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Optoma Pico PK101 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £244
inc VAT


320×240 resolution, 20 ANSI lumens, 15x50x103mm, 115g

We were expecting a lot from Optomo’s Pico PK101 after being left unimpressed by Aiptek’s Pocket Cinema V10.

The two projectors are remarkably similar, both being roughly the size of a large mobile phone, and are able to show images up to between 50in and 60in. However, while the Pocket Cinema can muster only 10 lumens, the Pico is rated at 20. This may not sound much, but bear in mind that perceived brightness is roughly logarithmic, so a 1,000-lumen home cinema projector seems only around four times brighter.

The underlying technologies that they use are, however, different. Optoma has chosen DLP for the Pico, while Aiptek uses liquid crystal on silicon. Unfortunately, DLP suffers from a ‘rainbow’ effect, which is caused by its fast cycling between red, green and blue to make full colour images. The Pico also lags behind in the resolution stakes, with only 320×240 pixels compared to the Pocket Cinema’s 640×480.

The Pico doesn’t have a built-in media player either, so you can only play videos or photo slideshows by connecting another device, such as a mobile phone, iPod, digital camera or camcorder. Optoma bundles a composite video adaptor, but you’ll have to buy a cable for any device that doesn’t have this output.

The good news is that this projector is foolproof to set up. There are just two controls: a power switch and a focus wheel. The former has two positions, for half and full brightness. At full brightness one of the two bundled batteries will last for around an hour, but this doubles at the lower setting. You can charge a battery by connecting the Pico to a powered USB port, or using the included mains adaptor.

Surprisingly, despite its lower resolution, the Pico produced better image quality than the Pocket Cinema, with at least as much apparent detail. At full brightness, the Optoma’s 50in image was noticeably brighter, too. This means that it’s possible to watch videos in a dimly lit room, without the need to switch the lights off completely. Colours were better saturated and more realistic too, although skin tones tended to be overly red. It was good enough for us to enjoy an TV programme on the Pico, though.

As with the Pocket Cinema, the PK101 has no keystone correction, so you need to place it square-on to your screen. This isn’t always easy, not least because it doesn’t come with a mini-tripod, though there’s an adaptor supplied to mount it on any camera tripod. We were also disappointed by the low maximum volume of the built-in speaker.

For all the Pico’s failings, it costs around £65 less than its rival and has better image quality. However, unless you need a pocketable projector for evening entertainment, full-size models are far more practical and better value.


Price £244
Rating ***


Projector technology DLP
Lamp brightness 20 ANSI lumens
Lamp life 20,000
Lamp life in economy mode 20,000
Contrast ratio 1,000:1


Native resolution 320×240
Aspect ratio 4:3
Other aspect ratios none
Max diagonal at 7ft 60in
Throw ratio 0.6:1
Projection distance 0.25m to 2.6m
Mirror image no
Invert image no
HD Ready no
Special view modes none


VGA input no
DVI input No
Sound inputs phono stereo
Composite input yes
S-video input no
HDMI input no
Component input no
PAL support yes
SECAM support yes
NTSC support yes
Audio output none
Video output none
Others inputs/outputs none


Noise (in normal use) 0dB(A)
Size 15x50x103mm
Weight 115g
Internal speakers yes (0.5W mono)
Extras power supply, USB cable, video/audio cable
Remote special features N/A
Power consumption standby N/A
Power consumption on N/A


Lamp cost (inc VAT) N/A
Lamp supplier N/A
Lamp cost per hour of use N/A
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy) N/A

Buying Information

Price £244

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