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on May 31, 2010
I'm in the tech field and I've been waiting for the pico projectors to come down in price. I just never expected one of this quality and feature set to sell for under $300.00. I've looked at the 3M ones and some of the others but none come close to this 20 lumens switch blade of a Pico projector. I got mine about 3 weeks ago and I've been using it constantly. Everyone who see's it is like "I'm so getting one of these". I like the fact that it came bundled with the cables required to connect your laptop. With other units this was extra as well as a case. I purchased the IPOD connector kit so I could hook up my Iphone. It looks awesome with video coming from my Iphone. Please note that the extra battery in the Ipod/Iphone connector kit is for the PK101/102 projectors and will not fit in the PK201. So bascially I'll ebay that battery. The Arcsoft media software I'm not so happy about. I tried converting a video to the PK201 profile settings in Arcsoft only to have it not work on the unit. If I convert the same file utilizing Arcsoft's PK101 profile (lower video bit rate) then the file will play on the PK201. I have a support case open with them about but its really an Arcsoft issue. I've worked around that anyway by utilzing other software to do the job. Long story short is that I've done a lot of research regarding the Pico Projectors, this is by far the best due to its brightness, input capabilities, resolution, and ability to play content on its own (built in media player). Those are some of the most important things to me when I was looking for a Pico Projector. Did I also mention it utilizes Micro SD so I you can have up to 16gb of storage. It's great just taking this unit out without having to hookup any wires and play a movie or project a powerpoint. I've never written a review before and I hope this helps you in selecting a Pico Proejctor.

Cheers
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on July 10, 2010
This little projector is a joy in the dark.

The ability to throw in a SD card and let it play is genius. It will even pick a piece of music off the card to play with your picture slide show.

Unfortunately, it is not bright enough to use in any but the darkest rooms. If you intend to use this on the road where you might not get a completely dark room, or you need to use it along with written materials, then this projector is not for you.
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on June 22, 2010
1. VGA output from connection to portable laptop: Adequate due to focusing problems, i.e. unfocused image across the breadth of the projection which comes from a distance of approximately 12' in this case. Furthermore, focusing the image adequately with the focusing wheel is somewhat difficult. However, if the operator fiddles long enough with the focus, one can generally see a clear image over MOST of the projection if the projection is nearly perpendicular to the wall with minimal skew. Although 12' is outside the range suggested by the manufacturer, the Optoma PK201 has focusing problems even at shorter distances, e.g. 9'. The HDMI capability begs a user to connect the PK201 to a computer and project the desktop onto a wall as a replacement for a large screen TV. Currently, the latter process doesn't work well because not all quadrants of the projected image are in focus at the same time. Personally, I'd love to use this capability with my speech recognition system while browsing the InterNet, but a projected desktop consisting of text is very difficult to read. In order to read the fuzzier text, heavy use of the web browser's zoom capability is required which causes other problems. Optoma, you blew it here and I fully expect your next generation of micro projectors to precisely focus all quadrants of the projected image simultaneously. I won't be as forgiving if this problem reoccurs in succeeding generations. No excuses.

2. Thermal: A purchaser wouldn't want a micro projector producing greater heat. Personally, excessive heat might be playing a role in the focusing problems. With the current design, 20 lumens is about maximum for micro projectors using LED DLP (currently) and passive cooling. Employing laser diodes instead of LEDs is an option for micro projectors, but I'm unsure which option has the greatest luminosity per unit of thermal output.

3. Luminosity: The projector is barely acceptable at 20 lumens. Unless one restricts the usage of their micro projector to nighttime hours, don't buy a micro projector with a rated output less than 20 lumens. The projection from the PK201 can be seen in a room with some INDIRECT exterior light so the brightness is acceptable.

4. Battery life: Marginal at best. Buy another battery as a spare. You'll need it.

5. The power switch is too small.

6. One can replace the included conversion software with Handbrake if the user is willing to fiddle with the settings. Personally, I use AVIDemux 2 to convert video for the PK201, but Handbrake will work as well. Thanks to legondaree on the Handbrake forums for these selections for use with Handbrake:

a. Select the "iPhone & iPod Touch" preset.
b. Set output format to "MP4 file"
c. Set Video\Video codec to "H.264(x264)"
d. Set Video\Quality to "Average bitrate(kbps): 1500"
e. Set Advanced\B-Frames to "0"
f. Disable Advanced\CABAC Entropy Coding
g. Set Advanced\Motion Estimation Method to "Uneven Multi_Hexagon"
h. In "Picture Settings", select a maximum width of 720 and height of 480 and set Anamorphic to "None"

Although, I initially thought about returning the PK201 due to the difficulty in focusing and the minimal life of the battery, I've decided to keep it as one can get a readable image across MOST of the screen if the aforementioned precautions are followed and one can always purchase an additional battery. The PK201 is a good micro projector and worth $300, but the difficulty in focusing and the minimal life of the battery detract from its usefulness. Remember, technology will continually advance these micro projectors so one has to weigh various factors before deciding to purchase. Personally, I don't think either the PK201 or PK301 are mature enough yet although they are close. The next generation of these micro projectors will probably see much wider adoption of these devices. I suspect 30+ tested lumens will probably be the minimum output and at least 90 minutes of battery life before these devices see wide acceptance.

In conclusion, the PK201 will work nicely for displaying pictures and video as a slightly out of focus condition won't generally be noticeable in parts of the image. Furthermore, if the PK201 is used primarily in a room with INDIRECT light, e.g. ALL shades pulled during daylight hours, or at night, the brightness of the projected image is adequate. The PK201 can also be used to display text, but slightly out of focus text can be maddening after awhile. Personally, I'm able to use the PK201 to project my desktop while browsing the InterNet with my speech recognition system IF I heavily zoom my web browser to enlarge the text and precisely fiddle with the focus wheel. The latter can be done with some difficulty and the text is largely readable so all isn't lost. I've decided to bump my overall rating from 3 to 4. The PK201 is so close to meeting the requirements for many applications and it's a very good buy if the intended use is primarily for viewing pictures or watching video.
review image
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on April 25, 2010
Had the PK201 for about 3 weeks now. 4 1/2 stars. The brightness has much improved. I love that I can now connect just about anything to the PK201. Hopefully the rest of the cables/adapter will be available soon. Battery life is poor, at about an hour. But I mostly keep this plugged in all the time. I wish the screen was just a little bit bigger. 70" easy with good clarity. The focus wheel is much better, not loose like previous models. Great for travel and hotel rooms. Even with some light ambient lighting you can see the picture fine. Best with complete darkness.
**** Update **** After a lot of use I've noticed a few things when compared to other PK models. First the projection screen on the 201 has a smaller footprint on the wall. I'm unable to get the entire screen to focus. Areas remain blurry no matter what. 101 had better focus. Get the PK301, really impressed with that model. Bought one myself.
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on November 9, 2011
I was so excited when finally my PK201 arrived. I read the manuals before actually used it, charged it, connected to my laptop and watched one 20-min tv series. At the end of the series, I realized that white spots started to appear at the bottom of my screen.

Now these white spots have multiplied and black spots are also appearing and multiplying themselves. All in a span of 1 hour since my first usage!!!

I wouldve loved this projector because it's what I thought it would be, it was bright enough for my room. But a huge turnoff on the white spots. :(

If anyone knows how to remove these, please let me know. I am from Singapore and would be a big hassle to return it and ask for replacement.
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Don't get me wrong, this projector is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I'm in the Army deployed overseas and I do not have room for a TV. The projector works awesome and looks great. You cannot beat the functionality and price! If you're debating on getting a TV and really don't have the extra room to spare, this IS the way to go! YOU WILL NOT FIND A TV ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD AS BIG OR AS CLEAR FOR THIS PRICE! If this is what you're looking for, it is an awesome buy!!!
---BUT---
People buying this item need to keep a few things on the forefront of their mind: You will need to have a pretty dark room to watch movies in to be able to enjoy this projector. The projector has a speaker installed, It's about 1/2 inch big... The sound is not loud at all, but you can use your laptop's headphone jack or plug speakers into the audio out port to be able to hear your movie. As far as the clarity goes, if you follow my advice with the dark room, it is comparable to watching a TV. You will need to plug the projector in to watch a movie due to the battery not lasting too long
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on January 30, 2013
This projector is okay, while it works. I wasn't expecting much in terms of brightness and such. Being fairly technical, I knew what to expect. However, after a little under two years of normal use and care, it started to show signs of a white "video rash" for lack of a better term. Recently, I have seen this on many DLP products after about the same amount of time or less. Several projectors at my former workplace and even a personal big screen television have shown signs of this, in most cases not worth the repair. I'm fairly sure this is a DLP issue. The problem is, this and most if not all other projectors this size (and some of the larger, of course) are DLP. The warranty is only one year, just enough for it to be out of the warranty when it breaks. For the money, it is not worth buying. The only convenience is the size but full size projectors have become very small and one using other technology can be purchased for little more than the price of this, which is what I have done now. I know electronics have become more disposable in this day and age but this is too much for what you pay for it. Usual life of a regular projector is at least five years. You will have to change the lamp at some point but it is worth it since I have worked with many projectors most of which are older than five years. For an individual, a lamp should last quite a while. Someone who uses it for a full work day, most of the year might have to change it once a year but this is a "power user" type of situation. I would not recommend this product.
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on January 20, 2012
I Bought this projector in 2010, here is what happend over a year later:

During the watching of a movie I noted a few white pixels. After further examination I also noted a lot of black pixels. These pixels stay black or white independent of the source. More and more are developing over time rendering the projector useless. The projector is only used for watching movies in the bedroom and is not even near it's 20.000h lifetime as stated on the website/brochure. Today I have send my projector to the Optoma repair centre for repair under warranty. (Sertronics for the Netherlands)

Other than this mayor issue, I love this projector.
I've connected it via HDMI to my Apple TV2 and it has never let me down. (until just recently)

It is great for watching movies in total darkness, but useless for presentations in non darkened rooms. (obviously)
Playing mp4 files from the SD card slot is great, wish it had support for embedded subtitles tough.

Depending on the outcome of my repair I can totally recommend this tiny projector.
Hope I just had a bad unit and it gets replaced. It would be a sad thing to see these things breaking down so quickly because of bad design.

Update:
Received my projector yesterday from Sertronics. (Dutch Optoma repair)
They gave me a RMA number but then refused the repair because it was bought in the US. (I included the bill with my RMA request)
After a short discussion Optoma UK was willing to repair my unit. :)

The DPL engine has been replaced, some research on the web learns there are more customers with failing engines after 1 year.
The replacement engine is: YOI FLC II Engine. (same as Acer C20)

Some interesting facts.
From the service manual (again google, confidential?):
Brightness
* 17 ANSI Lumens (Typical)
* 14.5 ANSI Lumens ( Minimum)
* Marketing spec:20 ANSI Lumens

Contrast
* 1300 :1 Full White with full power / full Black with eco power(Native)
* 900:1 (Minimum)
* Marketing spec:2000:1

LED Life
* 10,000 Hours Bright Mode @ 3W, *Note Survival Rate
* Marketing spec: 20,000 Hours

Looks like marketing just puts on the box what they seem fit, can they just do that ?

I've watched a movie yesterday and it looks fine again, just hoping it will last more then one year....
Still loving the little thing, great for watching series and movies before going to sleep.
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on November 14, 2011
Honestly when i bought this I was not expecting that much, but I was proved wrong. This little projector is awesome with only a few flaws.
Pros-Price
-Good picture quality
-HDMI output at 1080i
-portable for class presentations
Cons-Speaker volume can not be controlled that I have found, meaning that if plugged into a source like speakers through audio out
jack you will get that crackling noise you would expect if the volume is turned up load..but most of the time it does not
happen..just a little of the time(%5 percent of the time maybe, but it does happen from time to time)
-when I connect my laptop to it the screen flicks on an off on projector side no matter what settings I mess with on the computer
side(everything else works fine...ps3, xbox 360, roku XR box, apple's hdmi a/v adapter with ipod touch 4 gen plugged in, and
other laptops(just not mine)

All in all it is a good projector for the price. The only games I have played on it are COD MW3, dead island, and mlb the show 11..but all those games worked and looked fine on it. The only problem I have run into is that my laptop just does not like to output to it for some reason.
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on February 2, 2011
I like this unit a lot, except for the battery life (approximately 1 hour). It's very compact and has a very professional look and feel about it, a quality built unit. My other concerns are that it didn't come with a Mac connection cable so I had to purchase that separately. Which is actually no big deal I bought it for $8.50 +shipping on eBay. It doesn't come with a good manual just a quick start guide. The menu on the unit is pretty self explanatory unless your completely unfamiliar with computers. I think it has a good picture, I don't have a problem at all with that! I also don't have a problem with the micro SD card storage either! I purchased a "SanDisk" 16gb class4 micro SD card (bought on sale for $28.00 +ship) and loaded 20 movies on it, plays them wonderfully!
I recommend getting:
1.) a micro SD card (a good quality one) like this SanDisk 8GB microSDHC (SDSDQ-8192) Memory Card w/Adapter (Bulk Package)
2.) tripod, like this Flexpod Flexible Tripod
3.) Mac adapter (if using a Mac) like this Apple Mini-VGA to VGA Display Adapter Mac
4.) "Apple" composite AV (RCA) cable, "something" like this one but by Apple RCA AV (Video & Audio) Cable with Ipod Plug For Apple iPod Photo, Video, Classic, Touch, Nano 3rd Generation, iPhone 1st Generation Only 1st Gen

These are just my recommendations and not required items, they are items that I own personally. I do strongly recommend the micro SD card because the projector lacks in internal memory.

I certainly hope that any of this info helps you out in your decision making! If not, you can always ask me a question.
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