Reviews on Both the Optoma PK201 and PK301 Pico Projectors


Reviews on Both the Optoma PK201 and PK301 Pico Projectors

Small Review:

There are very few downfalls about these pico projectors, and they seemed to take some really nice pictures with wonderful contrast.

Add Ons:

  • Images are processed by DLP
  • A space for Micro ScanDisks
  • Has 854×480 resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Both composite and component inputs
  • 201 model is retailed at $300 USD, while the 301 model is retailed at $400 USD

The Upside:

  • Good quality and is transportable
  • If you want to watch footage, it’s easily possible with these projectors
  • Projector has surprisingly good contrast and color

The Downside:

  • The distance for throwing is quite long
  • The device player doesn’t really support anything
  • Too much money
  • Battery doesn’t last very long

The Main Squeeze:

There isn’t a very big difference between these two devices, so I thought I would just stick them in a pair when I decided to review them. You have two models, the 201 and the 301. The 301 is a much newer model than the other and has a few things that seem to be a bit more desirable as well. It is larger and has nicer color and has a short (as opposed to long) throwing distance, like the 201 model has. Between both of the models, there is one hundred dollars of difference in retail price.

How Well It Works

Both of these projectors offer good quality picture and offer a pretty good amount of lumens between them. The 201 comes in with 20 lumens and the 301 comes in with 50 (but it has to be plugged into to get these extra lumens on the 301, which was really annoying). It all depends on user’s preference in shorter or longer throwing distances. While they each have their own specific features, but usually the technical winner tends to favor the shorter throwing distances.

So picking out the competition wasn’t too hard, with the Pro and the 3G in standing, but when I put the 201 model up for battle with them, it annialated them in the picture quality. It was just overall much more pleasant to watch when hooked up to anything.

When looking for killer definition, I would recommend the 301 model because it has a great thread of contrast and tiny detail show up easily, and even though the 201 has good picture, the quality of precision in the definition, wasn’t as pronounced.

These were done with the PK301 and it was plugged in so it’s shown at 50 lumens:

It wasn’t going to have too much color because of the lighting that was already present in the room at the time.

Focusing was a problem in both models, but much more so in the 201. It wasn’t really easy to ever get a nicely focused shot and that was kind of a bummer for this line.

I think of one the biggest focuses that the makers lack is their creativity and ability to create a useful interface for tracking. It’s easy to add inputs, but still brings a bit or unorganized confusion when I have to look under the same Setting tab for everything. It also would look up inputs if I didn’t just hit the button, which I didn’t really understand. Shouldn’t it have been just one or the other?

One of the things that keep me praising these pico projectors is the fact that they offer a large array of different input choices and I think that, that is something that everyone can use.

Just like a lot of new devices today, if you want to show smaller files, you can use your micro ScanDisk slot to this from. Even though the resolution on these cameras isn’t anything to sing about, the larger pictures that come from it are. I also enjoyed just flipping through the devices and letting it pull up all my files, which it did very quickly.

Unfortunately, getting a video to actually play on the device wasn’t as easy. Everything that the projectors claimed to comply with didn’t seem to work at all with these projectors, which was super disappointing and had me pulling out mu outputs for my iPod to play videos instead. Overall, it would just take too much time for me to switch out these files.

When I look for a good piece of equipment, I like it to be moveable and functional. One of the things that make this possible is how long its battery can last. This one was really bad. It could only last for up to an hour.  I know a lot of other devices that compete with these that offer much, much more than that. I also don’t want to have to lug around the chord just so I can use the projector, either.

You won’t get heavy sound from the projector itself unless you hook something up to it so you can hear it louder. If you’re close to the projector though, you shouldn’t need anything to be able to hear it clearly enough. One of the things that I DON’T expect from ANY projector is a good sound system.

The Little Things That Make It Big

Although very portable, this little 201 creature is homely and I hate saying it, but it’s the truth of the matter. Nothing seems to have any type of schematic as far as inputs or outputs go and everything seems to look the same to me. Don’t expect to turn any heads when you pull it out of your bag.

If the 201 is so ugly, then the 301 is the beauty queen in the family. It has a practical look that I think anyone could appreciate in a piece of equipment like this. It’s also much more organized and nicely laid out. The other projector model was just a silver glazed color, while this one goes back to black which is something nice about the 301 that I really appreciated aesthetically.

With the quality and craftsmanship of these two projectors, the 301 also is the winner hands down. What gives it away was the dial for the focusing apparatus. That was one of the main big differences between these two. I got a lot of grief out of the 201 on every little focusing issue (even ones that really shouldn’t have been an issue) and the 301 made life so much simpler for me.

Something that was a little difficult for me to deal with on both the 201 and the 301 models was the buttons and how firmly they held to resistance. It may have been due to poor button shapes because they always seemed awkward when you first put your fingers to them. The tripods are worthless on both models and I couldn’t even touch the buttons on the projector once I had them standing or I would mess up the whole thing over and over again. I also couldn’t get it straight enough to have a good even view from the projector. I wouldn’t wholly recommend these tripods; I would just look for something a little more reliable then what you get here.

What I Conclude

It’s a give and take relationship with these two projectors. They have some good attributes, like the way they process colors and seem to focus nicely (301 only). But it also has some downsides with the small battery life and weak tripod. The throwing distance really isn’t kicking up the dust around any of its’ competition, either.

These types of products really haven’t hit their peak yet. They could be much more than what they are giving you. They tend to run pretty expensive as well. It’s up to you and if you are going to go out and get one anyways, I would get the 301. It has much more than the 201, even though it looks like you’re going to end up paying quite a bit for it in the end.

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