Optoma Pico PK-101 DLP Projector Review
Optoma, in utilizing DLP technology for their 4 oz Pico PK-101 Projector, must have known they'd find success in this niche. The PK101 is a no-nonsense DLP pico projector that can display images and video in 1000:1 contrast ratio. It is this high contrast ratio that separates it from other pico projectors I've tested thus far. When connected to a DVD player, the colors remain vibrant and closely match the source. But even more exciting is that the PK101, when connected to my iPhone, projects in color that is actually better than the iPhone. As is true for all pico projectors, you need to lower your expectations on the brightness, but the color output from the Optoma Pico PK-101 goes a long way to compensate for it.
Deviating from the norm, Optoma doesn't even mention computer connection in their manual and this is a smart move. Connecting the Optoma Pico PK-101 to a laptop would only emphasize the limited resolution found in most pico projectors available today. Optoma's focus is to provide a high contrast pico projector that is ideal for showing photos and videos to small groups from any device that has a composite video output.
The Optoma Pico PK-101 DLP Projector (MSRP $399.99) has a native 640 x 480
As shown at right, the PK-101 comes with a USB power adapter, two batteries, tripod adapter, mini-USB to USB cable, 2.5-3.5 mm jack cable with volume control, and an AV cable.
Optoma includes a neat matchbook sized iPhone AV adapter from Dexim that allows you to output the audio and video through their 14" jack cable.
I tested the Optoma Pico PK-101 with a DVD player, iPhone, Sony PS2 and with the video output from a Nikon camera. I used a Dalite screen with a matte white surface.
Color - Vibrant color is the Optoma Pico PK-101's best feature. The projected image seemed brighter because of the color saturation in videos and photos. Texas Instruments' mini DLP technology inside the Optoma Pico PK-101 is the reason the image looks good and why it could be a great solution for anyone needing more precise color reproduction from video or photos.
Brightness - OK, the color looks great and seems brighter but it's still a pico projector and 11 lumens. How does that translate? In a well-lit room, you shouldn't expect more than a 20" diagonal image but in darkness or very subdued lighting you could easily achieve greater than a 60" diagonal. The whole problem with pico projectors right now is user expectation. Don't expect to be blown away with brightness and you'll like the Optoma Pico PK-101. Control the lighting and the projection surface and you'll really like it.
Portability - It's wallet sized (not George Costanza wallet sized) and close to the same weight (4 oz). When it's paired with another portable device like a cell phone, it makes for an incredibly mobile presentation system. Two devices that would fit in one pocket!
Slideshow - The Optoma Pico PK-101 will show your slideshow in much the same way as the Aiptek PocketCinema T10 - through a mobile phone or media player. The only difference is that the PK-101 is native 4:3 aspect ratio and the T10 is 16:9. If you can, copy your PowerPoint slideshow onto your phone or, save the slides as jpg and transfer them to the photo viewer in your mobile device. Then it's just a matter of projecting pictures from that device.
Audio - The 0.5w mono speaker on the Optoma Pico PK-101 is more of a convenience than a feature. If you are using this projector and need
|Optoma Pico PK-101 DLP Projector|
Simple Setup - Simple is great. The Optoma Pico PK-101 has one video input so there's no messing around with connections. The one issue that I did have was working the focus dial. It's not easy to access because it's slightly recessed into the side of the projector.
Accessories - The Optoma PK-101 includes everything you'll need to get started including a spare battery. For hands free operation a mini-tripod is a must. Optoma includes the tripod adapter - they just need to take one more step and include the mini-tripod. Merging the mini-tripod and a re-charging base with some type of external speakers would be a great accessory for the PK-101.
Ideal Users - The Optoma PK-101 is great for home use and could also work for business presentations. I demo'ed the PK-101 for friends who had great suggestions for how to use the projector including replacing a set of blinds in our house with a manual pull-down screen. It projects on anything. At night, don't be surprised if you still have a great image when you get to an 80" diagonal.
In a business environment, the Optoma PK-101 would be a slick tool for anyone needing vibrant color for presentations to groups of up to 5 people. Photographers, ad agencies and designers could tap into the portability of the PK-101 and leverage its stylish design as part of their presentation. The PK-101 will pique an audience's interest before the presentation starts.
Conclusion - Outside of improved brightness and resolution, I wasn't sure how pico projectors could differentiate themselves from one another, but the Optoma Pico PK-101 DLP Projector found its niche. It's great for projecting photos or video from anything you can connect to it via composite video and does a very good job of rendering color.