Optoma PK320 Pico Projector Review

Appearance

Only about 4 inches wide, it looks strikingly like a larger projector got caught in the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” ray beam.  Whereas most competitors are shaped more like an iPhone, and very thin, thisPK320, which is a good deal brighter, is a good bit thicker.

No problem, it’s still really easily small enough for a pocket, despite being much brighter than the average competitor.

Starting from the front you will see the lens on the right side. Like most standard projectors, it has a focus knob on the lens. The front also is an exhaust screen for the heat developed by the LED lamp.

 

PK320 Inputs

The rear of the projector houses all the interface elements except for one. From left to right you will find a Universal input output port for a variety of sources. Sources include VGA from your laptop, a signal from your cellphone such as the iphone. Special adapters are required. Next is a mini HDMI port for HD video. There is also a DC input which will necessary if you want to run the projector in its Bright Mode setting. Although there is a small 1 watt on-board speaker setup, the projector comes with a mini dim audio input and output. If your planning to load a presentation into the projectors internal memory, you also can use the Micro USB port or the MicroSD card slot on the side of the projector.

By the way, if you are using the HDMI port, choose your Mini-HDMI cable or HDMI-HDMI-mini adapter a bit carefully, at least to make sure the ”plug” isn’t too large.  I went to Radio Shack and bought an HDMI to HDMI-mini adapter which was overly large, but I could barely use it and have the AC power connector plugged in at the same time.  Tight!  Most cables should pose no problem, but adapters are more likely, as they may be wider.

I mentioned one input was not on the back.  That is the SD card slot.  You’ll find that on the the back of the left side (if you are facing the projector).  You can see it clearly (or rather its rubber cover), in the top image on this page.

Control Panel

The PK320 has a new control panel that lights up and is an improvement over the older PK301′s which was perfectly respectable.

Menus

The menu system for the PK320 was pretty straightforward and very graphical based. Below is the main menu.  As you can see, major topics are Video, Music, and Photo from SD, USB sources.  Note there’s also a (Microsoft) Office Viewer built in to read Office documents.

I found the menus take getting used to, but after a while I was navigating rather easily.

Note the different symbols – in Orange, a circle under Video, the “up arrow” in Green, in the Music box, the “down arrow” in Magenta, etc.  These are the same symbols on the PK320′s control panel and on the remote control.

Press the “left arrow” (light blue on the menu), when you have the main menu up, and it takes you (as labeled) to the Input menu, which is immediately above.  Now you can choose from the three inputs for video input, analog computer, or HDMI, or X to return.

I’m impressed that Optoma has loaded the PK320 manual right into the projector for easy access:

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Menus Slideshow

User's Manual Menu

Input Menu

Press the "left arrow" (light blue on the menu), when you have the main menu up, and it takes you (as labeled) to the Input menu. Now you can choose from the three inputs for video input, analog computer, or HDMI, or X to return

Main Menu

Note the different symbols - in Orange, a circle under Video, the "up arrow" in Green, in the Music box, the "down arrow" in Magenta, etc. These are the same symbols on the PK320's control panel and on the remote control.

User Manual

Remote Control

Unlike most Pico projectors, the Optoma PK320 has a remote.

It’s a small credit card sized remote control. You’ll note immediately that it has all the same symbols as the control panel or the menus.  And for further simplicity, you can bypass the menus for source selection and for toggling the Bright mode on and off.

Very handy, especially for a poor reviewer like myself with plenty of things to check out.

This PK320 remote is improved over the PK301′s and has all the matching symbols used on the control panel.

Click Image to Enlarge

Optoma PK320 Lens Throw

The Pico PK320 projector can fill a 16:9 60″ diagonal screen from about 4 feet 1 inch.  Note Optoma says 150″ diagonal at over 10 feet, but that’s really pushing your luck with a 100 lumen projector, even in a pitch dark room.

The projector can be used for very small projection as well, such as projecting a 10 or 15 or perhaps 20 inch image (far larger than, the screen of an iPhone or even an iPad) which makes it a light weight device for viewing photos  and other content from portable devices.  The projector can create an image from as close as 5 inches (8 inches diagonal).

Lens Shift & Setup

No lens shift.The image must be aligned by physically moving the projector. Focus is done by rotating the lens once you have achieved your desired image size.

Working the focus is a bit tricky, only because the ring is so small and a tiny movement does a lot.

Although there is no lens shift for keeping the image correctly rectangular as the projector projects at an upward or downward angle, the projector does offer keystone correction (as virtually all projectors do), which can be adjusted from the control panel (up and down arrows), the menus, or the remote control.  While technically keystone usage adds a touch of softness, it’s in line with this projector’s resolution and abilities.  The PK320 is not the sharpest projector around, but it is typical of pico projectors with the same SVGA resolution.

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