Optoma Neo-i

Author: Sven Rafferty
July 26th, 2011
Optoma_NEO-i.jpg

Pros

  • Clear, sharp, bright, and large image
  • Amazing sound
  • Works with any iOS device, including iPad (with adapter)
  • Navigate iOS device via infrared remote
  • LED blubs give 20,000 hours of use

Cons

  • MSRP a bit high
  • Does not come with case

The Bottom Line
If the iPads screen is just not large enough for your viewing pleasure, or if you are looking for a small portable projector to accompany your portable player, then the Neo-i is going to be a strong contender on your purse strings. With an amazing sounding speaker system that rivals many speaker-only iPod docs and astonishing picture quality from something that projects using LEDs, there really isn’t any other choice in small form factor projectors.

Ratings

Overall:

Picture:

Brightness:

Blacks:

Sound:

Video:

Price:

Recommended
Yes

Full Review
Optoma gives your iPod or iPhone a place to sit and chargeā€¦and play your music..and play your video all in a small form factor. The Neo-i takes portable media to a whole new level with its LED DLP projection and small footprint. But can something so small give big rewards?

I first saw the Neo-i at Macworld 2011 and was amazed by how bright the image was under the beaming lights of the Moscone Center. Tucked away in the corner of the West Hall, Optoma showed off two small projectors to the Mac geeks and curious of San Francisco. I spoke to Walter Marshall, Product Manager for the Neo-i, who told me that Optoma was excited about the Neo-i and it’s ability to play video from standard HDMI, VGA, and composite inputs but also allowing native playback from your iOS device.

SvenOnTech received an early review unit which wasn’t quite ready for prime time as our older iPod video was unable play video though the audio came out just fine through the fine speaker system. Optoma quickly resolved the issue with a brand new unit with the latest firmware burned into Neo-i.

As you will see in the Video Review, the image is bright enough to paint any light colored wall with your iPhone or iPod content in the middle of the day. We played various TV shows and movies from our iPod video and iPhone 3GS and were very impressed by the clarity of the image. The screen was large, filling up to three meters, and full of color. The blacks are fine but not as rich and deep as you will get with from a back-lit screen HDTV. Colors looked like what they were suppose to be. Red was red and blue was blue and so forth. Obviously, colors are more vibrant and solid when projected on a proper screen but I never felt like I was getting a washed out picture when viewing against my light yellow wall at home.

One thing you must remember about this unit is the fact that it is not using a standard light bulb found on many proctors such as the GT720 we reviewed last year. No, the Neo-i blows out its colors of animation through LED light. I had to keep telling myself as I watched a show or movie, ‘This is coming out of a bunch of LEDs!’ What makes it more amazing is the fact white is white. Look at a Christmas tree with LEDs on them from just a year or two ago and that light has a tint of blue in it. You will never see blue tinted light on our screen from the Neo-i. Well, unless it’s suppose to be. :)

Another feature that kept amazing me was the big sound coming out of the little guy. The sound was rich, full of bass, and yet sensitive to highs. While I max out the volume on my GT720, which is never enough, I only pushed the volume on the Neo-i once just to see how loud it could go. I never needed to push the little guy while enjoying the video experience of the Neo-i. Optoma calls this a speaker system on its product literature and guess what? It really is. I could totally see just using this to play music and music only. Sure, it’s not going to out perform offerings from Bose or Altec Lansing, but those units are also just a mere $200 cheaper and all they do is audio.

Oh yes, speaking of money, let’s talk about the price. Suggested retail price is $449 which is a bit high. Thankfully, Amazon and others ignore the suggestion and you can nab this for $350 which I feel is a good deal for this unit. Don’t get stuck paying MSRP for this.

Video Review

Price: $449 (MSRP)

Platform: Universal iPod/iPhone Dock (30-Pin), HDMI, VGA-In, 2.5mm Jack AV Input (Composite Video and Stereo Audio-In)

Website: Product Webpage


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