Optoma Neo-i integrates pico projector and iPod dock

Optoma has unveiled what it says is the world's first iPod/iPhone dock with a built-in pico projector. The NEO-i goes hits stores early in 2011 for $449.

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, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
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David Carnoy
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The Neo-i was supposed to ship in December for $449 but its release was delayed until early 2011. Optoma

Pico projectors haven't really taken off like some people thought they would, but this new one from Optoma looks interesting. That's because Optoma has combined an iPod/iPhone sound dock with a "tabletop" projector, which seems like the way to go with these sort of projectors.

Though the Neo-i, which was supposed to ship in mid-December, isn't cheap at $449, its specs are better than your typical pico projector. The company says 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. The Neo-i can also be run using an optional battery pack, and its bulb is rated at 20,000 hours.

Optoma says the docking station accommodates both iPods and iPhones, and you'll have three options for accessing and controlling your media selections: from your iPod/iPhone screen, the included IR remote, or the backlit control panel on the Neo-i itself.

In terms of connectivity, the projector has HDMI (1.3) and VGA ports that allow you to connect laptops, Blu-ray players, and other digital media boxes such as Apple TV or the Roku Player. An optional accessory kit will be available for connecting the iPad.

Optoma says it's not classifying the Neo-i as as a portable device, but it points out that the unit is relatively small at 12.8 by 8.9 by 3.1 inches and weighing 2.5 pounds, which makes it "easily" transportable.

As we said, at first glance it looks intriguing, and we look forward to giving this one a test run as soon as it hits the market.