The Optoma PT100 Personal Entertainment Projector is a small sized LED based DLP model that is simple and foolproof making it fit into the toy projector category or at least is really close to being one. Instead of trying to be a full scale home theater projector, at 480p resolution and at a price in the region of $180 it is aimed at being your portable display for your video games for instance. It might be your solution to watching movies in a big screen for an extremely low price too, so let’s find out in this projector review if the Optoma PT100 has the specs to pack its own punch.
The dimensions of this projector are 7.8 x 3.2 x 7.8 inches or in other words really small thus being the perfect projector to be carried around. Adding to that is the 1.7 pound weight at which it tips the scales to be an ultra light personal projector. On the front panel you will only see the projection lens and a small fan vent which from our tests proves to be able to get rid of all the heat produced by the LED light source. As always, you will find all the connections on the back however if you were looking to spot HDMI or component video inputs on the Optoma PT100 then you have to the wrong place as this one doesn’t offer high definition videos. However you will still find a VGA port to connect your computer and also a composite-video jack. Other ports include the RCA audio jacks and a DC input for the power adapter that’s provided with the projector. The Optoma PT100 Personal Entertainment Projector does not come with a remote control but the controls on the projector are complete and easily accessible. You will be able to find the power, menu and source buttons plus a directional pad on the top of the projector’s body. Look towards the rear of the projector and you will see a grille for a 1.5-watt amp powered built-in speaker.
The Optoma PT100 Personal Entetainment Projector has a native resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. Although it is rated at a brightness rating of 50 lumens when we ran our tests, we found it to be more in the region of 40 lumens in the Bright mode. However even as we changed to the other two available image modes, we didn’t see any distinguishable difference in terms of color accuracy, saturation or contrast for them to warrant their very own modes. So at this brightness level, it is advisable to limit your screen size to 20 inches diagonal in normal lighting scenarios and when in a completely dark room you can push it a little higher to 40 inches diagonal.
The Optoma PT100 projector is also powered by LED lamp meaning you can be assured that you would not incur any maintenance cost for lamp replacements. This is because LED lamp has roughly 20,000 hours worth of life under its belt. As touched previously, there is a 1.5W speaker which is great for a small projector like this one as you can just plug and play for sources like iPod or a DVD player that either lacks or does not come with its own speaker.
Setting up the Optoma PT100 Personal Entertainment Projector
Setting up a small projector as this one was as expected pretty simple. There is a button on the side of the Optoma PT100 projector that slides down a notched front foot that allows you to adjust the projection angle. It also releases one of the two feet on the rear to adjust the image level. The Optoma PT100 also does not come with zoom which means you have to stick to moving the projector either towards the wall or away from it until you get the picture size you are looking for. There is no option for flipping the image but then again the projector is meant to function as a portable projector so you probably won’t be mounting it on your ceiling. Using the menu which you can bring up using the button on the projector, you are able to play with the aspect ratio, image brightness, language preference, image orientation as well choosing your preferred image source.
Since the Optoma PT100 comes with a native 854 x 480 pixel matrix which by the way is the same vertical resolution as a DVD. So in order to get the best performance out of this projector you should connect a DVD player which sports strong deinterlacing performance through a Component-to-VGA adapter. The result you get is a high quality source and at the same time you don’t have to do any scaling on the projector.
The PT100 also produces pictures with some decent detail clarity. From our tests, most DVDs are reproduced properly although some DVDs reproduced by the projector did lose some fine detail as we reach the projector’s resolving power limits. The loss of shadow detail is however quite noticeable in darker scenes. For a pint sized projector like the Optoma PT100 Personal Entertainment Projector it does a fantastic job by producing colors that were nice to the eyes. However when you come across faster-moving scenes, blurring becomes visible.
Pros and Cons
The Optoma PT100 is a really small and light projector making it the perfect choice when it comes to portability. It also goes in well into spaces that you never thought was possible before and it is the perfect choice to be paired with an iPod or a netbook as it has its own 1.5W built-in speaker. Such a small sized projector as this one was able to provide 40 lumens of brightness which is brighter than most of the pico projectors that sit on the same price tag. The Optoma PT100 is powered by LED lamp means that you will have no worries about additional costs to replace that lamp. It also means less heat generated for the fan to dissipate.
There is no onboard media player on the Optoma PT100 which means you will need an external one like laptops or iPods. There is no battery to go with the projector either making it that tat bit less portable than its competitors. The short power cable is also something that makes it rather uncomfortable to use at times. A short warranty period of just 90 days is not something we prefer.
The Optoma PT100 Personal Entertainment Projector is a pint sized master class which also comes at a mouth watering price. If you have a decent media player or a gaming console to go with it, then this is definitely one very portable projector to consider.
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