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Optoma Pico PK-101 DLP Projector Review

Intended Use:
Mobile Presentation
Optoma Pico PK101 Projector Optoma Pico PK101
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1000:1 Contrast Ratio
11 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

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

Optoma Pico PK-101 DLP Projector Accessories
resolution (VGA) and uses an LED light source with an estimated life of 20,000 hours. A fully charged battery should give you about 70 minutes of usage in high-brightness mode.

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
Optoma Pico PK-101 DLP Projector
volume, I would definitely recommend bringing your own speakers. The PK-101 does not have an audio output so you'll have to connect your speakers to the source.

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.

Comments (38) Post a Comment
Vinay Posted Mar 9, 2009 7:08 AM PST
Dear Mr. Paul, I've seen this article and am very new to the projector world.I take classes for 7 hrs a day and hence was looking at a projector that can work efficiently (atleast 5-7hrs a day) showing slides to 200 people in one batch.Please suggest me some good projectors on my email.ANy help would be greatly appreciated.I am from India, Regards
Ken Sutcliffe Posted Apr 6, 2009 6:51 PM PST
I found this article to be very informative. Mr. Gilmore did a very good job of reviewing and making suggestions for using the Optoma PK-101.
Peter Posted Aug 17, 2009 2:56 PM PST
Very usefull. I was particularly interested in the fact that the Pico could project an image up to 6ft if it were in a very dark room - depending on the source. Since I am buying by mail order, the other detailed info. you give is great too!
Quincy Posted Oct 28, 2009 9:59 PM PST
just bought one today. Awesome product. everything he said is true... not happy about the four hour recharge time, but you have 2 batteries included so it's ok. Plus, after I show it off to everyone, what will be the use of battery power anyway :)
tosh Posted Nov 24, 2009 4:19 PM PST
terribly assembled and far less easy to use than explained. It only shows photos and video from Ipod, not the rest of the visuals. No one specifies this anywhere. Digital camera doesn't work on it. Customer service was rude.
Richard klassen Posted Dec 20, 2009 12:35 AM PST
i was just wondering the name of the company that makes these i know its pico but pico what?
Amanda Posted Dec 28, 2009 12:00 AM PST
I have had this projector and the iPhone adapter for a week and have still not been able to get it to project anything except the optoma screen help
David L Posted Feb 13, 2010 5:34 AM PST
I have had the Pico PK101 for over a year and have tries LOADs of adapter cables but STILL can't get anything from my pocket pc!!! Well p'eed
Robert D. Flowers Posted Feb 25, 2010 2:31 PM PST
does any one know where I can get a VGA cable with AV to hook from lap top computer to a PK 101 DLP projector. the VGA needs 3 legs one white one yellow and the other red with male plugs on the ends
royster Posted Feb 27, 2010 9:13 AM PST
I have read a lot of reviews giving this little beauty a bit of a bashing but for what I use it for its perfect! I play movies from my iPhone through a belkin set of cables (great for hooking the iPhone up to a TV too). And then project it on the wall. The sound is bad, so I use Bose QC3's and its like I am in my very own cinema. Granted, in light rooms it doesnt work well, its best to be as dark as you can get it. But I am usually away in hotels and most have white walls and thick curtains, perfect! I would recomend this to anyone wanting a budget projector, I love it! Next..... Using it with my Xbox!!
Leo Posted Mar 30, 2010 12:21 PM PST
Optoma is the manufacturer, they make a range of projectors, this baby one is called the Pico
Jeff Posted Apr 10, 2010 5:25 AM PST
Very small unit, very small image! Don't expect much and you will be happy. I find it's best in bed projecting onto the ceiling. Sound is useless no volume control you need headphones or speaker system. Just for laughs I projected it onto my 120 inch screen in my home and what a joke. Not bright enough for an image over 40 inches. Even with all these problems it's still a little wonder. Will take to cottage and use for outdoor fun.
Laura Posted May 21, 2010 10:51 AM PST
The fact that this projector cannot project anything from iPod, iPhone and iPad other than video and slideshow is NOT the projector's fault - these devices were designed that way by Apple and no projector can show anything else off of an iPhone.
Billy Posted May 28, 2010 3:07 PM PST
I cannot get it to display from my laptop, not sure if dislay settings are correct. A little help please.
Steven Hallmark Posted Jun 11, 2010 3:34 PM PST
I have not tried it nor confirmed it but if one can locate movie-on-line/jennie shop/PC VGA to TV & S-Video Converter in Ebay this usb powered device apparantly is claimed by the manufacturer/distributor as being ideal for connecting a Mac/PC or laptop to an Optima Pico PK101.
PABLO Posted Jun 12, 2010 2:56 AM PST
ME GUSTARIA SABER COMO PUEDO CONECTAR EL PK 101 A MI PC YA QUE NO PUEDO HACERLO Y QUISIERA QUE ALGUIEN ME PUEDA AYUDAR A ESTE PEDIDO

Google Translation: I wondered how I connect the PK 101 SINCE MY PC I CAN NOT DO IT AND I WANT SOMEONE THAT CAN HELP ME THIS REQUEST
Mando Posted Aug 1, 2010 6:43 PM PST
Checking one out on EBAY. I purchased a mini netbook on EBAY that came from China ( 7" monitor). I was satisified until the unit would not take a charge. Had to send it back to manufacturer. I was wondering if anyone has tried this device on mini Netbooks. Thanks
marcia Posted Dec 8, 2010 3:13 PM PST
Please tell me what cables to use to connect my pico pocket projector to my mac book pro. Will I be able to project movies in itunes? can I project power points?
jose a Vazquez Posted Jan 1, 2011 1:06 PM PST
having the same problem: I cant connect the pico101 to My Power Mac. can anyone share some info ?? what cables do I need ?? thkx!
Jman Posted Jan 4, 2011 5:08 PM PST
Dont think its the cord, might want to try a different computer......
margarita echeverri Posted Feb 10, 2011 9:23 PM PST
Please tell me what cables to use to connect my pico pocket projector to my mac book pro? can I project power points? if it is possible you can send me the reply in spanish please, and please forgive my english.
Jesús Posted Feb 14, 2011 1:27 PM PST
{English translation below} Alguien me podría decir como proyectar con mi optoma de bolsillo mis tarjetas microsd, ya que no puedo seleccionar la opción , me detecta la tarjeta microsd pero no la proyecta!!! Alguien me podría decir que hacer? Ya le moví a todo y no he podido!! Es el de la versión de 2000 lúmenes... Gracias!!!

Google translation: Someone could tell me how to project my pocket optoma my microsd card and I can not select the option, I detected the microsd card but not the projects! Someone could tell me to do? Already moved to all and I could not! Is the version of 2000 lumens ... Thanks!
Jorge Ortiz Posted Sep 10, 2011 7:50 PM PST
Please S.O.S. somebody can help, I can not connect my PK101 to my laptop, either can connect to BlackBerry, How do I do? Por favor, alguien me puede ayudar como hacer para conectar mi pk101 a mi laptop, o a un equipo movil BlackBerry . S.O.S.
mohamed Posted Sep 19, 2011 3:55 AM PST
how can I connect it to lap top or pc
Jen Posted Oct 15, 2011 8:41 AM PST
Need help with what formatt to save for projector. Tried to play a music video and an iPhoto sideshow and nothing showed up on the projector. I have worked with projectors before but I am getting nothing through the projector! HELP PLEASE
Claudia Monteiro Posted Jan 30, 2012 12:03 PM PST
English Below: Comprei o equipamento e nunca consegui usa-lo, é possível o seu uso com um tablet tecnologia androide.

I bought the equipment and could not use it, it is possible to use a tablet with Android.
nancy Posted Feb 11, 2012 2:10 PM PST
how do you connect this to a PC thru the VGA port or a macbook? I dont see any answers to everyone elses questions? What cables are required to do it?
mpalanyi Posted Apr 3, 2012 8:48 PM PST
is there any way I can use it as acomputer monitor?
Mara Nino Posted Apr 4, 2012 6:26 PM PST
any way to conect this pico projector to a lap top? i have added the VGA to RCA adapter but nothing comes, need some help...
Howard Schramm Posted Jun 23, 2012 7:15 AM PST
iphone and iPad does work through the pk120 please help i only have the projector screen
Chris Posted Dec 25, 2012 4:27 PM PST
Can't figure out how to play something through my iPhone or computer. Please help
werner rentsch Posted Dec 26, 2012 5:47 PM PST
I just got a Pico PK101 and can't figure out how to hook it up to my PC. Do I need a special adapter? Please help.
Basu Posted Jan 9, 2013 11:09 PM PST
I tried making the Optoma Pico Projector PK 101 work with IPhone 4S but nothing happens other than blank screen. Can anyone help me set it up with IPhone 4S. Thanks
MYLVAGANAM MAHENDRAN Posted Mar 1, 2013 10:08 PM PST
WHERE CAN I PURCHASE THIS OPTOMO PICO PK101 CAMERA IN CANADA(SCARBOROUGH. ONTARIO) IS THIS AVAILBLE AT BEST BUY?
ron Posted Mar 14, 2013 12:50 PM PST
hello did you get ant reply on how to connect your iphone 4s to the pico pk101 if so can you please share that info i have been trying but no luck.tku
Marius Posted Apr 9, 2013 7:05 AM PST
Does anyone know why I can not see "you tube" and "justintv" from iphone4s with this projector? Thank you!!
Lindsay Posted Dec 1, 2013 9:01 PM PST
Can anyone advise me on how to get my photos to show when I project them from my mini pocket cinema led projector-they did once but now I find that I am unable to get them to show it just goes to a large white block onto my wall.Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Linds
Clarabel Rodriguez Posted Oct 10, 2015 11:02 PM PST
Can I connect projector to my Samsung galaxy s5.

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