Posted on May 15, 2016 Lisa Feierman
This past winter, I started writing a “life experience” review about the ML750 LED projector, evaluating it through the specific lens of how pico and pocket projectors might be a surprisingly perfect match for millennials. I also wrote a short review of the same nature about the Epson Home Cinema 730HD, which I encountered at a 25 year old friend’s apartment, also residing in New York City.
That Optoma ML750 “life experience” review was supposed to be a 4-part series, but SURPRISE: It’s only going to be two. But don’t despair: After this installation, I’ll be switching gears to evaluate the ML750’s sibling, the ML750ST, which is essentially the same projector but with a short throw lens. So, without further ado, here are my final thoughts on the ML750, after living with it for the better part of a year:
If you recall, I loved the Optoma ML750 right off the bat for several reasons: It offered all the convenience I wanted: small (palm-sized), super lightweight (less than 1 lb.), comes in a soft carrying case for easy portability (great for taking to a friend’s apartment or to the office), and powers up in less than 10 seconds. In terms of quality, it was impressively bright for its size (700 lumens), and had surprisingly good color and contrast. It provided a damn good picture on the white walls of my starter apartment (no screen, lots of ambient light). It also made sense financially for someone just starting out like me, with an MSRP of ~$1000 but going for about HALF that on Amazon. Some people my age pay that much for a good TV, but this is way more fun (and can provide a larger picture!)
In the first installation of this series, I identified the first way I used the ML750: TV and movies. But I quickly realized that projectors can be uniquely suited for sports viewing because of their features and convenience. I’ll walk through 3 unique instances in which I engaged with sports using my Optoma ML750 projector.
Now, I’m not a sports person myself (except for baseball – GO METS!), but one of the first times I used the ML750 was to participate in a Fantasy Football draft. My boyfriend and I were going to be sharing a team in a league of friends/friends-of-friends around the country, from New York to California. We decided to do our draft live on Google Hangouts to make it a little bit more involved. At our peak attendance, 8 of us were logged on (some dressed in sports gear), drinking beers in our respective time zones, and picking our teams.
We hooked my MacBook Air up to the projector and turned OFF mirroring, so that we could project the fullscreen Google Hangout onto the wall but show our draft on the laptop screen (while simultaneously using our smartphones to do extra research). Note that the image is surprisingly bright and not terribly washed out, despite it being the middle of the afternoon and having our living room blinds open. Despite the presence of a lot of devices, the whole operation took about 2 minutes to arrange set up, and get working. We were quickly able to see, hear, talk, and draft all at once. Cheers to that!
(Note: The first photo shows the wider context of our use: You can see the ML750 projected onto the wall of my living room showing my friends on Google Hangout, the laptop on the coffee table showing the draft software, and my beer in the foreground. The second photo is a closer shot of the same image.)
The second time my Optoma ML750 was Halloween. I was thrilled to be throwing a party with my roommate, and we had about 40 RSPVed to pack into our tiny 2-bedroom (approx. 700 sq ft) NYC apartment. My boyfriend, however was not thrilled that he was being dragged into a party during Game 4 of the World Series – Mets vs. Royals (SPOILER ALERT: The Mets ended up losing that game, and the one the following night, which I attended, totally devastating Mets fans everywhere).
I quickly appeased him by promising we could turn my bedroom into the World Series room… And we did! It worked out great, because while we planned to have people mingling and drinking in the living room, we knew some would have to spill over into our bedrooms for space. As many as 15 people at a time crammed into my little 110 sq. ft. room and watched the game projected onto the wall over my bed, just beneath the canvas artwork I have hung. The projector just sat on a stool in the middle of the room and people were able to stand and sit around it. We even had festive Mets-colored lighting (thanks to my Philips Hue smart light bulbs – go read that review on our partner website, SmarterHomeAutomation.com, here).
(Note: Sorry for the image quality. As it was a party, I wasn’t thinking much about photography and used my iPhone to just causally document the event. The first photo is a bit overexposed to show more of the room/context, and the second is a darker photo/more accurate representation of what the image and room looked like).
Super Bowl snuck up on me this year, so when February rolled around and I still didn’t have plans for the big game, I decided to host a small watch party for 6 friends who also hadn’t made plans either yet. CBS Sports streamed the game online for free this year, so we just turned it on, plugged in the MacBook Air into the ML750 via HDMI, pointed it at the wall, and started serving food (the BBQ waffle fries were the biggest hit).
Of the three instances where I used the ML750 for sports viewing, this was the one where I took the most photos. It was dark out already, so we didn’t have to deal with daylight, though we were still dealing with plenty of ambient light in the living room. We turned off all the lights for the halftime show, so the image was pretty spectacular for such a small projector during that time.
(NOTE: A variety of images are here for context. The first several images – mostly during the game itself – show the degree of ambient light we had during much of the game, whereas the later photos – the halftime show – have almost no ambient light, as we turned off all the lights.)
However, during the game while we were chatting and serving food, the apartment lighting was all on full force: both overhead living room light fixtures, the bathroom light off the kitchen, and the colored Philips Hue lighting in my bedroom (visible in purple) were all on. However, the projector was still more than bright enough, the contrast good, and the color vivid.
I can’t say I’m a fan of the diamond pixel arrangement.
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