Optoma PK301 PICO Pocket Projector Review

  • Color & Clarity
  • Features
  • Reliability

Summary

3.8

When it comes to mini or pocket projectors, the PK301 is slightly larger than its competitors, but do not let that detract you. This projector is one of the best that you can fit into your pocket.

If you want a projector that can be utilized with a wide array of devices, this is a solid choice. With a variety of connection options, you can plug in your device, a USB key, or a MicroSD card and play your presentations, videos or photos.

We love almost anything that can be used with more than one device, and the PK301 is no exception. Produced by Optoma, a leading manufacturer of projectors, this little machine should definitely be on your short list.

Features

Optoma PK301What the PK301 offers you in lieu of a smaller size is brightness. While other projectors on the market give you portability in lieu of amazing picture quality, the PK301 is made with that quality in mind.

Two maximum brightness settings allow you to project a picture that is brighter than those offered by most projectors available today. 20 lumens are available when you use the provided standard battery pack, and 50 lumens are packed into the projector when you choose to use the AC power pack or rechargeable battery pack.

If you do not mind the lower lumens, you need carry nothing but the 2.7 by 4.7 inch projector and standard battery. If you want to be sure that your presentation will not be hampered by battery drainage and you want a brighter picture, take along the AC adapter and your rechargeable battery pack.

Although Optoma is no longer making this projector, it is easily found online, along with its optional accessories. You can choose from extended battery packs, mini HDMI cables, female USB adapters, and component video adapters. There is also a range of carrying cases that are designed to keep your projector safe.

Technology

The PK301 uses LED lights as its source of image projection. Boasting a life of 20,000 hours per bulb, the projector should make it through hundreds of presentations before the bulb needs replacing.

Expand the projector’s memory with its MicroSD slot up to 16 GB. I/O ports on the projector include VGA, HDMI, USB, and video. What this means to you is that you can connect to almost any digital or analog device and display an amazing picture.

The single-chip DLP projector may be better suited to displaying images in a darkened room, but this is not unlike any other projector on the market. Keep in mind that mini projectors only have so much capability, and that the PK301 is more than adequate.

Positives

The PK301 is one of the brightest in its class and, if you do not mind buying a used version, can be found for under a hundred bucks, making it an incredible value for your money.

This mini projector has been called “good enough to be useful” by other reviewers and we agree. Playing your image in a darkened room makes the machine, in our opinion, beyond good enough. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience with this not-so-pocket projector.

We were pleased to discover that there was no loss in image quality when we maxed out our picture at 120 inches. Rich colors and the brightness offered by the projector brought presentations and pictures to life.

If we were only able to list one positive it would be this: the multiple connection options. Mini HDMI, standard HDMI, USB, and a MicroSD slot means being able to connect to all of the devices that we love so much. Touted as a projector for the Apple suite of devices, we were just as pleased when we connected it to our Android device.

Negatives

Like any mini projector, the image quality does not rival that of your television or the big screen. It is, however, fantastic for this type of machine. If there is any negative to the PK301 that we found, it is the sound.

Cranking it all the way up, we were only able to clearly hear the sound emanating from the 0.5-watt speaker while sitting right next to the machine. In a quiet room. While concentrating. This is disappointing as there are other projectors on the market. The good news is that consumers rarely purchase this type of machine without the plan to use an external sound source. With speakers or headphones plugged in, the sound is just fine.

Cost. There is not much more that we can say. For a new machine, you will pay more than $400. Considering that this model is about four years old and that there are newer models on the market, the price tag seems a bit steep. A used machine will set you back a bit more than an inferior new machine, making it the best choice.

Customer Feedback and Reviews

The PK301 has an average 3.6 star rating as left by users. Take that rating with a grain of salt. Even users that left three-star ratings had positive things to say about this little machine.

One of our favorite user reviews states “I bought these in 2010, and have been using it at least once a week. It’s still working perfectly for me.” We believe that this is a testament to the build-quality of the projector.

And another: “If I use this 3 hours a day, that’s about 18 years. Pretty impressive.” This from a reviewer who purchased the machine to utilize in lieu of a television in the bedroom.

Of the negative reviews, pixilation is a common complaint. “Just over a year in, and of course my screen is full of dead pixels” and “…some of the pixels in our PK301 projector were dead the 3rd or 4th time we used it to watch a movie.”

Because we have only used this projector twice, we cannot attest to the dead pixel issue. It is, however, an issue that we believe consumers should be aware of. You can read more user reviews at Amazon.com.

Conclusion

We believe that the PK301 was ahead of its time four years ago. Today, there is new technology on the market that may be a better choice. We would caution anyone against paying full price for this machine as it is now about four years old. Buying a used machine from a trusted seller, however, will get you more machine than you pay for. We are happy to recommend the PK301 to our readers.