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on July 11, 2010
I bought this to replace the TV in my bedroom that was moved to my living room (a 42") when my living room Toshiba 52" LCD (14 months old-don't buy a Toshiba flat panel TV) died. I originally bought the PK-201. My complaint with that and the reason I returned it was that the focus had issues. It always seemed like one side was focused and the other corner wasn't. Well, the PK-301 exceeded my expectations. The picture is huge. It claims it will go to 120", but I am about 100" with my throw. Not sure what the max throw is. I didn't see that spec. I am using it in my bedroom (yes I said bedroom) and it is projecting on my wall. I have Dish Network plugged in with the Mini-HDMI input (cable was not included). Picture quality is amazing, especially considering I am using my bedroom white wall as the screen! The focus works much better and is easier to dial in than the 201, as it has a nice ring on the lens. I didn't have to adjust the color as it looks great. I only have 2 complaints and they are actually tied together.
Complaint #1-The power button on the side of the projector is too small. It's very tough to turn on and off, especially without moving the unit out of it's place from the mini tripod it's sitting on.
Complaint #2-No remote. It should have came with a remote. They do sell one separately but it's not a great remote, yet it's useful. There's no on button on the remote, only an off. Weird, I know.
Now I know most people aren't using this for a TV in their house, but every projector should have a remote, regardless.
Brightness is pretty good on it, although you really need a dark room to fully enjoy the quality of the picture.
Looked up the life expectancy of the projector/bulb, and amazingly it's 20,000 hours of use. If I use this 3 hours a day, that's about 18 years. Pretty impressive. My $1200 Toshiba lasted 14 months.
If it came with the remote, I would have given it 5 stars.
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on October 10, 2010
I use this projector for video and image files. In my opinion, it is best suited for impromptu displays for groups of 5 people or less. I always load all my materials on a 16GB class 6 Micro SD card which I leave plugged into the projector. I seldom use it connected to my linux gear, tho it works fine with all my 'nix machines including my Nokia N900. It's great for quickly displaying something on a white board in someone's cubicle. You don't need a lot of complicated equipment and a laptop because everything is thoughtfully self-contained.

Although software does come with the projector for converting PowerPoint presentations to a portable format that can be loaded to an SD card (as well as converting videos), I don't use that software because it's for windows and I'm not a windows user.

The PK301 is larger than my 3M Pro120 with greater resolution and a significantly brighter/sharper picture. I don't notice any of the rainbow effects that are sometimes a nuisance on my 120. It throws a 32 inch diagonal 16x9 aspect picture from 4ft away which is bright enough to be enjoyed in most office lighting conditions (overhead florescent). Usually, I'm just holding the projector at belly button height. The focus-ring is great and makes it easy to get a tack-sharp picture. You can operate all the controls with your thumbs because they are centered on the top of the machine with the exception of the on/off button which is on the side. It accepts a camera tripod (not included), and I bought a mini-one to set on a desk/table top for when I connect to my netbook or something.

Battery life is much, much less than the 3M (I get about 30-40 mins), but unlike many projectors, you can use the power cord while the projector is running for unlimited working time.

I use Mpeg 4 video formats with this projector when playing programs from the Micro SD card. I experimented with several tweaks and bit rates and discovered that the internal video player software cannot play variable bit-rate MP4 encodings. It does, however, play constant bit rate, quality, or quantization videos very well. I settled on MP4, Level 5, 720x408p (yes, 408 - remember it's 16x9), 29.97fps, constant quality 13, with 128kbps AAC 48khz audio. You need a class 4 or above SD card because the video will stutter if played from a class 2.

While you're playing a video, the < and > buttons allow for RR and FF, and the up and down buttons control the volume. The remote (sold separately here at Amazon) has an additional volume control on it as well as a mute button. You can shut off the projector from the remote, but you cannot turn it on. And order yourself a CR2025 lithium battery for the remote (it doesn't come with a battery). I got mine at Target, but they can be hard to find.

And at the end of the day I set the projector on the hotel nightstand and flip the tripod head to vertical. Then I can lie in bed and watch a movie or music videos on a 50" video picture projected on the ceiling (which is almost always white in hotels). I can shut off the projector and there's no lingering cooling fan to keep me awake.

--- UPDATE

The internal media player cannot play Video files > 2,048MB. If a movie exceeds that, the directory shows a negative size (meaning the code doesn't use long integers) and you'll get an error message about an unrecognized format. You must break the movie into smaller files or reduce your encoding quality to constrain the movie to 2GB.

--- UPDATE

This projector finally failed. It was a rather slow death. The image started to display a few dead pixels. They eventually spread until the picture was unusable. It did this over a period of three days, which was good because it gave me a chance to make other arrangements rather than just quiting in the middle of a presentation.
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on September 3, 2010
Hello folks.

I got my PK301 about a month ago. I chose this model for two reasons. The size and the brightness of the illumination from the device. After getting my device I made some discoveries.

the battery that comes with the device will last around an hour. so be quick with your presentations. if you happen to buy the remote control you will need to know 2 things. there is not an ON button on the remote. and it is an infrared remote control. The infrared sensor is on the back of the PK301; so you will need to either stand behind the unit or place some sort of reflective device behind it.

The PK301 focuses very well, has a very sharp image, and the color is very vivid.

The brightness of the unit is great for screens that do not have any room lighting reflecting off it. If there is any room lighting reflecting off a white screen. you will not see the projected image very well. As long as the screen has no extra lighting on the screen, the projection works very well.

It will project a screen up to 59 inches and keep the quality of the image.

The PK301 has software stored on the onboard memory for the device. I would suggest installing but don't bother with upgrading the software. If you upgrade the software you will not be able to upload power points to the unit. at least not without using a work around. the work around being that you use PowerPoint to save the presentation slides as separate .jpg images. oh and the serial number for your software comes with the packaging. so do not throw away your cheesy directions.

I like this unit and I will still use it in smaller presentation rooms. as for large rooms I need more Lumens from the lighting. a Larger unit will be much more useful.

If you're thinking of using this for in your room personal theater, this is a good unit. just remember to keep the lighting in the room in mind before buying one.
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on April 26, 2012
I purchased this almost two years ago for occasional media sharing at work and for watching movies with friends. It's an impressive little projector, very bright in low light. At 50 lumens I have no complaints; it looks pretty good and in complete darkness it's amazing. Battery life is not as good as it claims. Mine was particularly short because since the projector came out of the box I had issues with the charger, but it was so portable and the picture so good that I didn't consider it an issue. Another thing is the fact that the info makes you believe you can just copy videos and presentations to a memory card and play them. This is not so. You have to convert them via the software included. Converting a 2 hour movie can take up to six hours. I tried it twice and the resulting files ended up being corrupt after hours of waiting, so I just stopped trying to convert large video files and just plug my laptop or player to the projector when needed. Another issue I almost forgot to mention is the ridiculously short universal cable which is used to connect it to the computer. This cable only lasted a year, after which I had to start wriggling it around in order to get the colors right. Unfortunately it's not very easy to replace and it's pretty expensive for a cable.

Now for the really big issue: those other reviews complaining about dead pixels are 100% right. My projector can't have seen more than 100 hours of use all combined over the last year and a half (I don't use it for movies all that much), and yet the LED is basically dead. 20,000 hours? Yeah, right. The device is not even two years old, it's been well-cared for and used only every once in a while, yet more than half the screen is covered in black and white pixels. It started happening while watching a movie. I suspect it may have something to do with the fact that a while back I used it to project a still image for over 20 minutes. It may have killed it. I know it should have been able to handle it, but mine didn't, so take that into account if you're planning on using it that way.

In spite of everything I still think this is a splendid gadget, highly convenient and admired by all who see it in action. I would buy this device again, but I would very (VERY) strongly recommend getting a SquareTrade warranty. That way when (if?) it dies an untimely death conveniently not covered by the Optoma warranty you won't feel like you've just flushed over $300 down the toilet.
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on October 1, 2012
I do not own a television but occasionally like to watch movies from my computer and xbox360. I purchased the optoma PK301 because it was very small and I had read was quiet and easy to use.

Pros:
All of these things were true but I found that I had to make the room uncomfortably dark to watch anything clearly. Too dark to eat popcorn or even see the other person across from you. I know that brightness is a common complaint of the LED projector so we can let that one go. Never having to replace the bulb is a nice feature. The focus is not overly dynamic but relatively good. It worked well and easily with a number of devices, right out of the box. If your room is larger than about 10 feet across you might get some ballooning at the edges but for the size, this projector puts out a bitchin' 6 foot image.

Cons:
The only real complaint I have of the projector is that often when I have a computer or xbox hooked up to it, the signal will simply go dead and I cannot see anything. This is extremely annoying during a video game sequence or a tense moment in a movie. I've done a little experimenting and I believe that the little guy is simply overheating and shuts itself off to avoid damage. I have found that taking out the battery during operation helps a bit but usually if this glitch happens I have to wait a while before it will work again. Often we have simply gone back to watching on the laptop at this point.

I removed two stars because of the frustration this causes regularly.

The other tiny design issue I was not excited about is that it has a mini HDMI in port instead of a regular HDMI so you have to buy another little fob to hook it up to the xbox or HDMI DVD player.
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on January 5, 2014
This is a great projector all around. It has a host of connectivity options, and projects extremely well in low to no light. In my experience, you can get a high quality image up to 110" diagonally, which is pleasantly immersive. I've found it to produce decent images even on uneven surfaces that aren't perfectly white.

Some nitpicks:

1) The battery is utterly worthless. When it was new, out of the box, the battery lasted some 10 minutes. A month later, the battery barely lasts 12 seconds (i.e. the projector doesn't even turn on). For me, this isn't a significant issue, since I project nearly exclusively from powered sources (and thus have the ability to connect to an actual outlet), and as such I haven't found myself wishing for a real battery. Apparently, you can purchase an extended battery pack, but I have no idea how well it works.

2) The format for playing movies from a MicroSD card is really, really obscure. No one has ever heard of it, and you can only encode files for this projector with one specific software. If you plan to project from a computer or HDMI source, this isn't an issue.

Overall, It's a fantastic product.

Oh, and then there's the remote. I don't know who thought it was a good idea to create a remote without a Power On button.
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on February 14, 2012
Stay away from this model. I got mine back in late October, 2011 and it hasn't even lasted four months. It turns on long enough to display the Optoma splash screen and then shuts down. I've been using it approximately two~four hours per day, but that can't possibly equal 20,000 hours (unless they're rounding up from roughly 200).

I attempted to get service from Optoma but after five days have yet to hear from them. I guess any technical support requests go straight to their spam folder.
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on April 1, 2012
Just over a year in, and of course my screen is FULL of dead pixels. The unit is basically unusable. DO NOT BUY. Was fun while it lasted.
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on July 15, 2010
If you want to use the device to carry around media, be sure to get a microSD card because the onboard memory is less than 100 megabytes; up to 16GB supposedly is supported - I used an old 1GB card from a phone I had and it worked fine (a 16GB is on order). Using the device to carry the photos, movies, and presentations was useful; you do end up driving the device directly, and because of its small size, you'll also want the remote as you get tired of pressing the small buttons and rocking the device picture, so you'd need to order that too as noted in another review.

The MediaConverter 3.0 software is not intuitive, buggy, and the help data almost non-existent; I think this is only needed for converting videos however - for photos just using the PC's external drive interface seems to work fine. The MediaConverter created two photos that the device couldn't read, for example, but dragging them separately worked just fine; converting a Powerpoint presentation also failed the first time, but worked the second (it also told me I needed Office Powerpoint 2007 which I already had). The MediaConverter says to just "drag and drop" files, but that never worked, I always had to use one of the other two direct selection methods.

It is amazing how poor the documentation is for the software, as well as the device; I was able to figure everything out, but if you're not as used to computery interfaces your mileage may vary. If you just drive the device from a laptop, that would not be an issue though. The small size is everything for this device; you do sacrifice brightness and resolution compared to the bigger models but this guy does a credible display job, and the size makes it something you don't need to think twice about throwing in your travel bag.
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on September 2, 2011
How have I not reviewed this in the past. I have owned my PK301 for over a year now and would rather give up my laptop than my projector (at least this projector). Like many other current owners, I looked at most of the smaller pico projectors first thinking they would be more to my liking. However, until the PK301 no pico had a bright enough image to really convince me to buy. I was making due with an LG H201 LED that was about five times the size. Literally, I got the LG because it had a substantially smaller lighter power supply that the other brands of "Pocket Projectors" in the 100-300 lumen range. And I was somewhat happy but still quite hesitant to pack the LG along on any short trips.
By comparison, the Optoma PK301 and its power supply together are about as light, as "just" the power adapter for my old LG. So it is really small and light, like an order of magnitude lighter than you might think. But is also at least an order of magnitude brighter than any other pico projector. When plugged in, the 50 lumens that it projects is the difference between a truly adequate viewing experience and a truly marginal experience from another brand. I can say this authoritatively because when not plugged in, while running on battery it puts up the same 20 lumen image as any other pico projector, and that difference is like moving into a whole different category.
Of course, this is all within limits. I do not use it to do battery powered hallway sales pitches. I would never even turn it on near a window during the day time. The 50 lumens it puts out feels like the midway point between my old 200 lumen LG and a 20 lumen, but it isn't. I enjoy my PK301 because I use it as an entertainment projector in the evenings after I am finished working. I travel internationally, alot. In a dimly lit hotel room, watching netflix or an iTunes rental in some nameless cookie cutter hotel in Asia after a long day's work, the PK301 is king. I have even on occation surfed the internet on the ceiling of a hotel room when I was too warn out to sit upright. Jet lag can be murder. For travel the PK301 can't be beat.
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