Optoma PK320 - Review Summary
A bottom line summary of the Optoma PK320 projector's pros and cons and capabilities. Plus, some "simple" answers to a lot of questions, that hopefully will help.
07/07/12 - Art Feierman
Optoma PK320: Bottom Line
I think the Optoma PK320 is the greatest little projector around! That's even though I personally don't really have a need for a pico projector. I really liked the older PK301, but I love this PK320.
OK 100 lumens still isn't a whole lot, but as I mentioned at the start of this review. 100 lumens (ok, actually 110 lumens) was how the portable projector industry got started. If you don't try to force the PK320 into an environment which it's just not big and powerful enough to pull it off, you should love it too.
I wish color was a little better, but play with the controls and you can get acceptable color even for watching movies and for sharing all your photos and videos. I don't recall any other small pico that had noticeably better color and several with color a lot worse.
And yes, you really can do business presentations. True, quality is no match for a $500 projector 10 times its size, and 6 times its weight, but that's the point. Need to present to people in their offices, or in front of just a few people where a 3 or 4 (or even 5) foot screen size is fine, the PK320 will do the trick handily!
If you get the XP8000 or a different external battery pack (there are plenty thanks to iPad, iPod demand for spare batteries) It would seem a charger that can recharge an iPad once, if compatible should be able to power a PK320 for perhaps 2+ hours of viewing!
One major market I've mentioned for this projector would be missionaries and field volunteers of all types- call it worship industry. In my dealer day years ago, we sold hundreds and hundreds of an old "pocket" projector called the PK20 - a Mitsubishi with 50 lumens (far larger projector) to large church organizations to provide to their missionaries and other folks helping out around the world. That PK20 was a huge success, but then those pocket projectors of the day, got brighter, and no more battery capability.
This PK320 should fill that niche beautifully.
This is a Pico projector! It lacks plenty of features of larger projectors. Even when it has some features it may not be the same thing. For example, it has a speaker (tiny but rated 1watt), but that's not exactly big sound. My MacBook Pro is effectively just as good, and almost any larger projector will do much better than the Mac. The sound from the PK320 isn't what I have in mind when watching a music video. Still, I appreciate that it has an audio out, so grab a good, very small, portable powered speaker, and you can do some real audio.
Picture quality is fine for most things. It's not highly accurate, but very usable for personal videos and photos, more than adequate for a real presentation before a couple or three people for business.
Improving features, jumping to 2 Gig, Office document support, pdf, jpg, various video formats and more, the PK320 has few sources and content it can't project, up to its maximum resolution.
Of course there are plenty of other uses, for fun and business.
There are smaller picos, there are laser picos, there are the 2 - 4 pound pocket projectors, that are not 200 to 500 lumens. Plenty for you to choose between.
However, if 100 lumens and battery capability will do good things for you, I can't think of a better thought out, or functional tiny projector.
And for that - our Hot Product award - one I personally think is particularly well deserved.
Optoma PK320 Projector: Pros
- Higher resolution than most Picos at SVGA 854x480
- Has a microSD card slot for loading presentation slides, photos, videos...
- Accepts HDMI
- Has a USB port to read files from
- 45 measured lumens with internal , 102 lumenswith AC power or external battery pack
- AVI, MOV, MP4, 3GP (Common video formats are converted using Optoma Pico Video Encoder*)
- Has a fairly long battery life of 1.5 hours (low power)
- LED light source rated at 20,000 hours
- 16:9 native aspect ratio and supports 4:3
- Software to convert PowerPoint slides into JPG or BMP files.
- High contrast at 3000:1
- Most capable of the small pico projectors to date
- Great for Missionaries in the field
Optoma PK320 Projector: Cons
- 40 or 100 lumens still isn't very bright on any average sized projected image - needs a fairly dark room.
- Battery lasts only 45 minutes or so in brightest (but will last almost twice that long in their "eco" (Standard) mode)
- Not quite as small as most Pico projectors.
- More expensive than many other (less bright) Pico projectors
- No match for entry level traditional projectors which cost no more (but are huge by comparison).
Optoma PK320 Projector: 20 Questions Answered
1) What is the native resolution and what is the max resolution?
Native Resolution is WVGA(854x480) It will accept resolutions up to 720p (1280x720) and WXGA - 1280x800
2) Largest image you can project and how far do you have to be to achieve it?
Technically you can project a 10 foot diagonal image (that's big), unless you want fairly dim image in a dark room. In a well controlled room though a 4, 5 or 6 foot image is very practical and offer a reasonably bright picture.
3) Standard battery life?
Approximately 1 hour. Light weight 3rd party external battery packs can improve on that.
4) Does it have internal memory, and how much?
Yes, has a massive 2 Gig of memory, no wonder it can do all it can, with documents, videos and more.
5) What light source technology does the projector use?
Uses LED light and lasts an estimated 20,000 hours.
6) What is the native aspect ratio and does it support other aspect ratios?
16:9 but does support 4:3 aspect ratios.
7) What's the story on where to place the projector?
As an example, if you want a 60" diagonal image, the front of the projector will be about 50 inches away, a 1.2:1 throw ratio
8) Does it have a remote control?
Yes, it comes with a full featured remote control.
9) Does it have a full featured control panel on the projector?
Yes. You can control all the projectors functions, the graphic icons on the control panel match those on the remote control
10) What type of warranty does it have?
1 Year limited parts and labor. 90 days on the battery.
11) Does it have a focus adjustment?
Yes. However does not have a zoom adjustment. Must be physically moved to produce a smaller or larger image. The focus is rather sensitive.
12) What inputs/ouputs does the projector have?
One input for video signal that accepts a VGA cable, a RCA cable and a micro-USB input too. Also accepts HDMI through a mini HDMI port.
13) Is it compatible with smartphones? Which ones?
Yes, with optional cable. Project images from your iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
14) What files types can be used for a presentation. Document?
JPG's, BMP's. Also can play video formats such as AVI, MOV, MP4, 3GP, and most Microsoft Office documents
15) What light source technology is used in the projector?
The light source is LED technology rated to last 20,000 hours. That's about a decade of 40 hours a week! It should be obsolete years before the light source fails.
16) Will it accept HD video sources and what is the highest resolution it will accept?
The highest resolution it will accept is 1280x800 through the VGA adapter. HD video sources are accepted via the mini HDMI port and will accept a 1080i signal, per Optoma, but I did not have luck with 1080i the one time I tried it before settling on 720p from my PS3.
17) What cables does the projector come with, and WHAT might I need?
The projector comes with one VGA cable to connect your laptop and one RCA cable wiR audioth L/. For S-video you will need an optional cable. Also, a special cable is necessary to connect an iphone, or ipod device. Check with your sales representative before purchase since not all cables are supplied depending on your geographical region.
18) How much outboard memory can be used by the projector?
The projector can accept up to 16GG microSD card.
19) What is the highest brightness in standard mode with just battery and brightness with expansion pack or AC?
Highest brightness is 40 lumens on internal battery. With optional battery pack or AC it can produce 100 lumens in Bright Mode.
20) What environment is this projector best suited to be used in?
Dark environments with little ambient light for best viewing. A much better projector for sharing what you want, with a few people not a large room full of them.
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