Pico Projector Review – Optoma Neo-i DV20a Projector

Optoma Neo-i Brightness

Let’s get the party started! 50 lumens, baby! And, yes, the DV20a, the neo-i, can do it. Well, close. We measured just shy of 49 lumens. While the neo-i came up a lumen short, the same engine in the PK301 measured 51 lumens, if I recall. As a result, I think its safe to say that you can expect 50 lumens give or take too few to matter. That’s all there is to it. No economy mode, or a whole lot of settings to calibrate.

From a practical standpoint, I’m starting to like 50 lumen projectors. Look at a couple of these pictures. This is not “home theater” but it is doing the job. I really can – see the benefit of projecting a 30 or 40 inch diagonal image in a room with the lights off (or close) and watching a movie. The resolution of an iPad would blow it away, and the color would be better on the iPad, too, but, ya can’t sit the whole family around a sub 10 inch screen!

The point is that the DV20a projector musters enough lumens to do a respectable job, as long as you don’t try to go too large or tackle too much ambient light.

Here are several images:

One light on in the back, while projecting about a 40 inch diagonal image (that is a 106″ diagonal screen).

Sharpness

For a DLP Pico projector, the Optoma Neo-i produced a good sharp image, relative to its 854×480 WVGA resolution. If you really must use the neo-i to do a presentation, sharpness will probably be fine, relative to everything else. Since you probably will keep your image size under 50 inches diagonal, it should look pretty sharp. There are, on the market, a number of higher resolution pico projectors which will appear sharper, but none yet in a package competing with the neo-i projector. Standard DVDs look like one would expect in terms of sharpness (the same resolution as the DV20a.

Business Projector Use

Once again, I should stress that Pico projectors serve a purpose and are not designed to be the projector that handles everything you want to do. They are great for short presentations to a small number of people. A group of 4, give or take 2 people would be a good example. And, they need to be fairly close to the projected image in a fairly dark environment to see the image clearly. In a pinch, when you need to show something on your laptop or iphone to more than two people, a handy Pico would do just the trick. The neo-i would be particularly good, if you want to present, with some sound.

Light Leakage

Although very slight, and not an issue at all for a pico class projector, the internal optical design of the neo-i does seem to very, very, slightly blur the whole image. We’ve seen drastically worse examples on some picos. Technically all projectors (using optical lenses…) are going have some internal scatter, which ultimately results in some optical softness. I probably shouldn’t even have mentioned this. In this regard, it performs like their PK301, which would be expected. I don’t even think I bothered to mention it in that review.

Audible Noise

The neo-i does have a fan and that means some audible noise. According to Optoma’s data sheet, they claim 25 db. From playing with the DV20a – the Neo-i, for a couple of weeks now, I’m prepared to say, that the overall noise seems a bit louder than that 25 db, but we do not attempt to measure. From a practical standpoint, I’d say that it’s making about as much noise as some much larger projectors around here, that are claiming 28-30 db. The numbers don’t really matter. Consider fan noise to be there, but actually slightly lower than found on a number of $1000 plus home theater projectors, so I wouldn’t sweat it – no problem!

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