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Review Contents
Performance
4
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Mobile Presentation
Optoma W304M Projector Optoma W304M
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Street Price: $999
MSRP:$1,499
3D: Full HD 3D
Contrast:10,000:1
Lumens:3100
Weight: 3.3 lbs
Resolution:1280x800
Aspect Ratio:16:10
Technology:DLP
Lens:1.2x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:4,000 Hrs
5,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:$99.00
Warranty:2 year
Connectors:  Composite, VGA In, HDMI 1.4a, Audio Out, Audio In, USB
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60

Optoma W304M Review
3100 lumens and just 3.3 lbs

Marc Davidson, May 17, 2013

Limitations

Video is best reserved for short clips. Video quality for the W304M is roughly mid-range for a data projector, which makes it well short of high quality. On the plus side, I saw only minimal noise, and it handled shadow detail better than many data projectors. However I also saw far more posterization than with most projectors.

The more serious issue for video is rainbow artifacts, which is always a potential problem for single-chip DLP projectors. As is typical, the W304M tends not to show these artifacts very often with data images, so it's unlikely that anyone will find them bothersome for data presentations. With video however, I saw them far more often than with most projectors. Anyone who sees them easily is almost certain to find them annoying with video that lasts more than a few minutes.

b>Low volume audio. As with the audio systems in most light-weight projectors, the W304M's 1-watt mono speaker is arguably not worth the effort of carrying the extra weight it adds to the projector. Even sitting just two feet away, I had to concentrate to make out dialog in clips with people speaking at normal volume. It doesn't help either that if you're close enough to hear the words, it's hard to ignore the fan, rated at 33dB. If you need sound, plan on using an external audio system.

Conclusion

If you're looking for a portable data projector, and particularly if you've been looking at an LED-based, 500-lumen model as something you don't love but might have to settle for, the Optoma W304M may well be the projector you really want. It's almost as light as 500-lumen models, it's a lot brighter, and it's only a little more expensive.

In addition to its balance of portability, brightness, data image quality, and price, the W304M's pluses include its long lamp life and its 3D support for both HDMI connections to video sources and computer-based 3D with VGA connections. Don't overlook the zoom lens for easier setup, either, or the 1280x800 native resolution that lets you show more detail on screen than with lower resolutions.

If you need sound, you'll need an external audio system, but that's true for most projectors in this weight class. The one potentially important issue is that the W304M is the wrong choice if you need to show much video beyond short clips. If what you need is a data projector, however, it will be hard to beat.

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Testing and Connectivity
Review Contents: Introduction Strong Points Testing and Connectivity Limitations and Conclusion
 

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Reader Comments(2 comments)

Posted Sep 17, 2014 10:59 AM PST

By Jerry Hyde

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
More a question than a comment, I am highly sensitive to the DLP artifacts in earlier projectors. I wonder if improvement has been made to the point that people like me would not see it??? I am interested in an Optoma W304M, but am concerned about this..

Thanks, Jerry

Posted Sep 18, 2014 10:04 AM PST

By Bill Livolsi

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Jerry,

I assume you're talking about rainbows. DLP business projectors still use 2x speed color wheels more often than not. If you know you are sensitive to rainbows, either try out a DLP designed for home theater (they usually have faster color wheels) or buy a projector that uses LCD or LCoS (which have no rainbows).

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