Optoma PK320 Pico Projector Review

OPTOMA PK320 PICO PROJECTOR:  Our favorite pico projector to date, thanks to 100 lumens – enough for some real work, runs on built in batteries, AC, or battery pack.  Under $400! Built in media player.  Impressively powerful and tiny.

Optoma PK320 PK320 Projector Highlights

  • 854×480 resolution (same as a standard DVD)
  • Can produce an image 60 inches diagonal from just over 4 feet
  • Onboard media player so you can decode AVI, ASF, WMV and MPG files. As well as MP3, WAV and AAC files.
  • Can display JPG, GIF, PNG and BMP images.
  • Can read Office document formats including DOC, XLS, PPT
  • PDF reader too
  • Has inputs for a microdrive, a mini-hdmi port, computer analog, composite video and more
  • With additional accessories you can connect  Apple iPhones and iPads, iPods and other devices. Also you can connect Microsoft Zune, Sony Playstation Portable and other portable devices.  Will work with Sony PS3 and other Blu-ray players as well (as long as they are set for 720p maximum res)
  • Battery lasts up to 1 hour in Standard Mode
  • .5 watt speaker
  • PK320 should be a great projector for missionaries traveling the world, where there has been tremendous demand for a battery power when needed, bright enough to be really useful, and with lightweight spare batteries available

Optoma PK320 LED Pico Projector - Overview

The Optoma PK320 Pico projector is truly tiny projector, not so much in its size when you compare it to other Pico projectors, but in terms of its appearance. It looks exactly like a micro version of a typical DLP or LCD projector. Tiny doesn’t include its brightness, however.  The PK320 replaces the older PK301, a favorite of mine.  While the older Optoma pico projector produced 50 lumens of light output when plugged in or on external battery, (or 20 on internal battery), the new and improved, but still same sized Optoma PK320 is twice as bright.  OK, 100 lumens isn’t exactly huge, but as I point out elsewhere, the first “mass-market” portable projector weighed 19 pounds and had 110 lumens.

The projector comes with a remote that allows complete control of the projectors functions and the on-screen menu system is pretty staightforward. You also get a lot of accessories with this projector, but keep in mind not all regions will have the same accessories in the box. You will however get all the standard cables like a VGA cable so you can present from your laptop. It also comes with audio and video cables. Sadly lacking is an HDMI to mini-HDMI cable, or an equivalent adapter.   I had to run right out and find one.

 

This is a projector with enough brightness to actually do a small business presentation.  I mean really!  As long as you have decent lighting control and also don’t go too large with the screen.

Want to put up a 4 or 5 foot diagonal image?  Really, this pico sized Optoma PK320 can do a respectable job for a presentation, perhaps some gaming (probably not really fast games like 1st person shooters), or watching a movie.  We’ll discuss all of that.

The PK320 pico projector has a solid state LED light source that should easily outlast the projector, and the level of technology.

Check out the highlights below, some quick specs, the special features, then read on to get a more in depth look at the Optoma PK320.

Optoma PK320 Special Features

Battery Power , AC Power
The projector is powered by a Lithium Ion battery. Projector produces an advertised 40 lumens when using the battery. To achieve Bright Mode with 100 lumens, you must have AC power plugged in or have a battery pack, which is optional. We reviewed one small battery pack recommended by Optoma last year, that’s about the same size as the projector. Click for info on the XP8000 battery pack.

Tripod Mount

The PK320 easily mounts to a tripod for easy setup because of the threaded hole on the bottom of the projector.

LED Light Technology

You never have to replace the lamp. The LED light technology used in Pico projectors means you will most likely buy the latest model before the lamp ever fails.

PK320 Multimedia Player SD and USB inputs

The PK320 doesn’t need a computer, digital camera, camcorder, or a dvd player.  The built in multimedia player will play your images, videos, and more, if input through the USB port, or the built in SD card slot.  This is typical of pico projectors, and a key to keeping things light for many on the road.  No reason why you can’t present your Powerpoint presentation by simply exporting as JPG images, placing on an SD card or USB thumb drive, and popping it into the PK320 projector.

PK320 HDMI Input Discussion

The PK320 has a mini-HDMI input.  It works as advertised, however, one thing to be aware of:   Not all cables will work.  (Optoma does not provide an HDMI-mini cable.)

Today there are some very thin HDMI cables out there pioneered by a company called Redmere.  They sent me several and I’ve been using them at various times for about a year.  Their technology is now sold under many brand names, including, I believe, some Monster cables.  (The actual 10 foot cable, is no thicker than an iPhone charging cable – extremely thin compared to anything else),  (think thinner than a strand of spaghetti).  I normally carry a standard HDMI and one with HDMI on one end and the HDMI-mini on the other, when I travel. I often hook up to room LCDTVs when possible.

A super thin HDMI – HDMI-mini cable that weighs less than an ounce would seem perfect – if it works.  The thing is the technology that helps make it work draws power from the HDMI at the display end (normally power, when needed, is pulled from the source, not the display).  The PK320 apparently doesn’t provide that power at the display end so this smart cable can’t get the juice it needs to work. Bottom line, you’ll need a more standard thickness and weight cable

More in inputs on the Tour page (next)

Audio
Has a 1 watt speaker which won’t rock anyone’s house, but there is also a 3.5mm audio headphone jack.  If you want more audio, feed the output of the headphone jack to a powered speaker (there are some pretty impressive very small ones), or a regular audio system, then you can rock the house.

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