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Optoma's new PK120 Pico packs TI's nHD DLP chip

Optoma has started shipping its new PK120 Pico projector that's powered by a new Texas Instruments chipset and costs a reasonable $249.

The Optoma PK120 weighs in at 5 ounces, costs $249, and comes in a couple of different colors. Optoma

Optoma makes some of the better Pico projectors out there, and its new PK120 offers some intriguing specs, including a relatively affordable $249 list price.

For starters, the 18-lumen PK120 weighs in at 5 ounces, is less than an inch thick, and is powered by Texas Instruments' new nHD DLP chipset with advanced LED technology, which delivers 640x360 pixel resolution in a 16:9 wide-screen aspect ratio.

The projector has 2GB of built-in memory and a microSD card slot that accepts memory cards up to 32GB. Optoma says it's made several improvements, including an "all-new file viewer that delivers direct playback of MS Office and PDF files, photos and movies." Supported video formats are H.264 (.avi, .mov, MP4, 3GP), MPEG4 (.avi, .mov, 3GP, .wmv), M-JPEG (.avi, .mov), Xvid (.avi, .wmv). The company also claims the new projector delivers improved clarity of text or other black content by creating a smoother image.

For audio, you get two integrated .5-watt speakers (that's not a whole lot of power), plus an audio-out port for connecting to external speakers. As with most of these projectors, you get a cable for connecting a desktop or laptop PC, but it doesn't ship with anything for connecting iOS or Android mobile devices and other smartphones. That said, the majority of folks will most likely store and play their files directly from a microSD card.

On the surface, this does seem to offer some modest improvements--and we're eager to see the nHD DLP chip in action--but 18 lumens isn't all that bright and we're a bit concerned about the sound (a lot of Pico projectors simply don't offer enough volume). Another potential shortcoming is that the rechargeable, lithium ion battery only powers the projector for up to 90 minutes. This is disappointing considering the nHD DLP chipset had been touted as being more power efficient. On the plus side, Optoma says the PK120 has "a dedicated power plug for faster recharging."

We'll let you know what we think when we get our hands on a review sample. Hopefully, this is a step forward for Pico projectors, which have suffered from lackluster performance and high prices.

The PK120 from the front. Optoma