Optoma Pico – Overall Color & Picture Quality

Optoma Pico - Overall Color & Picture Quality

The Optoma Pico leaves much to be desired overall, if you are comparing it to larger projectors, especially home theater models, but even compared to basic, entry level 3LCD business projectors. The primary weakness is that the image is overly saturated. Colors are ok, but hardly great. Everything for the most part appears a bit over the top.

On the other hand, it’s ability to produce bright reds and yellows – normally a weakness of DLP business projectors, isn’t bad for this tiny DLP projector. You won’t be buying the Pico for its image quality, but, rather for it’s size and portability. Don’t set your expectations too high, but sure, you may well enjoy watching a movie on it, if you keep the screen size small (typically 20 to 50 inches diagonal, in a darkened room. As you can see in the image above, the blue of the Thunderbird, is nice and rich, but you can also see the oversaturated, contrasty, and too dark, skin tones when you look at Kelsey Grammer’s face. As I have said, watchable, but not home theater quality.

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Optoma Pico Projector: Performance, HDTV, TV and Sports

Again, the primary weaknesses are oversaturated colors, and limited brightness. If you can live with both of those, the Pico should serve you nicely, for watching TV, including sports. Since the only signal you can feed the Pico is composite video, you certainly can’t expect HDTV quality performance. Still, as with movies, in a pinch, the Pico can do a decent job of projecting your favorite football game, or TV show on to a wall, when you are traveling.

When it comes to gaming, I’m not much help. I briefly put up Carbon Canyon (auto racing) from my PS3, and it worked reasonably well, but truth is, I’m not a gamer (that’s one of only two games I even own for my PS3s). I plan to try out some of my sports games that I have for my Wii, but haven’t gotten to that yet. I will comment after I have had a chance. Some hand held game machines such as the PSP 3000 do have a composite video output, and will work with the Pico. The popular Nintendo DS, however does not.

Optoma Pico - Performance

Optoma Pico PK101 Brightness

Optoma claims a massive 11 lumen output for the Pico. Eight to twelve lumens is about what most of the manufacturers are claiming. We measured the Pico and it hit its claim.

The Optoma Pico actually measured 11.1 lumens set for full brightness, and dropped to 7.3 lumens in the standard brightness setting. Unless battery life is an issue, I can’t imagine anyone using the low brightness setting.

This photo (right) shows an image projected from the Optoma Pico, approximately 30 inches diagonal. The image is from the movie Down Periscope – standard DVD) with the room darkened. This shot gives you a pretty good idea of how little ambient light is present in the room, mostly light leaking in from the closed blinds below the screen and reflecting off of the walls.

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Sharpness

There are two limitations affecting the sharpness of the Pico. The first is its inherent, relatively low resolution – half of VGA (480×320), (similar to many newer smart phones in terms of resolution – including being the same as the Apple iPhone, which it can work with. The second limitation, the focus and lens combination. The focus itself has very little play in it, and it is very hard to get it to its sharpest. That said, if you keep the distance from your screen fixed – such as using the Optoma Pico with a mini-tripod, and fiddle with it a bit, you can hone in and get it as sharp as it is capbable of.

Light Leakage

None!

Audible Noise

Completely silent. No fan, no moving parts (other than the manual focus and volume controls).

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