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Show Off Your Video Wherever You Go

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A mini review of the Optoma Pico PK101 $399.00

If you want to show off your video while on the road, at a party, or anywhere you don’t have access to projection equipment you’re in luck.

I just tested a pocket projector. You heard right. I said a pocket projector. The Pico PK101 weighs just four ounces and is the size of the average iPhone.

The Pico projector uses a TI engine that offers a 480-by-320 resolution DLP chip connected to an LED light source.

The unit is so portable that I forgot I had it in my pocket. I was worried I might damage it, but the protective case (supplied) made me feel better about keeping the little Pico safe.

Operation of this projector couldn’t be simpler. You connect it to an iPod or computer using supplied cables. It runs on a supplied rechargeable battery. Once connected, point the Pico at any large white surface, turn off the lights, and away you go.

I got about 55 minutes out of the battery the full brightness mode, the only mode I found acceptable. It takes between two and four hours to recharge the battery, depending on whether or not you recharge while using the battery in the projector. The company does supply a second battery, so if the first one discharges, you can have the backup battery charged and ready to replace it.

Now you are probably waiting for the bad news. I mean after all, how is it something that weighs four ounces and fits in a typical cellphone case going to project a decent image. Surprise, there’s no real bad news. Only one small gripe – which I’ll add below.

The projector works well. Video I put onto my iPod and then played using the Pico looked good projected on a super clean white wall in a totally dark room at a size of 30 inches. The bigger you go, the dimmer the picture. The smaller you go, the brighter the picture. At about a 36″ diagonal image, I found the image watchable for long periods. Anything larger didn’t work for me. At around 25″ the image looked comparable to the average television.

What really surprised me was how well the Pico rendered colors. What disappointed me was the volume on the built-in speaker. It’s simply not loud enough to be heard well. I added a $20 pair of accessory speakers found at any computer store and enjoyed the results.

One negative is the lack of keystone correction. I am assuming that the company was going for the smallest, cheapest unit they could build and that keystone correction would add to much to size or price. But I do miss having it.

The PK 101 is the only projector of its kind I’ve ever seen. It works well, is affordable given it’s size and performance, and will no doubt lead the way for a long line of competitors who will presumably make the idea of a pocket projector


Written by scottbourne

December 21, 2008 at 10:59 am

Posted in Reviews

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