Recently, Optoma lent us one of their ML300 projectors and Wi-Fi dongle for review. The ML300 is one of the most portable projectors I have ever seen, weighing in at about a pound and a half and being about the size of a large book. It came with a variety of cables as well as an AC adapter (unfortunately, it is not battery-powered) and awesome carrying case. For its size, the projector is equipped with a large number of input ports, including mini-HDMI, USB, VGA, Composite, microUSB, and microSD slot. It also has a 2 Watt speaker built into the unit as well as 3.5mm audio output port if you want to connect it to some more powerful speakers.

One of the most interesting features of the ML300 projector is that it will automatically detect what angle it is sitting at and adjust the keystone correction accordingly. This worked very well, albeit with a slight delay in detection before adjusting the image. Also, the unit features 300 lumens of brightness and you can easily get up to about a 120 inch video size going in a semi dark room without issue. Technically, the unit is rated at displaying up to a 160 inch video size. However, when trying this size we noted some loss of image quality. For most practical screen sizes, however, it should not be an issue and performs at least as well as any other projector of this category (It’s brighter than most, actually). The internal, 2 Watt speaker worked fine for a small area but I would definitely recommend using an external speaker set if you are in a medium to large size room or office – for dorm or small room environments, the internal speaker should be fine. The onscreen menu system is a bit on the clunky side. Instead of using arrows to navigate a cursor from option to option, the menu system uses more of an game console control scheme with symbols. It works, but could be cleaned up a lot. The ML300 did include a small remote control to help navigate the menus, so that should help those making presentations or just not wanting to get up from the couch.

The biggest detractors that I can see in purchasing the Optoma ML300 are its heat issues and lack of battery. Even though it is equipped with a fan-based cooling system, the ML300 projector gets very hot – too hot to touch the bottom of the unit, in fact, after being in operation for just a few minutes. My advice is to let it cool down for a bit after using so that you can handle it without burning your fingers. The second issue is that it runs only on AC power. It would have expanded its use as as portable projector (especially given its weight) to at least offer a rechargeable battery for the unit.

If you are looking to stream presentations on the go, I would recommend picking up the optional USB Wi-Fi dongle for the ML300. It creates a wireless hot spot that your PC or laptop can connect to and stream video to. We did notice some lag in the video from our laptop, however, so take note before you assume you will be streaming high definition film to your projector.

Overall, the Optoma Ml300 projector features some great functionality for less than $500 dollars. It would be perfect for the business person on-the-go, students looking to outfit their dorm with a projector system, or even basic home theater use. Optoma also offers a slightly larger and brighter model (at the expense of portability) called the ML500 if you need such features.

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Pros

  • Very portable
  • Auto keystone correction
  • Decent image quality
  • Brighter than many other mobile LED projectors
  • Great carrying case
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Cons

  • Clunky menu system
  • Generates a lot of heat
  • Some loss of image clarity at full rated size
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Images

Optoma ML300 Specifications

Display Technology DLP®
Resolution Native WXGA (1280 x 800)
Maximum Resolution WXGA (1280 x 800) through VGA; HD (1080p) through HDMI
Brightness 300 ANSI Lumens
Contrast Ratio 3000:1 (Full On/Full Off)
Light Source Life and Type 20,000 hours, LED
Throw Ratio 1.5:1 (Distance/Width)
Image Size (Diagonal) 17″ to 160″ (43.2 to 406cm)
Projection Distance 22″ to 203″ (56 to 516cm)
Aspect Ratio 16:10 Native; 16:9 and 4:3 compatible
Offset 100% of image is above center line of lens when upright
3D Compatibility DLPLink 3D capable; Compatible with 3D content at XGA (1024 x 768) and 120Hz through the VGA port; Not Optoma 3D-XL compatible
Keystone Correction Auto Vertical Keystone with manual override +/-40 deg
Displayable Colors 100% NTSC Color Gamut
Audio 2-Watt Speaker
Computer Compatibility WXGA, XGA, SVGA, VGA, VESA, PC and Macintosh Compatible
Video Input Compatibility HDTV (720p, 1080i/p), EDTV (480p), SDTV (480i), NTSC, PAL
Memory 2GB Internal; microSD slot supports up to 32GB SDHC
Video File Compatibility H.264 (AVI, MOV, MP4, 3GP), MPEG4 (AVI), Xvid (AVI), MJPEG (AVI)
Office Viewer Compatibility Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, Excel, .txt, Adobe pdf
Image File Compatibility JPEG, BMP
Audio File Compatibility AAC, MP3, PCM, ADPCM, WMA
WiFi Compatible with Optoma USB Wireless Dongle
User Controls Direct Access On-Screen GUI in 15 Languages
Remote Control Fully Featured IR Remote
Projection Method Front, Rear, Upright, Inverted
I/O Connectors Mini HDMI, microSD Slot, VGA-In, 2.5mm AV Input (Composite Video and Stereo Audio-In), Micro USB, USB, 3.5mm Audio-Out, DC Input
Weight 1.4 lbs (635g)
Dimensions (W x H x D) 7.2″ x 1.8″ x 4.4″ (184 x 45.0 x 112mm)
Operating Temperature 41° to 95°F (5° to 35°C) at sea level and 80% max humidity
Power Supply Input: 100-240V ~ 50-60Hz, 2.0A Output: 19V ~ DC, 4.74A
Power Consumption 90W max (Bright mode with Multimedia function)
Noise Level 36 dB
Standard Accessories Remote Control, Battery for Remote, VGA Cable, Type A to micro USB Cable, AV Cable (RCA to 2.5mm), Power Adapter, Carrying Case, Quick Start Card, Warranty Card
Optional Accessories iPad®/iPod®/iPhone® Apple Connection Kit, mini HDMI Cable Kit, Mini HDMI to Micro HDMI Cable, VGA to Component Cable, USB Wireless Dongle, VGA Wireless Dongle, 40″ and 50″ Matte White Mini Pull-Up Screens
Warranty 1-Year Limited Parts and Labor

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Jerry Paxton

A long-time fan and reveler of all things Geek, I am also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of GamingShogun.com