The Optoma ML1500 is designed to fill the gap between the pico mini projectors that fit in your palm, and larger and more solid traditional models. It’s clearly aimed at the executive on the move who wants to travel light.
It only weighs 1.4 kg and comes with a smart soft carry case that will fit neatly in a briefcase or overnight bag. It also succeeds in being very stylish, with a smooth black and silver tapering design that measures an ultra slimline 270 x 170 x 48 mm.
Setup is quick – there's no bulky power cable and the machine is up and running within seconds thanks to the lamp-less LED technology which doesn't require extended warm-up and cool-down times.
This projector's predecessor, the ML1000, was acclaimed for being considerably brighter than its equivalent lamp-based rivals with an LED brightness of 1000 ANSI lumem, and Optoma has increased this specification to 1500 ANSI lumens here to improve presentations in less than blacked-out conditions.
Where the ML1500 really shines is in the range of available inputs – as well as the expected VGA, composite video and 3.5 mm audio in, there are two USB-A ports for flash drives; plus an SD card slot, Micro-USB and HDMI.
An automatic vertical keystone correction system helps you accurately line up the image. The projector has a throw distance of 0.52–3.00m and a maximum screen size of 100 inches. The projector is ‘HD-Ready’ with the native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels (WXGA).
The ML1500 also provides several control options. The supplied slimline remote is small and fiddly compared to a touchpad interface on the top surface, which allows you to swiftly explore the menus. An additional mini Wi-Fi dongle can be purchased and slotted in via the USB port to display material from a Windows PC, Mac or mobile device.
With the dongle installed you can then make use of the free Wi-Fi-Doc App for iOS and Android phones and tablets to present documents and photos. The projector will read Microsoft Office and PDF files, which may reduce the need to carry laptops when out in the field – a potential selling point.
The sound quality is never going to be a major consideration but we found that voice commentary was more prominent than on most projector systems in this class. If you intend to use the ML1500 for watching films or linking to game consoles then external audio will always be preferable of course to the stereo 3 W on offer here, but it's certainly a vast improvement on the usual built-in fare.
As far as the image quality is concerned, the extra LED illumination means colours could stand out much more vividly over longer distance and this was especially appreciated in more brightly lit rooms. However, although the amount of detail has also been enhanced, blacks have a distinctly greyer tone and movie hues tended to favour the redder end of the spectrum.
For the travelling business person who wants to reduce luggage while still being able to present during meetings, the Optoma ML1500 will seem like an answered prayer. Its plethora of connectivity and control options, in-built media and office document players and expanded brightness make it a good executive companion.