To some extent, actually reviewing the Pico’s pictures feels faintly ridiculous. For this is a product so completely and utterly about convenience and style that trying to sound serious about its video capabilities seems almost pretentious. But hey – it’s my job, so what’s a man to do?!
Much to my surprise I can actually start an assessment of the Pico’s picture quality with a surprising positive, for its black level response is remarkably good. Dark photos or dark DVD scenes such as the shots aboard the Black Pearl at night from a DVD of ”Pirates of the Caribbean” suffer remarkably little with the greyness that’s characterised all demo samples of other ultra-small projectors I’ve seen. In fact, the Pico’s black level response shames that of many full-sized projectors – at least those using LCD technology.
More good news finds motion being presented with unexpectedly little judder, blur or dot crawl over moving skin tones, and I never once detected DLP’s rainbow effect. Probably because DLP Pico technology uses three LED lamps (one for the red, green and blue colour elements) rather than the sort of colour wheel that causes the rainbow effect on larger DLP projectors!
The impressive (for a DVD) Pirates… picture quality looks quite sharp via the Pico too, even if you push the image to the edges of its 60in screen size limitation. And finally in the plus column, colours sometimes look surprisingly rich and credible.
That said, at other times – usually during dark scenes, and especially where skin tones are concerned – colours suddenly become distinctly over-saturated and unnatural. Not to mention a bit stripey thanks to predictable shortcomings in the projector’s processing power.
Another colour issue concerns what appear to be slight convergence errors from time to time, resulting in, for instance, a bit of red or blue bleed around the edges of bright image elements. Talking of edges, particularly fine picture elements, such as the masts and rigging of the ships in Pirates…, tend to appear with a distracting light halo around them, and can even shimmer a touch during camera pans.