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Pocket-sized projectors continue to attract plenty of headlines and, apparently, pretty brisk sales. Neither of which is surprising, really, considering their pleasingly brain-bending feat of producing big pictures from tiny boxes.
So far as we’re concerned, the whole pocket projector ‘scene’ was instigated by Optoma, with its PK101. The design of this model still looks like gadget porn nearly two years after its release, but it unfortunately didn’t get pocket projection off to a great start by being a pretty rubbish performer.
More recently, Optoma raised its pocket projector game massively with the new, much chunkier, much brighter PK301, which did pretty well in a TrustedReviews pocket projector group test.
So we’re genuinely intrigued by Optoma’s new mid-range 'Pico' projector model, the PK201. For ideally this crossover model will give us the best of both worlds: the outstanding slinkiness of the PK101’s design, and the genuinely useful performance level of the PK301.
The design certainly hits the right notes. Its matt, slightly coarse finish is unusual but likeable, and its tininess is mind-blowing. It’s basically similar in size to a typical smartphone - only instead of a big screen, its 'business end' is a small lens at one end of its elongated, palm-sized chassis.
The PK101 still, somehow, looks even prettier. But if the PK201 manages to produce a watchable picture from such a tiny (and at 160g, light) body, then that will more than compensate.
The PK201 outguns the PK101 massively when it comes to features and flexibility. Its connections are much more comprehensive, for instance, including a composite video input, a micro-USB port, a phono audio output, a mini-HDMI, a microSD memory card slot, and a 'Universal I/O' input capable of taking D-Sub PC and component video feeds via adaptors.
As you’d expect, these jacks support video as well as PC feeds. Furthermore, the list of codecs the PK201 can handle is outstandingly long. In full, it goes like this (deep breath): Video - avi, wmv, mpg, mpeg, mp4, 3gp, 3g2, mov, m4v, rm, rmvb, ogm, flv, asf; and Photo - jpg, tiff, gif, png, bmp, tga, fpx, pcx, pcd, psd.