Optoma ML500 - Physical Tour
April 2012 - Anthony Arrigo
Optoma ML500 Appearance
The Optoma ML500 is a slim, and light weight ultra portable. At 2.5 pounds, this sleek projector is definitely easy to travel with. The construction of the projector is tight, and feels strong, and solid. You will notice in the front, the lens. The outer ring on the lens is for focus, and there is no way to adjust zoom, so you must position the projector to increase or decrease the projected image size.
Around the edges of the projector, you will find all your vent and exhaust openings. On the left hand side there is a 2 watt speaker. The top of the projector contains the control panel. You can access all the projectors functions from this control panel. This is a plus, since if you lose the remote, you will still be able to make adjustments if necessary.
The bottom of the projector has three adjustable feet, and it even has a tripod mount hole just like your typical Digital SLR camera. You might notice that there is no lamp door. With this unit, you must have Optoma change the lamp out. However, at 20,000 estimated lamp life, you will more than likely purchase newer models before the life of this one ever runs out.
Now lets move to the rear of the projector and take a look at all the sources the projector can accept. Starting from the left, I will actually start with something that is not a source, but a necessity with such a small projector, and that is the Kensington lock. Next you have the DC input, and what is nice about this particular unit is that it does not need a proprietary power plug. Any power plug a desktop would use, works just fine. Right above the DC input you will find a SD card slot. This projector can play a myriad of file formats directly from the projector. You can even show Microsoft Office documents without a laptop hooked up. Although, when it comes to editing or putting last minute changes on a presentation, it is not designed to do that. If you have a USB drive, you can also plug in a Type A USB drive, which is located right next to the SD card slot.
Now we move on to the video inputs. The Optoma ML500 can accept 1080p through its HDMI port. Right next to the HDMI port you will find the VGA port that most use from their laptop. To round out the video inputs, this projector has a composite video input, and a s-video input. For audio-in, it features a 3.5mm mini dim port. Last, but not least, the projector features a mini USB port.
Setup and Menus
Physically setting up the Optoma ML500, is pretty straightforward. It features 1 adjustable foot, so leveling the projector is pretty easy assuming the surface is fairly flat. I would have liked to have seen the rear feet be adjustable; to make it even easier to achieve a much more true rectangular image. The projector does feature auto keystone correction, but it is always recommended not to use it since it does degrade the image a bit. It is best to take the time to make the image true, by positioning the projector correctly.
Once you have hooked up all the sources you plan to use with the projector, Optoma has made the experience of navigating your digital media very easy. You will notice the minute you fire up the projector they present you with a graphical screen asking you what you would like to do with the projector. To access the more in-depth settings, is easy as well. Navigating them takes you out of the colorful more graphical inteface, but adjusting brightness and other settings is still very straightforward. Just a note, it is much easier to to use the remote to access the projectors deeper functionality. So, keep it in a safe place, where you won't lose it.
One thing you will notice is that accessing your media files that you have stored on either a SD card or a USB drive, is simple and straightforward. Optoma has done a nice job making this ultra portable easy to setup, and use.
Photos of the internal menu system when projecting computer or video content.
The remote is tiny. Credit card sized, to almost be exact. All the projector's functions can be accessed via the remote, and it truly is the best way to navigate all the different screens of information. You can control the projector sources, and even zoom in on portions of your presentation with this little remote. It is truly a ultra portable remote, for a ultra portable projector.