Optoma PK201


Projectors could be a rather unappealing bunch, no thanks to them being thought of as conference-room or lavish mini-theater setup mainstays. However, more and more portable (pico) projectors have shown us otherwise. Recently, it was the Optoma PK301, and now, its cute sibling, the Optoma PK201. Could the Optoma still deliver the goods despite its relatively smaller-than-small package?

Look and feel

The Optoma PK201 is about the same size as an Apple iPhone, albeit a bit thicker. It's also very light – in fact almost as light as a Nokia E63. So yeah, lugging this small bad boy around isn't a problem. Despite its light weight, though, the projector is surprisingly robust.

The front outer casing has a rather textured grayish color, and its back has a smooth, silvery finish that gives it a tinge of elegance. Nice.

Ports

The PK201 may be small, but it has an ample room for all the basic media and data ports you could ask from a typical projector. It has mini HDMI and universal I/O ports on its left side, and AV in, audio out; microUSB; and miniSD card ports on its right.

One of the differences between the PK201 and its slightly better-fed brother is that the latter's main projector is found on the top vertical side as opposed to the PK301's, which is on the top horizontal side.

The main buttons are laid out in a way that can be understood easily. You can even hold and use the projector as if it's a remote control, thanks to the lamp's position.

Setup and performance

Setting up the Optoma PK201 is quite easy, whether you want to plug it in to a PC or just use it by itself. For PC use, all you need to do is connect it via the supplied VGA cable and wait for your system to detect it (you may have to do a bit of manual tinkering with your PC with this). If you want to use it solo, then just turn the device on and select the media (internal or microSD card) you want to play. This is uber-easy; you only need to go through 3-4 navigation steps to do this.

You can also transfer files to the PK201 from your PC via USB. We recommend you use the bundled ArcSoft Media Converter software if you wish to transfer or convert videos, though this won't often be the case, as the PK201 supports a host of formats.

An important thing to remember: A microSD card is a must-have because the Optoma PK201 only has an internal memory of 28MB, which is far inadequate for today's video standards.

As for image quality, the PK201 performs quite well for a pico projector. The native resolution of 854 x 480 is a big improvement over the 640 x 480 resolution of its predecessor, the PK102. WXGA resolution (1200 x 800) is also supported.

Colors and details come out vibrant and sharp (thanks to the 2,000:1 contrast ratio) while brightness is decent for a projector like this (20 ANSI Lumens does the trick), making the PK201 a good performer especially in low-lit situations.

This Optoma has a rather long throw or projection distance, which isn't much of an issue if you have ample room space. However, using the focus dial can be tricky at times, especially in larger projection sizes. You have to be careful not to hit it accidentally if you want a constant focused image.

The built-in speakers are, well, decent in a silent room, though there's a 3.5-inch audio jack to help you solve your sound woes.

Battery life

Stamina is suspect with the PK201, a bad thing because you'd want to use it on the go and free of cables. We were only able to juice out barely an hour of use. Bummer.

Verdict

So there it is, the Optoma PK201 pico projector. It does have it flaws, especially when compared to its bigger and much more expensive office (board)roommates. Still, it does serve its purpose as a pocket projector with good image quality and resolution, if you can look past its "battery life" problems.

Click here to view the Optoma PK201 in the Buyer's Guide.

 

Performance
star_on star_on star_on star_on star_off
Value
star_on star_on star_on star_on star_off
Overall
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+
  • Compact size
  • Bright, clear images
  • Ease of use
-
  • Sub-par battery life
  • Tricky focus mechanism
  • Weak speakers
Bottom Line
A handset-sized projector is always welcome. One that performs admirably well is definitely for keeps. Now if only the battery life is much longer...
Editor's Pick No
Price P19,000
Tech Specs
  • Type: DLP
  • Lamp Type: OSRAM 11w RGB LED x 3
  • Resolution: WVGA (854 x 480)
  • Ports
    • VGA: 1
    • HDMI: 1
    • Composite (Analog): 1
    • Component (RGB): 1
    • miniUSB: 1
    • microSD: 1
  • Brightness: 20 ANSI Lumens
  • Audio: 0.5W Mono
  • Contrast Ratio: 2,000:1
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Projection Distance: 10 inches - 10.5 ft
  • Projection Size: 5.1 inches - 66 inches
  • Lamp Life: up to 20,000 hours
  • Memory
    • Internal: 28MB
    • External: microSD up to 16GB
  • Battery
    • Type: li-ion
    • Life: approx. 1 hour
  • Size: 61 mm x 178 mm x 110.6 mm
  • Weight: 180 grams


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