Low audio volume. The ML300's audio quality is almost irrelevant, because the volume from the 2-watt speaker is too low to hear well from even a few feet away. If you need sound, plan on using an external audio system or headset.
No zoom. As is typical for small projectors, the ML300 doesn't include a zoom control. Given the small size, however, moving the projector to adjust image size is easy, and once you've used it a few times, you'll know approximately how far to put it from the screen for the image size you want. In my tests, I got a 77" diagonal image at just over 8 feet from the screen.
Noise. The ML300's fan noise ranges from reasonably quiet in the least bright mode, to potentially annoying in the brightest mode, at a rated 36 dB. If you're sensitive to noise, you'll probably find it bothersome. And note that even with the fan going full blast, the ML300 gets surprisingly hot to the touch.
3D works with computer output only. The ML300 offers limited 3D support. Optoma says it will work only with computers that have a Quad-buffered, Open GL 3D-compatible graphics card. And to use 3D, you'll have to buy DLP-Link glasses separately.
Scaling artifacts. One image quality issue worth mentioning, although it's less of a problem than with competing projectors, is scaling artifacts. Even with a 1280x800 signal, the ML300 adds unwanted extra patterns to large areas filled with repeating patterns of fine lines or dots. Scaling artifacts like these shouldn't show up when the signal matches the projector's native resolution.
However, these artifacts weren't a surprise because they also appear with every other projector I've tested that uses the same DLP chip. As I've reported in other reviews, Texas Instruments says that the projector doesn't scale the image at 1280x800, but it also says that the issue is likely at least partly due to the chip's architecture. Beyond that, TI has not provided an explanation for the artifacts.
In any case, you are not likely to see these artifacts unless you use patterned fills in your graphics rather than blocks of color. Even better, as demonstrated by the projector's highly readable text at small font sizes, the ML300 avoids the soft focus effect from anti-aliasing that shows on most other projectors built around this chip. For most purposes, the soft focus effect is the more serious problem, and by avoiding it, the ML300 makes the scaling artifacts a minor issue at most.
The ML300 shares the same niche and many of the same advantages as every other recent 300- and 500-lumen projector. A little larger and heavier than pocket projectors, it's still small and light enough to carry without a second thought, but it's enough brighter to give you a significantly bigger usable image for any given level of ambient light.
That said, the ML300 also stands apart. Compared to other 300-lumen models, it's larger and heavier. But it also offers more connection options, including a standard VGA that eliminates the need for an adaptor. Compared with 500-lumen models, it's lighter than most even with its power block, almost as bright, and notably cheaper. Add in the good data image quality, usable video quality, and relatively rainbow-free images, and there's more than enough here to make the ML300 a solid choice for mobile presentation.
|Review Contents:||Strong Points||Testing||Limitations and Conclusion|