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Review: Optoma's Neo-i iPod/iPhone projector

Though its design stretches the definition of "pico" projector, the Optoma Neo-i's inclusion of an iPod/iPhone dock along and its semirespectable image and sound quality help put it ahead of many competing small, casual video projectors.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
The $449 Optomo Neo-i integrates an iPod/iPhone dock into a compact projector. Optoma

Pico projectors haven't really taken off like some people thought they would, but Optoma has an interesting new take on the compact projector genre: it's called the Neo-i, and it combines an iPod/iPhone speaker dock with a "tabletop" projector.

Though the Neo-i isn't cheap at $449, its specs are better than your typical pico projector. The Neo-i is a 50 ANSI lumen DLP projector that offers WVGA (854x480 pixels) resolution in 16:9 format, with a "full-bodied" 16-watt stereo system (yes, it's built right into the dock). The Neo-i can also be run using an optional outboard battery pack, and its bulb is rated at 20,000 hours. (Yes, it has to be replaced at some point.)

In contrast to its much smaller PK301 pico projector, which we were told has the same light engine, Optoma is not classifying the Neo-i as a portable device. However, at 12.8 inches wide by 8.9 inches deep by 3.1 inches tall and weighing 2.5 pounds, the unit is small and light enough to be considered "transportable."

How's the picture quality? Read the full review to find out.