If you're looking for big projector pictures without big projector prices or sizes that are most often found among the best 4K projectors, Optoma has just launched two super-compact projectors that deliver seriously big features without a similarly serious price tag.
The new ML1080 and ML1080ST are premium triple-laser projectors with a wide BT2020 color gamut, a feature normally reserved for considerably larger and more expensive devices. The ML1080 has already won awards including the InfoComm 2023 Best of Show award, so it could hold up well against the best portable projectors.
The specs here are impressive. Both models have triple laser light sources and full HD 1080p resolution, with 1,200 lumens of brightness and cinema-grade colors. With a weight of just 1kg they're as good for grab-and-go productions as they are for residential and office use.
They also use Time of Flight (ToF) technology to automatically sort geometry and focus so you don't have to fiddle around trying to get a properly proportioned picture. There's also four-corner correction designed to handle even oddly shaped rooms and weird placements.
Optoma ML1080/1080ST: more key features
There are some useful and thoughtful features here including integrated USB-C power output with PD 3.0 compatibility, which enables you to charge compatible batteries for outdoor projection. This is handy for home cinemas on hotter days as well as public events.
Projected images are up to 100 inches in size with a throw ratio of 1.2:1 in the ML1080 and 0.78:1 in the ML1080ST. That latter ratio means the full 100 inches from around 1.5m away from the wall or screen.
Both projectors deliver a contrast ratio of 3,000,000:1 and their light sources are rated for 30,000 hours of operation. You can share from networked devices – up to four – and there's an also a signage mode that's designed to make slideshows automatically from images and videos.
Optoma is particularly proud of these projectors' environmental credentials: they use 58% less electricity than the firm's similarly specced lamp-based projectors and use 50% post-consumer recycled materials.
In terms of connectivity, the inputs are USB-C and USB-A power. The outputs are 1 USB-C, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack and 1 x HDMI 2.1. You can control the projector via USB-A or RS-232 via mini-USB and an adapter for that latter option is included.
Both projectors are available now from Optoma. The ML1080 has a recommended retail price of $999 / £1,099, while the ML1080ST is $1,149 / £1,199 – although we're already seeing some retailers offering both models for slightly less.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.