Optoma PK320 - Image Quality
07/07/12 - Art Feierman
Optoma PK320 Pico Projector - Picture Quality
It's a trade-off. The picture quality of the PK320 projector is about what I expect from pico projectors. I say that because, truth is, "real" - or rather, conventional and larger projectors, consistently have much better image quality than any of the really small picos. We've seen some better color coming from the 250 to 500 lumen pico projectors but nothing that really is competitive with, say a $399 LCD projector with the same WVGA resolution (if you can still find some, that resolution is pretty much history in the business and education worlds - around only in projectors bought years ago).
Photo above, photographed in a fairly dark (not completely) with a 40" diagonal screen size. PK320 running plugged in (100 lumens).
As you can see, colors are very saturated, often too saturated. There is no color saturation control to adjust, but you will find that increasing the brightness tends to reduce all that contrast.
Another comment I'd like to make is if you put up a light gray image, such as a test pattern, you will notice a slight shift in the tint from one side of the screen to the other. Of course, that would be less noticeable when viewing real content. Still, pretty good for a pico projector!
Colors should be fine for presentations, and very casual watching of movies, TV etc. Besides the brightness control, there's one for gamma. This PK320 pico projector has more controls than the older PK301.
Color handling really isn't bad. You have two choices for color settings. I've tried both. One of them definitely exudes too much yellow green. The other seems to shift more to pink/red, as you will see in the images. I took the majority of screen photos with the setting that's yellow heavy throughout the review. I indicate which are the "red" setting.
The images above and below were otherwise shot the same way, except for which of the 2 PK320 color settings was used. You can easily see that the image above is strong on yellow green, while below, the same image is heavy on red.
One more from Star Wars with the reddish push.
The Optoma PK320 does accept an HDMI signal with an optional mini HDMI to mini HDMI cable. It comes with a standard A/V cable to accept RCA video. I primarily used the projector with HDMI sources for video viewing. That included both my Sony PS3, with resolution set to 720p - the highest the Pico PK320 can accept, and also my Mac and iPad. Actually the PK320 can also accept the similar WXGA resolution (1280x800), and also from my iPad and MacBook. I did not try a lower resolution, composite video source, although I probably should have. When I had the older PK301, I definitely used composite video sources with no issues, while traveling with it for fun.
If video is your primary use for a projector and you really want it looking like a home theater projector with accurate skin tones etc., then figure the small Pico projectors are not going to get the job done the way you like. If the kind of color seems reasonable, then go for it. If presenting, and you just need to use video infrequently, and you don't want to carry around a far larger projector, the PK320's video capability should suffice, but certainly consider a more expensive standard projector with much higher lumens.