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Optoma ML550 - Summary

Posted on July 16, 2013 by Eric Pfoutz

Optoma ML550 - Bottom Line

The bottom line on the Optoma ML550 is that it is a very satisfactory projector with brightness and picture quality to make it a great choice. If you are the type of traveler that loves powerful in a very tiny package then Optoma has done an excellent job in combining all these characteristics. At 500 lumens of light output the projector is going to provide an excellent image in a darker environment, and a very acceptable image if you have lights on in the room. The picture won't pop like a projector with brightness in the 2500+ range, but it will be suitable for sharing your message with a small crowd of 15 or so. Maybe more.

Picture quality, being that the native resolution is 1280x800, is pretty nice. Small type of 10pts, or greater, was very clear and distinct. Even pushing the projector to its max resolution of 1680x1050 was good enough for sharing information on a spreadsheet. I wouldn't be able to recommend this to those that spend long hours with spreadsheets in a meeting setting, but for short, stints of sharing and editing spreadsheet data, it would be just fine.

Lamp life is a non-issue when it comes to the Optoma ML550 LED Projector. Expect up to 20,000 hours of use. You won't replace the lamp with this unit. You basically will be ready to buy the latest model by the time this unit is at the end of its life.

The inputs included with the ML550 are plenty. You will need an adapter if you plan to present composite material from a VCR, but this is not very common, so the HDMI and universal I/O input should be more than adequate. I should note again that the ML550 does not have  a standard VGA input. It has a universal I/O input. The projector does come with the special cable you will need to hook up your VGA cable to your computer. Keep in mind that you will need that cable to use this projector with your computer if your computer does not have a HDMI output.

One final characteristic to talk about regarding this projector is its on-board memory and ability to display file formats like Excel spreadsheets and adobe PDF files. So you won't need a laptop if you just plan to display imagery during your presentation. It can all reside on the projector. Although there were some issues with this feature which you can read about in the "Physical Tour" section of this review.

Optoma ML550 Pros

  • Produces 500 lumens of light output in a really tiny package measuring 4.1ʺ x 1.5ʺ x 4.2ʺ
  • 10,000:1 Constrast Ratio
  • Expect up to 20,00o hours of lamp life from the LED light source
  • Supports HDMI input
  • Able to read all these movie file formats: .avi, .mkv, .divx, .ts, .dat, .vob, .mpg, .mpeg, .mov, .mp4, .rm, .rmvb, .wmv
  • Has Microsoft Office viewer that can display PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and .pdf
  • 3D capable when displaying content from a PC.
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Optoma ML550 - Cons

  • For VGA input you will always need the universal I/O cable
  • Has a proprietary power supply that makes the projector a little less portable
  • The file viewer is not as user-friendly as it could be, but it is currently being updated by the Optoma to work more smoothly
  • Is not an ideal projector for very large auditoriums, however at one time in the history of projectors 500 lumens was used in this setting
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This projector review is included in our 2014-2015 Best Classroom Projectors Report, which is sponsored by Epson America.

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