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Optoma ML500 LED Projector Review

Review Contents
Performance
4
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Mobile Presentation
Optoma ML500 Projector Optoma ML500
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3000:1 Contrast Ratio
500 Lumens
PC 3D Ready
Street Price: n/a

Test Results and Connectivity

Brightness. In its brightest mode, the ML500 came in at 431 lumens in our tests, or about 85% of its rating. I found it suitably bright for a 92" diagonal image at the 16:10 native aspect ratio in a dark room. The image can even stand up to moderate ambient light at that size, although it's a little washed out. Various other modes came in at an assortment of levels, between 307 and 344 lumens, with Eco mode dropping the level in the brightest mode by nearly 40%, to 255 lumens.

Good brightness uniformity. The ML500 also does a good job maintaining uniform brightness across the screen. I measured the uniformity at 82%. The difference was just enough to notice on a solid white screen, with a little warmer white towards the bottom. Add some graphics or text to break up the background, however, and the difference becomes impossible to see.

Connectivity. Connection options on the ML500 are another pleasant surprise, with more choices than you might expect. The available connections include a VGA port for a computer or component video source, an HDMI port for a computer or video source, both S-video and composite video ports, and a miniplug AV jack for audio or audio plus composite video in. The AV in port works with a $20 optional adaptor, with the other end plugging into the AV output minijack that you can find on many smartphones, for example.

In addition, there's an SDcard slot, a USB Type A port for a USB memory key, and a mini USB port for sending a data image from the computer as well for as transferring files to the 2GB internal memory. I tried the projector with a small sampling of file formats on a USB key, including PDF, JPG, and Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files. According to Optoma, it can also read BMP and Microsoft Excel files and most common video and audio formats, including AVI, WMV, MPEG1, WAV, WMA, and 16 more.

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Key Features
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Limitations and Conclusion
Review Contents: Overview Key Features Test Results Limitations and Conclusion
 
Comments (16) Post a Comment
davidm Posted Feb 14, 2012 5:18 PM PST
The Acer K330 seems nearly identical, but it has an audio-out jack, which is very useful when you're feeding an HDMI signal to the projector but still want audio to go to a better sound system.
Kyle Posted Feb 21, 2012 5:32 PM PST
We use this as a replacement for a TV basically and it's very useable. Watching a full length movie without being distracted by any image issues is no problem. I'd highly recommend this projector(or one of the other 3 clones) for anyone else like myself that is just getting into projectors and doesn't want to deal with the extra hassle and cost of lamps.
backstudio Posted Feb 24, 2012 4:18 PM PST
The absence of a sound out function is a serious lack in this projector. The sound quality is pretty dreadful for anything but short presentations. It will also not project onto the ground or ceiling without distortion. For me the worst thing about it is the noise - it's noisier than my big home theatre projector and in a quiet room can become pretty annoying if you're projecting without sound.
alexandre oliveira Posted Mar 17, 2012 9:06 PM PST
bad focus , bad lens
RussR Posted May 4, 2012 12:35 PM PST
I'll be picking up my ML500 from Best Buy today and will post the results.

I have to say that I don't quite understand why people are so upset about there being no Audio output. For me at least, I'll be running video out of my computer HDMI and probably PS3 and 360 as well. It makes way more sense to send the audio direct to your system, rather than through the projector and back out again. A sound system is only as good as the weakest link in it. If you have an expensive system, I guarantee 100% of all projectors in this price range have MUCH worse internal components than your system does. You want to run your audio through as few circuits as possible.

If your sound system is decent it should be able to allow you to plug in everything you want to use(PC audio, Xbox, PS3 etc) at the same time. Run the HDMI to the projector, and run your audio straight out of the source into your sound system. This should yield the best results in any scenario.

FYI for those that don't understand where I'm coming from...Yes audio travels down HDMI, but most video game consoles out there should allow you to send the audio separate from HDMI(I do this with my 360 because I want it hooked up to my M-Audio Project Mix which requires a 1/4" input). Your PC acts the same way. I currently have it hooked up to my 47" TV for the display but I hate my TV speakers so I run the Audio into my Project Mix as well.

My only apprehension is that there is only one HDMI port. I'm as lazy as the next guy and don't want to have to switch out my input source every time I want to play a game/watch a movie on my PC etc.
RussR Posted May 4, 2012 12:43 PM PST
Also, To comment on the noise level.....36 db should be hardly noticeable. I won't form an opinion on this until I pick my ML500 up today, however here is a good link if you're curious what 36db sounds like. http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Technical/Sounds/Decibles.htm I'm sure it would be noticeable in quiet parts of movies etc. But otherwise I can't imagine it would be very bothersome as most people watch movies between 60 and 65 db. If you're in a theater setting it is probably more like 75-80.
jasands50 Posted Jun 4, 2012 2:22 PM PST
I have been looking for a new projector and now that I have read all the great reviews on this one, its the one I am ordering. The sound don't bother me because it all comes out of my Bose V20 system.
Prof.Ravi K Pillai Posted Jul 18, 2012 9:51 AM PST
I am from Kerala,India.Thanks a lot for your review.Last day I purchased this projector from a vendor at Cochin. This is an excellent device.You can use it as a data projector as well as for watching movies.Since the lamp being an LED, 500ANSI is more than enough.I recommend this projector.
Rakesh Posted Aug 16, 2012 5:03 AM PST
Prof. Pillai could you kindly tell (a) At what price you got the ML 500; (b) Dealer or manufacturer guarantee? (c) Your experience of watching full-length movies.

I am located in New Delhi and need a projector just to watch movies in the weekend. I am undecided between ML 500 and Benq Joybee GP2.

Regards.
DanO Posted Aug 29, 2012 1:49 PM PST
Response to davidm: The Acer K330 is not an LED-based system
Parthiban S Posted Aug 31, 2012 1:19 AM PST
I watch that the colour is changing constantly.Plz notice & reply.
Joe Posted Sep 10, 2012 4:10 AM PST
The Acer K330 is definitely a LED-based device.
Biggles Posted Nov 22, 2012 2:46 AM PST
Just received this wonderful piece of kit. Brightness is very good - even in a well lit room it will produce a good 2m diagonal picture, and in a dark room you can get a much larger, very acceptable, picture. Pushing the Brighness value up from the preset 50% level does not work well as the blacks simply grey out and the Contrast setting will not cure this but the default 50% values work very well. Picture quality is excellent and small text in a PowerPoint slide show can be read with ease. Colours are a little saturated but can be trimmed if required in the main 'Settings' menu. Automatic 'Keystone' adjustment works very well but needs to have the basic 'G Sensor Calibration' tweaked. To get to this adjustment you need to press the following keys in order (no information on this in the manual!): Power - Left Arrow - Left Arrow - Enter (central button) and an engineering menu appears. I have set my calibration to -6 and the picture is squared perfectly when the projector is tilted. This menu also has the option to do a factory reset if you mess up! Basically, I highly recommend this projector for the travelling business man.
johnp Posted May 9, 2013 6:27 AM PST
The acer k330 is definitely NOT LED lit. It uses a 5000hr lamp, not 20K-30K LEDs, which is the key difference for these two devices, IMHO.
Bill Posted May 18, 2013 2:01 PM PST
I do not understand this, You can plug all of your PS3, dvd, blue ray, cable box into a receiver with HDMI and then 1 HDMI to the projector can't you???
Donald P Posted Jul 6, 2016 8:51 AM PST
I purchased the Optoma ML500 about a month ago and really love it. My only problem is that the picture on my 80" screen is only taking up 60". Do you know what settings are needed in order to see the picture at 80"?

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