.
While you can use its standard configuration, enabling its HDR feature and streaming content that is able to use the technology, the pictures just pop out and come to life.
Pictures are vibrant and punchy and you can really tell that everything is color accurate. Just to be clear, while it supports HDR10, it cannot support Samsung’s HDR10+ or Dolby Vision because both of these technologies aren’t supported by any projector found on the market today.
Depending on the ambient light in the room you are in, you should adjust the brightness setting accordingly to get the most out of the projected content.
When it comes to picture quality, I can say that it is really good, especially if you are watching content in HDR.
Optoma acquired the sound company, NuForce, back in 2014. That is why the projector comes with NuForce speakers and I am pleasantly surprised by how well it performs.
When it comes to highs and mids, the built-in speakers definitely do not disappoint and the bass response is quite respectable as well.
However, people that want a boomier sound should look into attaching their own cinema soundbars or external sound system.
Fortunately, it is quite easy for you to use your own sound system thanks to the AUX and S/PDIF outputs found on the back of the device.
What can I say about the Optoma CinemaX P1? Well, for $3,399, you get a short-throw projector that showcases HDR10 content really well.
The colors are vibrant and punchy and the images themselves are really amazing to look at, provided that you project it on a really flat surface or an ALR screen.
You are able to use your game console, streaming box, or you can even install applications from within the projector itself.
Really, for a mid-range projector such as this one, the Optoma CinemaX P1 is definitely worth the money.
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.
You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.
That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!
For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.
The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.
Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.
With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.
For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.
On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.
At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.
Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.
If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.
This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.
Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.
Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.
To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.
The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.
On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.
It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.
However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.
Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.
The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.
Best Tech Deals in October 2020
Technology is always going to be there to help improve our lives. We at Startechnews will provide you with some of the best tech deals every month and today, I am going to be talking about some of the products that have received good price cuts.
Although Black Friday happens in the same month, most of these deals will not be a part of that special day.
Anyway, here are some of the best tech deals in October:
Best Tech Deals in October
1.Apple iPhone XR
Price: $550 (was $599) @BestBuy
If you are fond of using any devices under the iOS ecosystem, then I highly recommend that you get your hands on this Apple iPhone XR deal.
Yes, I know that this device is dated at this point but its specs, as well as its overall performance, are still really good in this day and age.
What I love about iPhones, in general, is that their Bionic chips outmatch the performance of any flagship Android device released in the same year, so you can rest assured that the XR can still be good for at least 2-3 years from now.
That being said, if you are okay with this, you can get head on over to Best Buy to get yours.
Lastly, if you have an old iPhone, you can also surrender that and get even more discounts as well!
2.Amazon Echo Dot
Price: $39.99 (was $49.99) @Amazon
The Amazon Echo Studio is always going to be the best in terms of Amazon’s line of Bluetooth speakers, but there are people who are okay with the convenience and the form factor of the company’s Echo Dot line.
The Amazon Echo Dot is currently sold for just $39.99 and although it is just a $10 discount, it is still pretty good nonetheless.
One of the reasons why I highly recommend that you get one for yourself is that you can actually use Alexa to help you do a lot of different things.
If you are following some sports teams, for example, you can ask Alexa to search for scores and any news about the teams that you are truly passionate about.
The device’s always-on microphone is there to take your voice commands and Alexa will do the rest for you.
Although it is relatively okay as an audio solution, there is more value when it comes to using its ‘smart’ features.
Price: $275 (was $299) @Amazon
The Nintendo Switch is considered to be one of the company’s best gaming consoles yet. The beauty about this particular game console is that you can either play it as-is (handheld) or you can wire it to your TV via HDMI to enjoy your games at a higher fidelity screen.
This deal is for the new version of the Nintendo Switch that aims to fix the joycon drift issue that has plagued the first version of the console and it has a bigger battery life so that you can play untethered for a longer period of time.
You can buy the discounted Nintendo Switch at Amazon.
4.Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro
Price: $199.95 (was $299.99) @BestBuy
The Beats by Dre Solo Pro is a really good pair of wireless headphones that have active noise canceling. Although you might not like its on-ear design, this pair of cans is still quite comfortable to use for hours.
You get a lot of different color options to choose from and its ergonomic design allows you to use these headphones without any issues.
The Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro currently retails at a discounted price of $199.95 down from $299.99. If you are a fan of the brand or just for good Bluetooth headphones, in general, this is a really good choice.
5.Apple Airpods Pro
Price: $219 (was $249) @Amazon
The Apple Airpods Pro needs no introduction. It is one of the best Bluetooth headphones that you can buy not only for your iPhone but also for your other mobile devices as well.
Part of the reason why so many people love this particular product is due to its active noise-canceling feature. Normally, you can only expect great performance if you are using over-ear headphones, but not the Airpods Pro.
Its active noise-cancellation is really good because it shows you a warning that you shouldn’t enable the feature when you are walking on a busy street. It is really that effective.
It has consistently been compared to other Bluetooth audio solutions on the market, but nothing compares to it unless, of course, if you are talking about high-end over-ear solutions.
If you are interested in getting your hands in an Apple Airpods Pro, you can head over to Amazon to purchase this thing for only $219.
Price: $229 (was $329)
If you want to get your hands on an Android TV that is really good and it doesn’t break the bank, then I suggest that you look at the TCL 43S425.
This is a 43-inch 4K TV that has the famous Roku operating system built-in. That means that you can enjoy a ton of different features, movies, and TV shows without ever having to download any application to do those things.
Although TCL is a relatively new brand in the US, you can rest assured that the build quality and the materials that are used in the making of these television sets are of high-quality.
7.Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Price: $229 (was $279) @Amazon
We considered the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 as one of the best smartwatches for Android and even though it is a year and a half old at this point, it is still pretty good regardless.
You are looking at a smartwatch with great build quality and you can use this no matter what activities you are going to do.
Its battery life is okay, though not that great. The good thing is that you can top this device up quickly and easily using its included charger.
If you want a smartwatch that allows you to track your physical activity really well, get this product as soon as possible.
8.Bose QC 35 II Wireless
Price: $239 (was $349)
Consistently regarded as one of the best Bluetooth headphones for quite some time now, the Bose QC 35 II Wireless is great both in terms of comfort and sound quality.
Although its overall performance does not rival that of the company’s higher-end models, this is not to downplay whatever this thing is offering because it still provides you with some really amazing features- one of which is its award-winning active noise-canceling capability.
You should get the Bose 35 II Wireless right now because you can have the chance to get a limited edition Rose-Gold color if you order this month.
Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade
When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.
There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.
You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.
Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.
Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.
There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.
Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.
The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.
You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).
What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.
Specs and Performance
- CPU: A12 Bionic
- GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB/128GB
- Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
- OS: iPadOS 14
- Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
- Battery: 32.4 Wh
So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.
While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.
Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.
Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games.
Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.
It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.
Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.
However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.
My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.
If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.
The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.
Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Best Tech Deals in October 2020
Best Laptop Deals in October 2020
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