Sunday, October 6, 2013

Portable projectors: Aiptek v Optoma

Optoma PK320.

Optoma PK320.

Running off AC power or built-in batteries, these tiny projectors can slip into your travel bag.

They weigh in at a little more than 200 grams but these little projectors only offer 100 lumens brightness, which isn't going to cut it in a brightly-lit meeting room.

Once you dim the lights you'll find the Aiptek's whites are considerably brighter, making PowerPoint presentations easier to read. Both projectors need to sit about 1.5 metres from the wall to throw a 1 metre diagonal image, but the Aiptek's brighter whites mean that you'll get away with moving it back a bit further. Both projectors feature a tripod thread on the bottom, but there's no built-in foot to elevate the front and no keystone correction.

Aiptek PocketCinema V100.

Aiptek PocketCinema V100.

The trade-off for the Aiptek's brightness is that its colours look murky and overblown compared to the Optoma. The Aiptek's picture doesn't look as sharp either, even though both projectors offer 854x480-pixel resolution. If you are running presentations on the Aiptek you'll need to choose your fonts and images with care.


When it comes to connectors, both projectors feature a mini-HDMI input, which should let you hook up a smartphone or tablet (perhaps using an adaptor). The Optima also offers micro-USB, micro-SD, composite video and VGA connectors. Meanwhile the Aiptek features mini-USB and SD, with an optional mini-HDMI adaptor to support component and VGA. If you really want to travel light you can also store files on the projectors' onboard storage, which you access via the micro/mini USB port.

The Optima's built-in one-watt speaker is slightly louder then the Aiptek, but the Optima's cooling fan is also a little louder.

The verdict

Both projectors demand compromises. The Aiptek's vivid whites give it the advantage in the boardroom, although it's no match for a brighter business projector. The Optima's clearer picture makes it a better option for the lounge room, although it can't match the picture quality of a dedicated home theatre projector.

Aiptek PocketCinema V100

Optoma PK320
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