Optoma DS322 SVGA DLP Projector
Projector Central Highly Recommended Award

Highly Recommended Award

Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.

  • Performance
  • 4
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value

The Optoma DS322 delivers a bright, color rich, low resolution (800x600) picture for less than $350. Suitable for the classroom, conference room, or as a portable projector, it is quick to setup and easy to use thanks to a simple design and basic feature set. This DLP projector features a maintenance free design and long lamp life in both normal and ECO modes. While the DS322 does not have many advanced features and has limited placement flexibility, its brightness will accommodate ambient light and produce a quality image in different environments.

Applications

The DS322 is best used for the display of static or presentation based material at screen sizes up to 90" diagonal. The 800x600 native resolution limits the ability of the projector to display fine detail from high resolution pictures and the limited number of pixels can result in a visible screen door effect on large size screens. However, the majority of PowerPoint based content does not need high resolution display, and this projector's resolution is more than capable of displaying clear and readable 8 point font. The visibility of the screen door effect can be reduced by increasing the viewing distance or opting for a smaller screen size. If you view at a distance of at least two times the screen width, you will eliminate pixel visibility and allow the DS322 to display a solid and continuous image.

At under 5 lbs., the projector is small and easy to carry. Its footprint is about the size of a standard sheet of paper (11.25"x7.5"), and it is under 4 inches in height. The soft carry case that comes with it provides protection during movement and contains a zippered front pouch for storage of cables and the remote control.

Once powered on, the DS322 reaches full brightness quickly and automatically scans all inputs for the active signal. The projector does not include an auto-keystone function, but dedicated remote control keys are included on the remote. Keystone scaling produced an acceptably clear image, with small font text clearly defined even when the keystone was adjusted to maximum levels.

 

Advantages

Sharpness: The projector exhibits excellent edge to edge sharpness across the entire image width. Under close inspection, pixel edges are clearly visible and no chromatic aberration was noted. Additionally, the DS322 has perfect convergence of red, green and blue image color components (due to the single chip DLP design) which contributes to the overall pin-sharp image quality.

Brightness:The measured brightness of our test sample in high lamp mode was 2,262 lumens or almost 90% of the 2,600 lumen specification. Switching to low or ECO lamp mode drops brightness by 17% to 1,876 lumens. Brightness uniformity was a high 86% making brightness variation across the screen visually undetectable.

Low Start-Up and Operating Cost: The Optoma DS322 has an MSRP of $349 and can be found discounted from this price at reputable on-line retailers. Operating cost for this projector is also low due to long lamp life, low replacement lamp costs and a filter-free design. Optoma specifies the bulb life as 5,000 hours in high and 6,000 hours in normal or ECO mode. Additionally, replacement bulbs can be found on-line for under $200. With a 5,000 hour lamp life and no required filter maintenance, the DS322 can run 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 2.4 years until any maintenance or additional investment is needed.

Color Performance: The default BrilliantColor setting works well for presentation based material with a basic color scheme. BrilliantColor accentuates the difference between light and dark colors without washing out dark areas or eliminating highlights from lighter image areas. While the BrilliantColor setting at high levels is a nice feature for presentation purposes, I preferred viewing photos or video based material with this setting at low values. When viewing video or photos, peak BrilliantColor settings produced distracting sun burnt flesh tones and neon tinted grass. Reducing the BrilliantColor setting diminished the distracting over saturation and significantly improved overall color balance.

Security features: The projector includes a Kensington Lock input and additional soft security features. The projector can be configured to require a password for startup and also to request the password to be re-entered after a pre-set amount of time for continued use of the projector.

Epson LightScene EV-100
WXGA Conference Room Laser Projector
Epson LightScene EV-100
WXGA Conference Room Projector

Limitations

Fan Noise: The projector produces a noticeable amount of cooling fan noise in high lamp mode as compared to other projectors with similar brightness levels. Switching to ECO mode reduces fan noise to a point that would be acceptable even in a very quiet environment. The audible noise from the projector in high lamp mode would be cause for concern if the projector is used on a tabletop setup in a small conference room, with audience members seated nearby.

Rainbow Effect: Color separation, or the Rainbow Effect, was noticeable on the DS322. Rainbows were perceptible on video content with quick camera movement and were also visible in PowerPoint presentation material with a large number of slide transitions. I am more sensitive to rainbows with a bright image; for me, switching to low lamp mode reduced the amount of rainbow activity.

Long Throw Ratio/Limited zoom range: The DS322 has a 1.1 zoom range and a relatively long throw distance. When it is ten feet from the screen, the DS322 can project a 70" to 77" diagonal 4:3 image. The zoom range will accommodate minor changes in mounting position to achieve a desired screen size, but overall image size is highly dependent on the throw distance. For classroom use, placing the projector on a mobile cart would be a great way to alleviate the zoom rage limitations. Image offset is approximately 15% of image height, resulting in the need to apply a minor amount of projector incline when used on a table top.

Limited Inputs, No Audio Capability: The projector includes a single VGA D-Sub connector that accepts RGB or component video signals along with a S-video and Composite video inputs. The DS322 does not have a digital input, nor does it include IP network capability. But it has a 3-pin RS232 connector for integration into third party control systems. The DS322 does not have a VGA output for monitor loop-through or any on-board speakers or audio input capability.

Conclusion

The Optoma DS322 is all about producing a bright, sharp, functional picture on a very low budget. It is fine for business presentation use, and if you can do without the monitor loop-thru, it is a very cost effective way to get a picture on the wall in a classroom. While the DS322 does not include a include a digital input, audio capability or advanced features. But if you don't need them, why pay for them? The DS322 is a solid, extremely inexpensive solution for getting a lot of light on the wall for very little money.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Optoma DS322 projector page.

Post a comment

 
Enter the numbers as they appear to the left