The projector I'm reviewing today hasn't got any HDMIs on it. In fact, it only takes composite video. The projector I'm reviewing today isn't HD Ready. In fact, its resolution is a puny 320 x 240. The projector I'm reviewing today can't really deliver pictures bigger than 60in across. In fact, you'll struggle to get anything watchable beyond 40in or so.
So why in God's name am I reviewing it? Because my preparation for the review involved taking the projector out of my pocket. Having earlier mistaken it for my Blackberry phone…
In other words, since there's nothing particularly voluminous about my pockets or Blackberry phone, the point about Optoma's Pico PK101 is that it's easily the smallest projector I've ever seen.
Not that these mere words even start to convey just how small the PK101 truly is, mind you. For it really does fit into a pocket - and I'm talking about a Jeans pocket here, not some cavernous anorak pouch or such like. Or to put it in cold, hard numbers, it's just 50mm wide by 103mm deep and 15mm high. And it weighs just 4oz. Yowza.
Suddenly the limitations raised in the opening paragraph are starting to look a bit more forgiveable, aren't they? For clearly the massive convenience of being able to take a projector anywhere and everywhere you go without having to lug a huge bag around is bound to make you more tolerant of a few compromises - even when those compromises are as extreme as those demanded by the PK101.
Crucially for the ‘gadget' market the PK101 seems tailor-made to entice, the PK101 is as stylish as it is small. Its case is glossy, highly refined in its sliver and black finish, and feels lovely to hold. It might not be quite as achingly hip as the iPhone, but it's damn close. Admiring glances from friends and family will definitely not be in short supply.
As I mentioned earlier, the Pico is limited to a composite video connection, with this feed - together with stereo sound - being piped into the projector via either a supplied composite video/stereo audio RCA to 2.5mm plug adaptor, or special adaptor cables already available for the iPhone and various Nokia phone models. PDAs are also supported by the system, giving you a means of ‘breaking out' your PDA applications on to a much larger screen than the one stuck on the front of your portable device.
This focus on phones/portable devices is a sensible move, it seems to me, for surely one of the most likely uses for the Pico will be as a means of quickly and easily sharing photos and videos stored on a phone/PDA/portable media player with a group of assembled mates. Just whip your portable device and Pico out of their respective pockets, hook them together, point the Pico at the wall (probably while you're still holding it in your hand), and bob's your uncle: an instant slide/movie show, no matter where you are. Women will want you, men will want to be you. Probably.