Optoma PK301 Projector - Physical Tour
09/02/2010 - Anthony Arrigo
One of the most interesting characteristics of the Optoma PK301 is the fact that it actually looks like a mini projector. Most Picos actually look like cellphones or have totally unique designs. The Optoma is slightly larger than most most, likely because of its strong resemblance to a standard projector. This size comes with one advantage and that is brightness. 50 Lumens in Bright Mode. Out of the Pico projectors I have reviewed, the PK301 had the brightest and best overall image. However, keep in mind under the standard battery power it produces a manufacturer rated 20 lumens. The projector must be plugged in to AC power to take advantage of the higher lumens. An expansion battery pack can be purchased allowing you to still produce 50 lumens without AC power.
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. The rear of the projector houses all the interface elements. 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 .5 watt on-board speaker, the projector comes with a mini dim audio input and output. If your planning to load a presentation into the projectors internal memeory, you also can use the Micro USB port or the MicroSD card slot on the side of the projector.
Controlling the PK301 has been made very easy because of the intuitive control panel on the top of the projector. It should be noted that although this projector is larger than most Picos, its control panel is not all that more featureful than Pico projectors half its size. The control is backlit and allows the user to control all aspects of the projector.
The menu system for the PK301 was pretty straightforward and very graphical based. I would recommend taking a moment to glance over the manual to really get the hang of all the features. Not all the functions are obvious when you first start to dig deeper into different areas of the system.
Unlike most Pico projectors, the Optoma PK301 has a remote. Considering how close to the projector the user has to generally be to produce an effective presentation, it is nice to have a remote, but I do not feel it provides all that much value to the projector.
Optoma PK301 Lens Throw
The PK301 produces a sufficient size image with the lights out. You must be in a very dark room to produce a vibrant image. 120 inch diagonal image is the widest you can go with the Pico, but generally, due to its brightness, you will have to keep your image size somewhere around 30 inches max diagonal. The min and maximum projection distances are 8 inches and 189 inches. From 189 inches back from the screen you will get the 120 inch diagonal mentioned above. You can however be just 8 inches away from the screen and produce a 5 inch focused image.
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.