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Optoma ML550 review

The brightest, nicest and best connected palm projector yet

Our Verdict

For

  • Brightness
  • Versatility
  • Flash drive
  • Portability
  • Design

Against

  • No Wi-Fi
  • Tablet integration requires dongle
  • Bulky power pack
  • High price

Pico projectors are something of a gamble. Small and easy to carry they might be, but what they give in terms of portability these pocket-sized projectors often take in brightness and resolution. After all, where's the benefit of a small projector if the presentation it produces makes you look unprepared - and ill-informed?

Optoma gets around all of these problems with the ML550, which is the most versatile of all pocket projectors, but the much-needed extra brightness it offers comes with a high price tag of about £470 that, ultimately, could cost it.

Scores
Design   5 out of 5
Features   5 out of 5
Performance   4 out of 5
Usability   4 out of 5
Value   4 out of 5

Specifications

We want it all - a small size and a small price - but in reality the shrinking of tech normally carries a premium. And so it is with Otoma's ML550, whose mere 380g weight and 39x105x106mm dimensions put it ahead of a D-SLR camera in terms of portability.

However, it's not its size, but its brightness that makes the ML550 the leader of the pack; its 550 ANSI Lumens, delivered by an LED lamp rated at 20,000 hours, is about five times brighter than most of its competitor products.

Optoma ML550 review
The nicest palm projector yet

Its pixel resolution of 1,280 x 800 is handy, too, though the 4:3 shape is more suited to older laptops. Not that this is at all an old-fashioned product; 3D readiness makes sure of that (even if extra, separate 3D specs need to be bought), though, arguably, of more importance is its built-in 1.5GB flash drive that can host - and play, thanks to its built-in architecture - all kinds of presentation-centric files and formats.

Look around the back and the sheer versatility of the ML550 quickly sinks in.

Optoma ML550 review

As well as a single HDMI input (that can take a feed from a Blu-ray player or games console as well as from a smartphone or tablet, thanks to its MHL-ready status), the ML550 has a USB 2.0 slot for thumbdrives, a universal I/O slot (as well as a cable that supplies either audio or a feed from a laptop), and a microSD card slot.

Unlike some mini projectors that take their power exclusively from the laptop they're linked to - such as the Philips PicoPix PPX2055 - the ML550 uses a rather large array of cables and separate power pack; but that's the flip-side of its otherwise more versatile design.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDLP Projector
Native Resolution1280 x 800
Maximum Lens ApertureF/2
Standard Mode Brightness500 lm
Graphic ModeWXGA
Native Aspect Ratio16:10
USBYes
HDMIYes
Operating Power Consumption65 W
Video Signal StandardHDTV
Video Signal FormatPAL, NTSC, SECAM
Input Scan Format1080p
Output Scan Format720p
3D Type3D Ready
VGA InYes
Maximum Diagonal Image Size2540 mm
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Brand NameOptoma
Contrast Ratio10,000:1
Lamp TypeLED
Projection MethodFront, Rear, Ceiling
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
Number of Lamps1
Normal Mode Lamp Life20000 Hour
Maximum Projection Distance3.23 m
Vertical Keystone Correction-40°/+40°
Number of HDMI Ports1
Audio Line OutYes
Minimum Diagonal Image Size431.80 mm
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Height39 mm
Width105 mm
Depth106 mm
Colour Support16.7 Million Colours (24-bit)
ManufacturerOptoma Technology
Product ModelML550
Product NameMobile LED Projector ML550
Manufacturer Part Number95.8UA01GC0E
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.optoma.co.uk
Marketing InformationThe Optoma ML550 is an incredibly small LED projector with the power and performance of a larger unit. Delivering an impressive 550 lumens and 10,000:1 contrast ratio, along with razor sharp focus and magnificent color accuracy, the ML550 will make your presentations stand out above the rest. Designed for traveling professionals, the Optoma ML550 is small in size, light in weight and strong in performance and reliability. Its LED light source is rated to last over 20,000 hours, so there are no expensive bulbs to replace. It is built Optoma tough, so you know it will last for years to come.
Package Contents
  • Mobile LED Projector ML550
  • AC Power Cord
  • Universal I/O Cable
  • Carry Bag
  • Infra Red Remote Control with Battery
  • Quick Start Card
  • Warranty Card
Throw Ratio1.5 Distance:Width
Uniformity85%
Weight (Approximate)400 g