Home Top 10 Database Reviews CalculatorCalc Lamps Buyer's Guide
Review Contents
Highly Rated Projectors
Ease of Use
Intended Use:
Mobile Presentation
Optoma Pico PK201 Projector Optoma Pico PK201
(add to Compare List)
Go to My Compare List

Street Price: n/a
Weight: 0.4 lbs
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:20,000 Hrs
20,000 (eco)
Warranty:1 year
Connectors:  Composite, HDMI, Audio Out, MemoryCard, USB
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i

Optoma PK201 Pico Projector Review

Jeff Janas, May 18, 2010


The Optoma PK201 pico projector solves a problem common to all portable media players, which is the tiny screen size limited to the physical dimensions of the device. Able to comfortably fit in a pocket, the PK201 has the ability to produce an image that is viewable in normal lighting at a size up to twenty times greater than an iPhone screen. A full feature set combined with a crisp and saturated image make the PK201 a great standalone alternative to small screen portable media devices.

The PK201 can be used with any video source - portable media players, phones, computers, etc. The LED driven light engine allows the PK201 to be used like a normal monitor or flat panel without lamp hour considerations like most projectors. It provides a quality image and is ideal for one who views media on the go or one who requires a mobile display around the home or office.


Feature Improvements: I reviewed the earlier version of this projector, the PK102, in December of 2009. The PK201 addresses most of the limitations I identified in prior version and adds a few other important features. The PK201 includes a Contrast control that allows for maximum image brightness while maintaining image detail at high picture levels.

The PK201 adds a micro SD card slot that supports cards up to 16 GB in size, giving the ability to directly display picture and video on the PK201 from a camera or other source devices by simply transferring a memory card. Resolution is also increased, from the native 640x480 resolution of the PK102 to 854x480 of the PK201.

The native resolution is increased by a respectable 33%, but the real advantage of the PK201 is with wide screen material. The PK201's resolution is 52% greater than the 4:3 aspect ratio PK102.

Audio capability is also improved in the PK201 with the addition of a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Picture Quality/Brightness: The Optoma PK201 is a DLP projector driven by a LED light engine specified at 20 ANSI lumens. It measured very close to the lumen spec at 18.6 ANSI-lumens or 93.2% of the specification. While a 18 ANSI-lumen output might seem insignificant in the era of 1,000 lumen home theater projectors, this level of brightness in sufficient to create a reasonable sized image that can be appreciated in normal room lighting. Using the PK201, one can reach a screen size of 14 inches wide (16 inches in diagonal) and still exceed 25 foot-lamberts on a unity gain surface.

The picture displayed by the PK201 at this screen size is dynamic with a nice degree of image punch. The PK201 can also support screen sizes significantly larger and still produce a satisfying image. I was able to throw an image size of about 40 inches in diagonal (to simulate a common flat panel size) and found the image viewable with a lamp on in the room, but much improved when all lighting was turned off.

While the PK201 will not replace a flat panel for daytime viewing, it could be an ultra-portable alternative to a flat panel when used in areas with minimal lighting. In my theater room, using a Da-Lite High Power with the PK201 positioned for optimal screen gain, I felt the maximum image size of the PK201 at about 60 inches of diagonal was watchable in the total dark from a brightness perspective, but felt that a 40-inch diagonal was a better balance between image impact, brightness and clarity.

Sound: While the earlier PK102 has a built-in media player, the audio reproduction was limited to using the projector's internal 0.5-watt speaker. The PK201 adds a 3.5-inch headphone jack for use with headphones. The sound quality of the headphone output using the built-in media player is decent, but has a noticeable noise floor most evident in quite passages at near peak volume levels.

When using an Apple iPhone as the video source, I was able to either listen to the audio using a headphone connection on the phone or from the PK201's audio out. Overall, I preferred the sound quality using the direct iPhone audio output, but the sound quality of the PK201 is more than sufficient to be used as a standalone device. The PK201's internal speaker is functional, but quiet. The maximum audio output from the speaker was not sufficient to overcome even a modest amount of ambient noise.

Cost of Ownership: The PK201 can be found for under $300 on-line. Optoma rates the light engine of the PK201 for 20,000 hours of run time. Over the course of 20,000 hours, a standard projector would need quite a few bulb replacements at many times the PK201's total cost. For a fraction of the total ownership cost of a standard projector, one can use the PK201 for a nearly unlimited time.

Next Page
Review Contents: Advantages Limitations

Reader Comments(47 comments)

Posted May 31, 2010 12:06 PM PST

By Kathy Gardner

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I'm a school teacher. If my students made movies using my flip camera, could I project them on a wall/screen using the Optoma Pico PK-201? Could a class of 25 students see the image? Using my apple computer (I know I need some kind of cable), could I project website grammar games up on the wall/screen for full-class participation? If you don't think the Optoma Pico PK-201 can do this, what projector should I look for---at about the same price? (Usefulness wins over picture quality.) Thanks for your help.

Posted Jul 13, 2010 1:09 PM PST

By TopShop

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I don't recommend using pico projectors for a classroom setting unless you can turn off all the lights and close the curtains to get a very dark room. In smaller groups (<10) and moderate light, you could consider one of the larger, "micro" projectors such as the AAXA M1+ that was recently reviewed.

Posted Jul 24, 2010 7:38 AM PST

By Victor E. Lindal

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
What were the answers to Kathy's questions. My same questions . Vic

Posted Nov 3, 2010 9:04 PM PST

By Justin Chan.

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I have just bought the PK201. Can i connect it to the IPAD? what kind of cables do i need to purchase in order to present great quality still photos and videos in business meeting?? I have also bought a micro SD card, but of 32GB ! I have just found out that it only support 16GB ! Can i still use my 32GB card ???

Posted Nov 14, 2010 11:57 AM PST

By Alberto

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Question: Can anyone tell me how can i connect a USB flash drive to my PK201? I already bought an adapter for mini USb and usb female, and plug my USB flash drive and it doesn't read it

Posted Nov 24, 2010 5:49 PM PST

By Jerry

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I am a new user of the Pico PK 201 and I am trying to get a pdf from my Blackberry to bluetooth to my PK 201. Can anyone help me with the procedure. Please advise

Posted Dec 12, 2010 1:00 AM PST

By Wade (Toronto)

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I recently bought this unit. It puts up an amazing picture, There are some issues with getting the entire image in focus when viewing text but for video its not really noticable. I'm assuming these are imperfections in the tiny tiny lens throwing up a 77 inch image. Also to note the unit heats up significantly! Wow mine sure gets hot when playing from the SD card and the battery, I could do some testing later but the bottom gets extremely hot. Worries me about life of the LED's in the unit without any FAN, I believe the bottom could have been a better passive heatsink. Maybe they have accounted for that, and this amount of heat is normal, but to me it gets too HOT. Really thats quite a bit of wasted energy to heat, so much so the unit has a temp sensor that when its that hot, if you try and charge the battery, it will wait unit it has cooled. I'd like to hear from some people that have worked it hard and long, to attest to it's durability.

The DLP engine to me, still gives the best picture of any type of tv/projector known to man yet. And this pico version goes in your pocket for $300 bucks. As long as the unit gets near the 20,000 hours claimed, its worth every cent. I've had issues with filetypes to play from SDcard but once you find one it likes, no problems using Handbrake to Mpeg files, it doesn't seem to like h.264 iphone files though, so either convert or play with a cable direct from iphone. I use this unit with my iphone to stream Live Sunday and Monday Night Football while at work ;) Have fun.

Posted Dec 21, 2010 11:57 AM PST

By Carlos Lara

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I have a problem with the pk201 I can not to see documents, power point, when I use the converter, it say me that I need install the power point. I have power point in my PC. I dont understen. Help me. Thanks

Posted Dec 27, 2010 10:25 AM PST

By bbg

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I have a lot of the same questions as above. Does anyone ever answer these questions?

Posted Jan 31, 2011 4:28 PM PST

By Matt

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Can this pico 201 be powered with a 220 Volts for overseas travel?

Posted Feb 7, 2011 7:40 AM PST

By Thao

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Matt: yes, it's fine to play overseas with a simple adaptor.

Wade(Toronto): On Handbrake, what file type did you convert your video files to? I've tried a few and nothing seem to work for the PK201.

Posted Feb 28, 2011 7:01 AM PST

By Ulf Hagen Ruttmann

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
(translated to English below) Seit drei Tagen gelingt es mir nicht den neuen Optoma Pico PK 201 an meinen mac pro anzuschließen. Doch das Setup funktioniert nicht. Problembehebung, Kundenbetreuung Fehlanzeige.

Google translation: For three days I manage is not the new Optoma Pico PK 201 on my mac pro to join. But the setup does not work. Troubleshooting, customer support nil.

Posted Apr 12, 2011 5:00 PM PST

By Jen

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Re the query about 220v and overseas travel, can you give more details on the "simple adapter" required? I'd like to obtain one before I travel. Thanks

Posted May 21, 2011 4:27 PM PST

By Safa

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
i am trying to get a new adapter.. can anyone help?

Posted Jul 18, 2011 1:04 AM PST

By Ben

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
great little projector but I cannot find strong support for the micro sd card I bought for it. any help would be greatly appreciated.

Posted Aug 3, 2011 8:06 PM PST

By Assad Taha

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
It is international voltage and Hz (says so at the back of the charger)

Posted Aug 3, 2011 8:08 PM PST

By Assad Taha

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
The micrSD card is god storage for relatively large video files on the go

Posted Aug 3, 2011 8:09 PM PST

By Assad Taha

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
It is not Mac compatible

Posted Aug 3, 2011 8:14 PM PST

By Assad Taha

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Absolutely YES

Posted Aug 10, 2011 11:40 AM PST

By Brian Richardson

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Ive just recieved my PK201, and not very happy! I bought it to play AVI movie files. I transfered the movie to a micro sd card, thinking it would just play, but it didnt. I then transfered it from my computer, to the micro sd card, which I placed into the PK201, through the software contained within. The process took over 3hrs for a 2 gig movie..... is this the norm? If it is, then the OPTOMA PK201 is not for me and someone will be getting a bargain on EBAY, very soon. I assumed it would be as easy as 'drag and drop'. Am I doing something wrong? Obviously I'm no computer whizz kid, just wanted something quick and simple. Any comments would make my mind up as to whether to keep it or not. Thanks for reading this and advise you might be able to give me.

Posted Aug 18, 2011 1:33 AM PST

By Beung

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
It is very compatible to my macbook.

Posted Aug 18, 2011 1:35 AM PST

By Beung

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
If you have problems with playing movies via sdcard, transfer your movies into mp4. Just search for an avi to mp4 software online.

Posted Aug 19, 2011 1:36 PM PST

By Ed S

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Would the Optoma Pico PK201 Projector function well for a Powerpoint presentation to a group or 25-30 attendees? If not, what would you recommend that's not too expensive? Thank you!

Posted Aug 22, 2011 3:51 PM PST

By Linda

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Just got a pk201 - need some clear info on what I need to connect it to my iphone4

Posted Oct 2, 2011 4:32 AM PST

By Nafie

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Hi everybody I have the same problem same like Carlos Lara in his question. When i search for presentation in my sd card i alway get the same message: NOT FOUND , though i put ptt and pttx files in the sd card.

Posted Oct 17, 2011 2:17 PM PST

By Barbara

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Can I project pictures stored on my PC with the pico 201?

Posted Nov 7, 2011 5:25 PM PST


Post a Comment Alert Moderator

Attempted translation: Two friends and I have a problem with seeing black and white spots. Does anyone know why?

Posted Dec 11, 2011 11:45 AM PST

By Amy

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I can't get the projector and computer to talk to each other so taht I can display what is on my monitor on the wall (keeping it on both the monitor and the wall).

The user manual is not helping at all.

Posted Jan 3, 2012 10:43 PM PST

By Menno

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I am having the same problem. After almost a year I am now having black and white spots (dead pixels) and they are increasing rapidly. Anyone contacted Optoma about this ?

Posted Jan 15, 2012 5:07 PM PST

By Edi

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I had same problem with Menno a few month ago, so contacted the technical support, and shipped it. After more than a month, the my projector has came back home. They have replaced whole main board circuit. I called to ask what was the main problem, but did't tell me what was the problem. then, I have used just a few time since then. Suddently I see those white spots are coming back again on the screen.... Now I am out of warranty... and don't know what to do...... I'm very frustrated, and encouraging people never even look at any Pico projector from.... Optoma...

Posted May 1, 2012 8:37 AM PST

By Dr. Theophil Asit

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I am having the same problem In my Optoma PK201 projector.after almost a year I am now having black and white spots (dead pixels) and they are increasing rapidly When i showing a AVI movie. How can i get relive from this problem. Pls. tell me what can i do now??????

Posted Jun 23, 2012 8:51 AM PST

By Tess G

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I have spent all afternoon trying to get my Pico Optoma to play my video files. It keeps saying not compatible but last week it played an MP 4 file absolutely fine. Today it played one file but rejected the other video that I had made in the same way? I bought it for an exhibition anmd its just not working. Any ideas? Thanks

Posted Jul 18, 2012 7:59 AM PST

By Eugene A. Santoro

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
How can I get rid of condensation inside the lens of my P201?

Posted Aug 13, 2012 7:56 PM PST

By Shana Slayton

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Hi bought my PK-201 off of ebay said it would not stay powered on that battery was dead not showing any charging when plugged into the wall. The unit will power on long enough to see Optoma on the wall then it will power off then back on again. I purchased a battery from a company but never received it as they refunded my money. My problem is I have a reunion in next 2 weeks and need projector is it possible to use with plugged in wall without battery. If anyone can help please we need it.

Posted Aug 21, 2012 4:11 PM PST

By debra sookparlie

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
i stored some pdf files on my sd card along with other presentations in my sd card on my pk 201 projector but for some reason the pdf files are not showing up ,please advice

Posted Sep 4, 2012 8:42 AM PST

By Susan

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Wondering if the problem has been solved??? I was trying to show a presentation last night and it just turns off. Plugged into wall at home and the battery does not show it is charging?????? HELP! Is there an internal battery that ever needs replacing?

Posted Nov 1, 2012 3:33 PM PST

By Lori Lieder

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Having issues with the pk201 reading files from a USB flash drive???? with the female USB - it recognizes that the USB is plugged in but says there are no files available?? Need for presentations quickly!!

Posted Dec 12, 2012 4:03 PM PST

By Ruben Acero

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
complete frustation, im have seen that so many people have the same white and black sopts issue and optoma doesn´t has any solution for that, i bought mine in a travel tomiami Florida, and it was a waste of money at all, no more optoma EVER.

Posted Mar 7, 2013 5:40 PM PST

By leo

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I dont understand????? i already arranged my powerpoint presentation thru my miniSD on my laptop but to my dismay.. when I put my SD card to my Optoma projector, the pictures of my powerpoint is scrambled... please help me! thanks.

Posted Mar 14, 2013 9:41 PM PST

By Lisa

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I was also having trouble getting my pk201 to play video files from a microSD card. I finally got one to work. I think it has a lot to do with how you convert the video file. Looking in the user manual, there is a small section on Multimedia Format: Video. You have to make sure your video meets these specifications. I have WinX Video Converter already installed on my PC, so I used this program to convert a .mov file I had made using imovie. I took the .mov file I had and converted it to a .mov file changing some of the specifications. I made sure the resolution was 720x480. I changed the video frames rate to 30fps and it worked! It's playing now. This is a 25 minute movie, 289MB in size. It also says in the manual to use their Arcsoft MediaConverter to convert video and PowerPoint files, but I didn't have any luck with their converter...it just seemed to take forever. Maybe this will help some of you with the same problem. Good luck!

Posted Jun 5, 2013 1:42 PM PST

By Mario Rueda

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Hi, I have a problem with seeing black and white spots. Does anyone know why?

Posted Jun 28, 2013 1:11 PM PST

By Mike G

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Hardly used it until a week ago, when I decided to watch a movie with it. BIG MISTAKE.

About an 45 in, I had a few white pixels. 15 minutes after that, nearly the entire screen was filled with black and white pixels. And these seem to be there to stay, thus rendering it useless now.

Strangely, the pixels form the outline of the PK-201's built in main menu - you can clearly see the magnifying glass and RAM chip icons as those are areas without pixels. Why would it 'burn in' the main menu, whilst playing a movie (constant motion)? Lord know.

And of course this thing is outside of warranty now. Thinking of buying it? Sure, but don't use it more than 30-45 minutes on end.

Posted Aug 23, 2013 1:14 PM PST

By Rich

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Oh, they have a solution for the white spots okay...send them $125 (thats UNDER warrenty) and thye will fix it....anyone got another manufacturer to suggest?

Posted Nov 25, 2013 4:42 PM PST

By oscar gonzalez arellano

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Necesito un diagrama, mi proyector se daño y no tiene garantía pk201

Posted Dec 18, 2013 8:15 AM PST

By peluo

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
veo con preocupación que todos al final tienen problemas con los píxeles muertos ( PUNTOS BLANCOS Y NEGROS)en la imagen. nadie tiene respuesta a este problema. el equipo queda inútil ya que interfiere en la imagen. en conclusión. NO SIRVE..EL MIO SE DAÑO CON POCO USO....NO SIRVE A LA EMPRESA QUE LO VENDE 015804265929972 QUE ME LLAME Y ME SOLUCIONE Y CAMBIARÉ DE OPINIÓN

Posted Jul 30, 2014 1:05 AM PST

By Anuj

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Unfortunately I am regretting to buy Pico Projector. All the problems mentioned are obvious in the product.

1. White spots have spread across the entire secret.

2 Does not charge while in use!

3. Connectivity issues with Apple iPad and Mac.


Posted Aug 2, 2014 1:22 PM PST

By andrew chan

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Brought my pk201 new at ebay, it's was a little pricy, only good for 3 movies, than all I can see is black and white dots, no more optoma for me in this life of mine.

Post a comment

Commenting on this article is easy and does not require any registration. Your email address is necessary for you to activate your comment once it has been submitted. It will not be shown to other site viewers. ProjectorCentral reserves the right to remove any comment at any time for any reason. Foul language is not permitted, nor are personal attacks. No HTML allowed. All comments should remain on topic.


Email Address:(used only to confirm your comment)

Your Comment:

(Enter the numbers as they appear to the left)