LED Projector Review – Optoma PK101 Pico Projector

Working with the iPhone, and other compatible phones, as well as portable game machines and devices that can support it, is a significantly more logical market.

The Optoma Pico is the first pico projector I’ve had a chance to review, so I’m not prepared to determine how good a value it is, nor can I clearly say how it differs from the competition. That said, over the next two months, I plan to review at least three additional pico projectors from other brands. Once I have reviewed four of them, I will also assemble an article comparing them, and which are better for different user applications.

Ultimately, the main attraction of the Pico is its tiny size and light weight, as well as being battery operated. The Pico comes standard with two batteries (they are about the size of a cell phone battery). One goes in the unit, the other, a spare.

I find that the projector can produce a respectable image in a mostly darkened room of 10 to 30 inches diagonal. Fully darken the room and you can go larger. At one point I projected a 58 inch wide image (almost 80 inches diagonal). Even in a fully darkened room, the image appeared very dim. Sufficient to say, at that sized image, it’s not something I would want to watch for any period of time. In a fully darkened room, however, the Pico does a decent (but hardly bright) job on a 30 inch diagonal image. Drop the image size down to about 12 inches diagonal (just a touch smaller than the average laptop screen, and the Pico can work reasonably well in a room with low lighting.

Projector Lamp Life

Thanks to the small (and cool running) LED light source, Optoma rates the life of the LED light as 20,000 hours – roughly 8 to 10 times the life of most traditional projector lamps. This means that there is no significant cost of ownership to figure in.

Includes iPhone adapter

a simple small adapter plugs into the bottom of an iPhone, and from there, with the provided cable, you hook right up to the Pico! It works! Note, with the iPhone, you can view YouTube videos and you can view your photos (when using the slideshow feature). What you cannot do, is view other programs, the main screen of the iPhone, contacts, phone, etc. The same limit of just videos and images should apply to using an iPod.

Audio Built In

The Optoma Pico has a small onboard speaker (let’s make that “tiny”). The sound is at best, modest in volume, and tinny sounding. If you really want some decent volume you’ll need a different solution for your audio. Try a small powered speaker like the ones that many use with today’s desktop computers. Some of those aren’t much bigger than the Pico, but produce far more (and better) sound.

Optoma Pico Projector - Physical Tour

Appearance

It’s tiny, it’s mostly black, with a silver band for styling. Tiny is the operative term. The Pico is small enough that it takes up significantly less space than a pack of cigarettes. It’s actual dimensions are roughly 4 inches by 2 inches by .6 inches. It certainly is a good looking little device.

Everyone who’s stopped by, thinks its really cute!

One nice touch is that the Pico has a small screw hole on the bottom, and comes with a tripod adapter. Screw in the adaptor, and you can then mount the Pico on any tripod with the standard sized threaded screw. Shown here: The Pico mounted to the head of one of my full sized tripods.

Control Panel

What control panel? The Optoma Pico has only the power switch, which can be in Off, Low power, and Full Power. There is also a small mostly recessed dial on the side for adjusting the focus. Looking at the Optoma Pico projector from the back, the power switch is on the left side, the focus, on the right, near the front.

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Optoma Pico Inputs

The Pico has exactly two inputs! One is for a composite video source (a mini-jack that takes in composite video and left and right audio signals. The other is a USB connector which is used to recharge the internal battery. In this image, you can see the provided video cable plugged into the right side of the Optoma Pico PK101.

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