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Showing 1-10 of 139 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 171 reviews
on June 29, 2012
--Start of update on 1/22/2013
For the past few months, i have noticed that the video randomly goes blank, it displays "searching..." and the video comes back again. At first i thought it was not the projector. Later, i contacted customer rep and they said it's a HDMI bug (i should use shorter cables). But, i see the problem continues with all types of HDMI and VGA cables with different sources (laptop & cable box).

I am waiting for customer service to respond.
--End of update on 1/22/2013

This projector is worth buying. I am difficult at liking anything but this is a good projector.

+ Fan noise does make noise. It is not much and you don't hear anything when playing a video.
+ Video clarity is good. I don't see distortion or fuzzy pixels at all.
- BIG issue : Using SD/USB disk option is good as no wires, but no audio outpput makes this meaningless (inbuilt speakers are meek)
- When watching cable, if channel's resolution has changed then it tries to re-detect. Sometimes, it never finds, screen remains blank.
solution is hit HDMI again on the remote.
- There needs to be an option to buy warranty to protect this investment
- My Laptop --> USB --> Projector option to display laptop video didn't work. Customer Service is not able to solve this problem.

Note: Attached youtube video is a bit misleading. Projected video does not have any fuzzy pixels.
It is damn clear picture. I think the low lighting makes my Sony camera to creates a bit of fuzziness.

Note: Light coming from the projector illuminates the entire room

Note: Best results are when room is dark. Video is watchable is semi-dark / afternoons with blinds closed too.
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on November 13, 2016
Ok I know that for the time I had this projector I could be able to give my opinion on the Optoma ML500. I have my for about 2 years and let me tell you that i don't have any problems with it since I bought it
This was the best buy i ever did,the colors is beautiful and the picture is amazing i been watching movies on this on my 100 inch screen and is like being in the theater because I have my connected to my surround sound it sound amazing for the price that I pay I cannot complain. So if you not sure which one to buy ill tell you now that you will not go wrong with this one.I know that there are other in the market better and more expensive but like I said I pay a good price on this one brand new and I am very happy with it.so I just hope that this will eliminate some of your worry trust me you will not go wrong or regret it
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on December 4, 2012
I have had a horrible experience with the HDMI input on this projector.

The first projector I got, my HDMI signal would drop about once every hour, where the screen would go black and it would start searching for signals.
I thought it could be my computer or cable since my cable is 25ft. When I went back to my parent's for thanksgiving, I tried their 6ft HDMI and laptop, but same issue occurred.

I got an exchange for a second projector. I had the same issue with this projector, and also the remote control died the second day. I confirmed that it was not a dead battery for the remote. I then bought the 25ft BlueRigger cable thinking that maybe all of the cables I have used have issues, but nope, same issue even with this new cable.

I got an exchange for a third projector (Because of the dead remote).This time I decided to take my roommate's PS3 and his HDMI cable that he uses for his TV. The SAME issue occurs.

Can you imagine playing a game and all of a sudden your screen turns black for 6 seconds while it tries to find signal?

I called Optoma and they recommended me to send in this projector so they can check it out, but I don't see the point of sending this in when I have had the same issue with 3 projectors. I would just be wasting money on shipping.

Only thing I could find online was get a better cable, but my BlueRigger cable did not help.
I also saw a few suggestions to turn off auto-source and only enable HDMI input, but they did not help.
I only had this issue with HDMI.

Besides the HDMI issue, I did not like the sleep timer on this projector. Once the time is up, it automatically turns off the project, whereas for my old Viewsonic projector, it will give you at least 5 seconds to press any key before it shuts off.

Pros:
-VGA cable and wireless worked great, so I'm at least giving this a two star.
-For 500 lumens this is plenty bright. It is brighter than the previous Viewsonic Short throw projector (Non-LED) that I owned, because I couldn't even use the Viewsonic during the daytime, but it supposedly had like 4x the lumens of this projector.

Anyways, 5 stars to Amazon for being very helpful with all of these exchanges.
I am returning this projector and I am going to try my luck with another projector.

EDIT:: I have used the Acer K330 projector for two days without HDMI signal dropping, it seems like it was an issue with the Optoma projector. Will give more updates later.
EDIT2:: I can confirm that I have 0 signal drop issues with the K330 after using it for a few weeks.
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on February 19, 2014
We've had ours for 19 months now. It was so much fun, not perfect, but we worked around the limitations like no audio output. I think the upgrades have that now. Last weekend it went dim. I mean really dim, almost can't see it in a dark room dim. Now this is a LED projector!!! I researched exhaustively before making my selection. LED projectors are supposed to give 20,000 hours of bright light minimum. And there's no way to replace the bulbs because of this. I figure we have no more than 1600 hours on this thing (being generous here). So I called Optoma. They told me that because we use it almost everyday, that this is not "casual use." They claim that somewhere in the warranty it states that this projector is only for "casual use." "The electronics are too delicate" they said, "to even be turned on for 10 minutes everyday. It just wasn't meant to be used like that." WOW! Can you believe this!!??!! Neither can I. Furthermore, I was told that it would cost $85 if I send it to them for them to diagnose it. which would be waived if I do the repair and that's not too bad. But was also told "it would probably be cheaper to just buy another one." I feel like I got ripped off. And I feel like they misrepresented their product. You don't shout from the rooftops that it lasts for 20-30,000 hours and then somewhere in the teeny tiny print say that you can only use it occasionally or "casually." I mean for crying out loud, it comes with a carrying case because it is built to travel on a regular basis for business presentations. So the baggage handlers at the airport can toss it around inside your suitcase. But heaven forbid that you turn it on everyday; that's just too much!!
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on August 12, 2015
I have been using this for a little over 3 years now. Still works, still bright. I see that the price from this seller is nearly double. It does have a design drawback. I do get the fan error every now and then. I have two ways that have worked for me. I run a vacuum cleaner through the different vents while trying to start it up. This helps dislodge some dirt and get the fan moving again. The error comes from an inner fan for the lamp. And not for any of the outer fans that lie by the vent. So you have to use some good pressure vacuuming and turn it on/off multiple times to clear the dirt.

Another way that has also worked is to just repeatedly keep turning it back on as soon as it goes off. My theory on how this works: As you keep turning it on and the fan doesn't work, the heat builds up. Eventually the sensor beefs up the fan's power to run faster and this gets the fan going. But patience is key. In some cases I've had to turn it back on upto 12 times or more.

I am still giving it 4 stars based on price and affordability. I am not going to expect top of the line features at this price. Brightness is 500 lumens and it works well with curtains closed in my house. I will eventually get something brighter however. Another drawback is the lens. The focus is not great. When the center of your frame is focused, the edges are slightly out of focus. This is going to be an issue with most small lenses.
3rd drawback, no zoom option, only focus. So I had to position the mounting where I could get the unit to throw my required size.
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on July 10, 2013
I spent a lot of time tossing between this and the AAXA version. In the end, I picked this one as it was clearly 500 lumens. The AAXA, I have since discovered, is 450 Lumen (AAXA aren't very good at communicating it would seem), had I known at the time I would have probably bought that one.

4 stars because I would have liked this to have 3D (although 3D scares me). The latest version does have 3D though, so make sure you get that one.

As far as birghtness goes, I find that with *yellow* (ie not daylight-like) lights, the picture holds up marvellously. The room it is in has 170 watts of light from the ceiling (is about 500 sq ft) and with the lights on the projector image is still crisp and perfectly fine for viewing. With the lights off for spooky movies in the dark (and if you have the lights on when you watch one you're cheating anyway) it is extra lovely.

HOWEVER ~ sunlight or natural-daylight bulbs absolutely murder the image. With modest sunlight filtering into the room the image is quite washed out - still watchable, but less fun. With full sunlight forget about it.
Curiously, natural-light bulbs have a similar effect on the picture quality.

If you were watching slides with no music and nobody talking, the whirrr of the projector might get to you. For anything else - even watching a movie with the volume quite low - the whirrr is drowned out.

I also like the little adjustable leg in the front that lets you alter the angle of the projector! If you can find a projector with a "throw" or "zoom" for the lens built in that will probably make your life easier, but the lack of one on this isn't a big deal.

I use an 80" screen, which works fine with the projector on the coffee table in front. With it behind I presumably could hit 120" or so (but then i'd be sitting too close to the screen to enjoy it).
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on December 17, 2013
Purchased in January 2012 from Amazon, and paid 587.99. Item description is clear that it does not have an audio output, so I knew this when I bought it.

Over this long-term use, the main hassle I've had with the device is a lack of an audio output jack when I'm using the HDMI input. An earphone jack would be perfect for this. I knew it didn't have it, but this missing element became a bigger hassle than I had originally envisioned. Those of you who have an entertainment system receiver that allows you to split HDMI input into separate audio and video should have no problem, however, since having such a thing would let you send your sound elsewhere when picking the Optoma ML500 as the video output.

The other hassle is that the input jacks are so close together that using the Component Video to VGA adapter blocks the HDMI from potentially staying connected, even with an elbow connector. However, that hassle is not being expressed in my 4 star rating for this product.

I don't have a photometer, but I can tell you that my light (no pun intended) use over the year has not resulted in a dimmed image that I can perceive versus when it was new.
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on January 4, 2016
I purchased this projector in Aug 2012. I was very excited because it seemed like a perfect entry level projector. Instead of buying a 42 in TV I bought this for about the same price. It is Jan 2016 and my projector has died after moderate use. I watch movies on it maybe 2 or 3 times a week. I don't remember the exact count but there were less than 3000 hours on the bulb. One of the main reasons I purchased this projector was for the 20,000 hours advertised. I thought that the LED bulb would last for a very long long time, that was not the case. I don't know if the bulb died or some other component but one day last week while watching a movie the picture suddenly became very dim. Within a few minutes I could barely see the screen. I would not recommend this projector to anyone.
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on February 18, 2013
I've wanted a projector for a while and finally decided to splurge on one. After finally narrowing it down to either the Epson EX 5210, Viewsonic PJD 5133, and this I decided to go with the ML500. Here's why

Lamp life:

The epson and viewsonic were rated 4000 - 6000 hours with each replacement bulb running approx $200(USD). If you were to use it for 7hrs per day everyday the lamps would need to be replaced every two years. While 7 hours a day everyday sounds like a lot, I plan on using my projector as my main source for video and gaming.

What I liked about the ML500 is that it uses LED's which a) require less power to turn on and b) last alot longer. These lamps are rated for 20,000 hours, which given the previous formula I should get about 5 years out of a single bulb that costs $200. So I went from having to spend $100 a year to about $40.

Picture quality:

I'm not a videophile by any stretch of the imagination so I'm sure that there are finer points that I'm missing but from the picture quality I'm looking at right now I'd give it a 10. I grew up on CRT tv's so this is a huge leap forward to me. The screen right now is about 70 - 80 inches with an aspect ratio of 16:10. I have my xbox hooked up via hdmi and run my games and movies through that. I love it. The colors are really good and crisp. I should mention I don't have a projection screen I'm just projecting the video on my peach colored living room wall. It works well but I feel I should make note.

With a native resolution of 1280x800 it can handle 720p no problem. Like I said above the picture quality is really well. I have the projector set up about 8 or 9 feet from the screen. Make sure to check how far away from the wall this projector will be. According to the distance calculator on Optoma's website, after about 10 feet the image quality suffers a bit.

Brightness:

500 lumens doesn't sound like a lot especially against the epson and viewsonic models I mentioned earlier. I've heard multiple reviewers both here and around the web saying that lumen count shouldn't really be taken at face value. I'd take that advice, for "only" 500 lumens this thing is pretty bright. I can have the lights on in the other rooms spill into the living room and not have the image washed out. That being said these projectors were made for dark environments so the image will look a lot better with less light.

Currently I have the projector set to ECO mode which dims the lamp and extends the life the LEDs. Still pretty well lit.

UI:

Super simple to navigate. I didn't read the user manual and was able to figure out how to tweak the settings without much problem.

So why not 5 stars?

Well one thing that irked me was the focus dial. It's flush with the system to the point it where someone wouldn't even know it was there. Getting it to focus can be a little jarring. The epson and viewsonic have a much better and easier to use one. Hell, the ML300 has a better one, and the 500 is suppose to be a step up!

The audio only comes out of a single 2watt speaker on the side. I know this is primarily a business device meant for small office meetings, and I'm not saying its terrible, its just ok. I do plan on getting a set of speakers and running them through my xbox. I currently have the volume anywhere from 9 to 12 which works great. Any higher and I risk running into that crackle sound when things get loud. The speaker just wasn't meant for watching action movies

No cover for the lens. I mean come on, for the price you could at least throw in a round plastic cover.

So yeah, if your looking for a really well done entry level projector I would highly recommend you consider this. Price is on the higher end of the scale but, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Its portable, comes with its own case, produces a very good high quality image.

Its not without its short comings but overall I think its well worth the price. Just go on youtube and check out the video reviews of it in action, thankfully there are plenty to be found.

**Update**

I've had this unit for a few weeks now and just wanted to give another few points.

I received the speakers I ordered and run the audio out through my xbox. Highly suggest if you can to get external speakers and running it through the source. I bought my speakers for about $40 and love it, the quality is well worth the extra $.

Angling is very important. I have the projector about six inches away from the center. Mostly this gets the job done but if you can notice the left top edge is a bit out of focus, if I try to manually focus it then the bottom right edge becomes out of focus.

DO NOT HOOK UP A HARD DRIVE TO THIS UNIT! That may have been a little too much let me explain. I really wanted to be able to hook up an external hard drive loaded with all my movies and shows so I didn't have to connect it to my laptop. I tried to connect my 1TB drive and it wasn't recognized. After searching the internet I learned that a lot of tv's and projectors don't recognize the format that the external hdd are under. After a bit of trial and error I was able to format the drive correctly. I loaded up all my movies and tv shows ( well most, for whatever reason mkv files aren't recognized now). Well I forgot one small thing. The audio still runs through the projector. I feel like a total idiot for overlooking this. So I now have to connect my hdd to the laptop which is connected to the projector and connect the speakers to the laptop to watch my movies. Slight pain but worth it for the surround sound.

I will still keep the rating the same because I still enjoy the unit and its ability, just wanted all to get a well rounded idea.
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on February 19, 2013
UPDATE: Its been about 18 months of owning this projector and 1500 hours of use, and this workhorse still runs great. I haven't had to do any maintenance. There is some dust in fan vents which i clear with a cloth from time to time but apart from that I didnt have to do anything to keep this running. This projector has definitely reduced my urge to go to movie theaters , instead I am finding myself watching movies on netflix/hulu/hbo go from my apple tv at 1080p in the quiet comfort of my home.

ORIGINAL REVIEW:
I have to admit I own this projector just for a day and I am blown away by the quality of picture from ML500. I tried a no-name projector(digitalgalaxy) and optoma playtime (pt100)projectors so my expectations are in place. The projection from ML500 is great for a LED projector.

Pros:

-> extremely bright for a LED projector. I can watch it with lights on.
-> lots of tuning options
-> 500 lumen
-> nice little remote ,works great.
-> onboard firmware that can read usb drives and sd cards
-> small foot print of projector.its slightly bigger than a VHS cassette
-> included carry on bag
-> very bright picture and vivid colors. very natural picture with hdmi

Cons:
The projection is upwards meaning you would need a small tripod if you want to project the picture at same level.
not really a con, but the fan noise is of a little high pitch. its not heard when using my 2.1 home theater.

Update: After 2 months of ownership, I still find this product awesome. I even got 3D working with this projector and watched 3d avatar on a 150 inch screen. I bought generic active shutter dlp glasses for 20 bucks on amazon, and connected my samsung laptop with intel HD300 graphics card using VGA cable to projector. downloaded stereoscopic player and was able to play 3d blurays on my laptop to projector.
so far i have used 400 plus hours on projector. still going strong.
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