Pico Projector Review – Optoma Neo-i DV20a Projector1

For us serious home theater folk, the neo-i is a pretty cool toy – but it’s not real home theater. It can be fun as discussed, but it’s not going to light our fire, just another gizmo to have fun with. Now, teens and young adults that love gizmos… yep, the neo-i will definitely find fans.

While I say “not real home theater”, remember most folks don’t care. Today’s teenagers and young adults are used to playing games, watching movies, and TV programs, and surfing the net, all from their phones. If you can stand to watch Iron Man 2 on a 3 or 4 inch display, you certainly will really like using the neo-i to project the same program out to 30 or 40 or 50 inches!

All considered, while the neo-i wont’ pass muster as “real” home theater, nor as a higher end, higher resolution business projector, there are business people, and others who will choose to use the neo-i, to pull off a very a passable business presentation. Typically that would be a presentation to a couple / few people, in a darkened room.

Back to the brighter side of the neo-i. Despite those two complaints, the neo-i is pretty cool, and very functional. Its 50 lumens are enough! I’ve never been happy with less, and would love to see more, but, hey, it’s a pico projector. There are big projectors if you must have 10 times (or 100 times) the brightness. The neo-i’s sound does the trick. I can fill my 400 sq ft theater room with a reasonable sound level and not sound tinny. That’s impressive. (An output for a really small external subwoofer though would have been sweet.) While the sound is warm and balanced, of course, there’s no deep bass. The bass boost EQ feature adds more boom for a warm sound.

OK, reasonable picture, acceptable brightness, sound that does the trick. Consider that you get that all in a 2.2 pound system, for $449 MSRP in the US. No doubt you can buy them for less. Not bad for a first generation product!

As a result of much viewing and consideration, it looks like another award for another Optoma Pico!

It’s hard deciding on awards for products like this, (one reason we created our Special Interest award 3 years ago), which are the first or one of the first of a new “class” of projectors. We’ve yet to see a direct competitor close up, to compare it to, although WowWee has a competing device, that we are anxious to bring in and review. We certainly haven’t been able to bring in any other picos in larger boxes like this neo-i to review.. We also know from experience, that the neo-i performs visually, much like their own PK301 which we gave our highest – our Best In Class Award, in last year’s Pico Projector Comparison Report.

Ultimately, we are pleased to announce that the neo-i receives our Special Interest award.

The neo-i was also seriously considered for a Hot Product Award, but, those missing inputs – SD card and USB, and no multi-media player, I felt, took something away from the projector. More importantly, the lack of direct competition that we’ve been able to see and review, also makes it difficult. As such, the neo-i will just have to settle for our Special Interest Award, at least until the big annual Pico projector comparison report – 2011 edition due in June. We’ll have some Best In Class awards with that report.

Don’t get me wrong, those wanting to look at their photos or videos from “old fashioned” devices like digital cameras, and camcorders (as well as most phones, and tablets), can do so, in most cases. There’s always the composite video and audio inputs that should work with almost every camera and camcorder out there. Still USB and SD card are often the easiest solutions for non iPhone, iPod type folks.

Who wants a neo-i?

Well, first, probably a lot less people will want this neo-i at a price discounted from $449, than if it sold for under $199. The Optoma DV20a – the neo-i projector, should have a lot of appeal to the younger folks in general – people who like to take and show lots of pictures and videos, be they kids, teens, young adults or even a lot of us older – but fairly tech savvy toy freaks!

neo-i – nice device! My daughter – away at college – she hasn’t seen the neo-i, just the images she processes for the review – I’m pretty certain she would love to have one of these. She loves to show pictures from her iPhone. She takes billions and billions. And now that she’s joined a sorority, a neo-i would make it easier for her to show those photos and videos to a whole suite of sisters, all at one time.

For us serious home theater folk, the neo-i is a pretty cool toy – but it’s not real home theater. It can be fun as discussed, but it’s not going to light our fire, just another gizmo to have fun with. Now, teens and young adults that love gizmos… yep, the neo-i will definitely find fans.

While I say “not real home theater”, remember most folks don’t care. Today’s teenagers and young adults are used to playing games, watching movies, and TV programs, and surfing the net, all from their phones. If you can stand to watch Iron Man 2 on a 3 or 4 inch display, you certainly will really like using the neo-i to project the same program out to 30 or 40 or 50 inches!

All considered, while the neo-i wont’ pass muster as “real” home theater, nor as a higher end, higher resolution business projector, there are business people, and others who will choose to use the neo-i, to pull off a very a passable business presentation. Typically that would be a presentation to a couple / few people, in a darkened room.

Please note, on the image to the right, that the projected image is showing with enough ambient light in the room that you can make out the projector, the table below the screen, and part of the table the neo-i is sitting on. The image shown is almost 50 inches diagonal (you can see some washing out of the image in the darker areas.) The picture is supposed to be a vibrant view of a wood deck and ocean beyond. It looked a lot better with the lights off.

Optoma’s DV20a – or as better known as the neo-i, can be used for gaming, or watching a movie, TV, videos, or images from your computer or DVD player, phone or tablet, and it can, of course be used for music only to play songs from iTunes or your CDs from whatever device has a stereo output.

Of course, you won’t forget the primary purpose of the neo-i as touted by Optoma: Watching and listening to movies and tunes, that you downloaded on your iPhone.

So, have a blast!

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