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Optoma ML1500 review

Michael Passingham
12 Jul 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
686
inc VAT

High-quality portable projector, but its lack of built-in Wi-Fi is a disappointment

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Specifications

Projector type: LED, Native resolution: 1,280x800, Video inputs: VGA, HDMI, composite, Lamp life: N/A, Lamp brightness: 1500 lumens, Size: (HxWxD) 170x270x48, Weight: 1.4Kg

The Optoma ML1500 is a compact, portable projector designed for home and office environments. It comes with a carry case and has an internal power supply, so you only need to carry a power cable with you, not a bulky power brick, when on the move. Even better, the ML1500 weighs just 1.4kg, which is 100g less than the similarly specified BenQ GP10. That device costs under £500, though, making it cheaper than the Optoma.

There’s an excellent array of display and data inputs on the ML1500 that should suit most users. Two full-size and one micro-USB port, VGA and HDMI connectors, an SD card slot, component video and 3.5mm jacks for audio input and output are all provided.

Optoma ML1500 rear

If you need to display presentations directly from a USB flash drive, the ML1500 is for you. It's compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel and Word files, as well as PDF files, JPG and BMP images and AVI, DIVX, MPEG and MKV videos. Annoyingly, it doesn’t support audio files such as MP3s even though it has no trouble playing audio on a video.

The ML1500 has a maximum resolution of 1280x800 pixels, so it isn’t full-HD. Nonetheless, image quality is fairly good and the 1500 lumen LED display performs very well for a device of this size. The screen is bright and text is certainly crisp, but the darker areas of our test photographs lost a lot of detail when we viewed them with the office lights turned on. Video performance is reasonable, although there’s a noticeable amount of juddering in fast panning shots.

There are no user-customisable picture options available, just Bright, PC, Cinema and Photo. Of these, we’d only recommend PC. In our tests, it increased brightness and contrast and allowed us to see much more detail in darker videos and pictures.

Optoma ML1500 top

The ML1500 is also 3D-ready, but you'll have to buy Optoma ZD301 3D glasses for around £70 in order to view 3D footage. The 6W speakers on the device are useful to liven up presentations, they lack enough volume for sustained use, but you can add something beefier, even when on the go, thanks to the minijack output.

You can make the ML1500 wireless with an optional dongle (WU5205, £40 from www.coopelectricalshop.co.uk). This also lets you project from a mobile device using the WiFi-Doc app for iOS and Android devices. It's a shame you have to pay for Wi-Fi because other, cheaper projectors come with a Wi-Fi adaptor built in.

The feet on the ML1500 aren't adjustable, but the device does have an auto keystoning feature which recognises when the projection image needs shifting.

The Optoma ML1500 is a very good projector which is tastefully styled and well built. While image quality is good, the ML1500 is slightly too expensive, especially when the BenQ GP10 is similarly specified but much cheaper. The ML1500 may be three times brighter than the GP10, but it sits in an awkward middle ground where it isn’t good enough to be a home cinema projector and put that brightness to use. Even so, its performance won't disappoint if you're willing to pay the price.

Details

Price£686
Detailswww.optoma.co.uk
Rating***
Awardnone

Specifications

Projector technologyLED
Lamp brightness1,500 ANSI lumens
Lamp life20,000
Lamp life in economy mode20,000
Contrast ratio15,000:1

Picture

Native resolution1,280x800
Max compressed resolution704x480
Aspect ratio16:10
Other aspect ratios4:3
Max diagonal at 7ft71
Throw ratio1.4:1
Optical zoomFail
Projection distance0.52-3m
Mirror imageyes
Invert imageyes
Lens shift horizontal0%
Lens shift vertical0%
HD Readyyes
Special view modesPC, Cinema, Photo, Bright

Inputs/Outputs

VGA inputyes
DVI inputNo
Sound inputs3.5mm
Composite inputyes
S-video inputno
HDMI inputyes
PAL supportyes
SECAM supportno
NTSC supportyes
Audio output3.5mm
Video outputnone
Others inputs/outputsUSB, micro USB, SD card

Other

Noise (in normal use)30dB(A)
Size170x270x48
Weight1.4kg
Internal speakersyes (6W stereo)
Extrasremote, power cable
Remote special featuressource select, volume, picture settings, blank screen
Power consumption standby145W
Power consumption on1W

Lamp

Lamp cost (inc VAT)N/A
Lamp supplierN/A
Lamp cost per hour of useN/A
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)N/A

Buying Information

Price£686
Supplierhttp://www.ballicom.co.uk
Detailswww.optoma.co.uk

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