Performance
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Mobile Presentation
Optoma ML500 Projector Optoma ML500
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3000:1 Contrast Ratio
500 Lumens
PC 3D Ready
Street Price: n/a
$1,199 MSRP

Optoma ML500 LED Projector Review

Marc Davidson, February 14, 2012

The DLP-based Optoma ML500 is part of a new generation of long-life LED projectors. At 2.5 pounds, it's slightly heavier than the heaviest pocket projectors, but it boosts brightness the next step up the ladder, to a rated 500 lumens. It also ups the ante on claimed native resolution, to a widescreen 1280x800.

Despite being too big and heavy for a pocket, the ML500 is light enough to serve as a constant traveling companion and small enough to fit in a briefcase. And because it can read files from internal memory, SD cards, or USB memory keys, you can lighten the load even further by leaving your computer or other image source at home.

If you must use an external source, the ML500 offers the convenience of full size, standard connectors, making setup much easier than with pocket projectors that depend on proprietary connectors plus adaptors. Just put the projector in place, connect the cables, and focus the image.

Another nice touch is that there's no power block to worry about, so there's no hidden additional size and weight. The 2.5-pound projector plus the power cord is all you need to carry to have a capable business projector at hand -- and one that's noticeably brighter than any pocket projector as well, for not much more, at $649 street price.

Review Contents: Overview Key Features Test Results Limitations and Conclusion
 

Reader Comments(15 comments)

Posted May 18, 2013 2:01:24 PM

By Bill

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I do not understand this, You can plug all of your PS3, dvd, blue ray, cable box into a receiver with HDMI and then 1 HDMI to the projector can't you???

Posted May 9, 2013 6:27:58 AM

By johnp

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The acer k330 is definitely NOT LED lit. It uses a 5000hr lamp, not 20K-30K LEDs, which is the key difference for these two devices, IMHO.

Posted Nov 22, 2012 2:46:58 AM

By Biggles

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Just received this wonderful piece of kit. Brightness is very good - even in a well lit room it will produce a good 2m diagonal picture, and in a dark room you can get a much larger, very acceptable, picture. Pushing the Brighness value up from the preset 50% level does not work well as the blacks simply grey out and the Contrast setting will not cure this but the default 50% values work very well. Picture quality is excellent and small text in a PowerPoint slide show can be read with ease. Colours are a little saturated but can be trimmed if required in the main 'Settings' menu. Automatic 'Keystone' adjustment works very well but needs to have the basic 'G Sensor Calibration' tweaked. To get to this adjustment you need to press the following keys in order (no information on this in the manual!): Power - Left Arrow - Left Arrow - Enter (central button) and an engineering menu appears. I have set my calibration to -6 and the picture is squared perfectly when the projector is tilted. This menu also has the option to do a factory reset if you mess up! Basically, I highly recommend this projector for the travelling business man.

Posted Sep 10, 2012 4:10:21 AM

By Joe

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The Acer K330 is definitely a LED-based device.

Posted Aug 31, 2012 1:19:25 AM

By Parthiban S

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I watch that the colour is changing constantly.Plz notice & reply.

Posted Aug 29, 2012 1:49:28 PM

By DanO

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Response to davidm: The Acer K330 is not an LED-based system

Posted Aug 16, 2012 5:03:20 AM

By Rakesh

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Prof. Pillai could you kindly tell (a) At what price you got the ML 500; (b) Dealer or manufacturer guarantee? (c) Your experience of watching full-length movies.

I am located in New Delhi and need a projector just to watch movies in the weekend. I am undecided between ML 500 and Benq Joybee GP2.

Regards.

Posted Jul 18, 2012 9:51:21 AM

By Prof.Ravi K Pillai

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I am from Kerala,India.Thanks a lot for your review.Last day I purchased this projector from a vendor at Cochin. This is an excellent device.You can use it as a data projector as well as for watching movies.Since the lamp being an LED, 500ANSI is more than enough.I recommend this projector.

Posted Jun 4, 2012 2:22:18 PM

By jasands50

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I have been looking for a new projector and now that I have read all the great reviews on this one, its the one I am ordering. The sound don't bother me because it all comes out of my Bose V20 system.

Posted May 4, 2012 12:43:39 PM

By RussR

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Also, To comment on the noise level.....36 db should be hardly noticeable. I won't form an opinion on this until I pick my ML500 up today, however here is a good link if you're curious what 36db sounds like. http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Technical/Sounds/Decibles.htm I'm sure it would be noticeable in quiet parts of movies etc. But otherwise I can't imagine it would be very bothersome as most people watch movies between 60 and 65 db. If you're in a theater setting it is probably more like 75-80.

Posted May 4, 2012 12:35:18 PM

By RussR

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I'll be picking up my ML500 from Best Buy today and will post the results.

I have to say that I don't quite understand why people are so upset about there being no Audio output. For me at least, I'll be running video out of my computer HDMI and probably PS3 and 360 as well. It makes way more sense to send the audio direct to your system, rather than through the projector and back out again. A sound system is only as good as the weakest link in it. If you have an expensive system, I guarantee 100% of all projectors in this price range have MUCH worse internal components than your system does. You want to run your audio through as few circuits as possible.

If your sound system is decent it should be able to allow you to plug in everything you want to use(PC audio, Xbox, PS3 etc) at the same time. Run the HDMI to the projector, and run your audio straight out of the source into your sound system. This should yield the best results in any scenario.

FYI for those that don't understand where I'm coming from...Yes audio travels down HDMI, but most video game consoles out there should allow you to send the audio separate from HDMI(I do this with my 360 because I want it hooked up to my M-Audio Project Mix which requires a 1/4" input). Your PC acts the same way. I currently have it hooked up to my 47" TV for the display but I hate my TV speakers so I run the Audio into my Project Mix as well.

My only apprehension is that there is only one HDMI port. I'm as lazy as the next guy and don't want to have to switch out my input source every time I want to play a game/watch a movie on my PC etc.

Posted Mar 17, 2012 9:06:19 PM

By alexandre oliveira

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bad focus , bad lens

Posted Feb 24, 2012 4:18:07 PM

By backstudio

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The absence of a sound out function is a serious lack in this projector. The sound quality is pretty dreadful for anything but short presentations. It will also not project onto the ground or ceiling without distortion. For me the worst thing about it is the noise - it's noisier than my big home theatre projector and in a quiet room can become pretty annoying if you're projecting without sound.

Posted Feb 21, 2012 5:32:59 PM

By Kyle

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We use this as a replacement for a TV basically and it's very useable. Watching a full length movie without being distracted by any image issues is no problem. I'd highly recommend this projector(or one of the other 3 clones) for anyone else like myself that is just getting into projectors and doesn't want to deal with the extra hassle and cost of lamps.

Posted Feb 14, 2012 5:18:04 PM

By davidm

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The Acer K330 seems nearly identical, but it has an audio-out jack, which is very useful when you're feeding an HDMI signal to the projector but still want audio to go to a better sound system.

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