362 of 372 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I recently purchased this projector as a replacement for my near-vintage Sharp XV101TU, whose bulb decided to blow out on me. In the process of shopping for a replacement projector (or trying to decide whether to just replace the bulb - nothing but love for my 25 lbs projector from the early 90's..) the Optoma PT100 caught my eye.
I admit my main draw to this projector was the price - which was less than a mere bulb for your average projector - and the fact that THIS bulb would never need to be replaced, as it was powered by LEDs. I dove headlong into purchasing the projector knowing full well LEDs couldn't replace the luminescence of a metal-halide bulb, but the lure of never having to shell out $300 every year or two couldn't be denied, and I was willing to take a chance on the 50(!!) lumen output.
Now here, we get to one of the main points I uncovered from doing projector research: ALWAYS be extremely wary of no-name projectors. You probably already knew that, but pay particular attention to the "brightness" department. Many list their brightness as 400lm, or sometimes even 1000+ lumens, or worse yet, not at all. This isn't very scientific, to be sure, but if in doubt, try and see if you can find a Youtube video or the like demonstrating the projector. After seeing various nameless LED Chinese projectors on Youtube and comparing them to legit 1000 lumen projectors, it seems pretty obvious their brightness stats are a little inflated (not to mention, if the typical Samsung or LG LED projector projects at 200lm... you gotta wonder). I say this because I noticed that with a 50 lumen output, this projector really seems to be a lame duck when considering no-name eBay projectors have an alleged 1200 lumens for the same price. But I can assure you, no-name projectors almost never live up to their descriptions, so do your homework! Better go with a lower lumen projector from a reputable manufacturer than a knock-off claiming a million lumens, in my opinion.
That said, 50 lumens is no sunbeam of light, but I currently have it set about 14 feet away and for watching a movie at night, the 80+ inch image is awesome. Of course, you do want to be conscious of what you will typically be using the projector for before you purchase. Yes, the ability to be satisfied with a given brightness is subjective, but only to a point. If your primary purpose for getting a projector is watching Dark Knight over and over again, 50 lm will inarguably be a little dark for your needs (pun intended) - most LED projectors probably will be. For your average movie or Wii game, however, this projector performs brilliantly. Keep in mind though, nighttime use - or with a good set of blackout curtains. If you're looking at daytime gaming... again, add blackout curtains to your financial calculations (or start moving your gaming chairs to the basement). On the positive side, the projector is extremely portable, so if you have a room that's naturally darker than others, it's easy to move.
A note about screen size: like many inexpensive projectors, there is a fixed throw ratio - in other words, for you camera savvy folk, no zoom lens - the screen size is in direct proportion to how far the projector is placed from the screen/wall.
Many of you probably have concerns about the resolution - I certainly did. Yes, 480 is pretty old-school tech, no getting around that - the projector IS $199. Keep in mind though, that it is 480p (all LCDs, DLPs, and Plasmas, to my knowledge, are progressive scan), so it's a squeak better than standard definition (I believe it's formally called "enhanced definition"). Additionally, to offset what many might consider to be low res for today's standards, the projector's native resolution is 854x480 pixels, which amounts to widescreen plus (a native DVD film resolution is 720x480, widescreen format is 704x480, and 4:3 format is 640x480). What this means, at the end of the day, is that if you watch a widescreen DVD, the image doesn't have to be shrunk down to fit or cropped, like it might otherwise have to be on a projector with a native 4:3 aspect ratio (i.e. 640x480). Also with regard to image quality, 3LED DLP is known to have nice vivid color and as far as I'm concerned, it does.
Unfortunately, there is no remote for this thing - all adjustments are made with buttons on the body itself.
Speaking of body, the build quality is excellent considering the price tag - nice solid plastic housing; a possibly random aside: when I first took it out of the box, I thought it very much resembled the look and feel of a typical wall-powered radio alarm clock, both in size and weight (and color). It is a bit lighter than one would expect from a projector, even one of this size. Is it as tank-like as my old Sharp? Definitely not, but no modern projector really is. Will it stand up to a fair amount of abuse from an average child? I imagine so.
Adjustments in height are made easy with an odd spring-loaded front leg that pops out with the push of a button on the side, and one of the rear legs can be adjusted to level the image. Keep in mind, there is no keystone, so set it in a good spot where you won't have to tilt it too much.
A little annoyance on this projector is the lack of connections. While on the one hand, it keeps the projector simple, as I'm sure was the intention, it also means you need additional cables if you want something better than the yellow-plug composite video. Granted, it's a fairly easy and inexpensive endeavor to acquire a component > 15-pin RGB cable (or s-video > 15-pin if you like), but it would have been helpful had they included a little adapter dongle or something of the sort.
Bottom line, if you know what you're getting, this projector will not disappoint. Don't be discouraged by the name "PlayTime" - it is actually a very capable little machine. If you go in expecting it to be one of those you've seen in your giant lecture halls or rich friend's home theatre, your expectations will probably be let down. If, on the other hand, you're looking for an inexpensive alternative to a humongous screen TV that uses less power and is much more portable, this is an excellent projector.