Optoma has really been breaking ground in the pico projectors scene, and with the Optoma DV20a --aka the Neo-i iPhone/iPod projector--they are really putting these compact, portable data projectors to good use. In a nutshell, the Neo-i DV20a projector is a pico projector with a built-in iPhone/iPod dock. It's designed to allow you to play practically anything you want from your iPhone or iPod and share it with an audience of more than one. But upon closer examination of this data projector, it seems that it's capable of much more.
In a Nutshell
The Neo-i is optimized for an iPhone or iPod, but it features inputs for DVD players, laptops and other devices as well. It's strong suit is portability and simplicity, since you can display movies and other iPhone content without any additional cables or accessories. Another welcome surprise with the Optoma DV20a Neo-i is its impressive sound system. Whereas most pico projectors have insufficient speakers and most home theater projectors lack speakers altogether, the Neo-i strikes a happy medium by supplying audio via a very sufficient pair of 8 watt speakers.
The Optoma DV20a Neo-i has its namesake iPod and iPhone dock that lets you connect your iPhone or iPod without any extra cables. That alone is a huge feature, and one that may sell iPod Touch/iPhone users right off the bat. You can watch YouTube videos, iTunes videos, share web pages, project games and project practically anything else that you can display on an iPhone or iPod.
But the Optoma DV20a Neo-i is much more than an iPod gadget. It has an HDMI, VGA and composite input. That means you can hook up a DVD player, a laptop, a gaming system and practically any other device you want to. Given this, the Neo-i is almost classified as an all-in-one projector. The only thing it is missing is an SD card slot.
The Neo-i also supports the iPad, though you'll need to purchase an optional adapter.
While most pico projectors either lack speakers or feature speakers that are so small that they border on the ineffectual, the Neo-i has a surprisingly loud pair of 8 watt speakers. While you won't get the bass response of a home theater sound system, these speakers certainly do the trick when it comes to making dialogue audible for the whole room.
The bigger speakers do come at the expense of bulkiness, but this projector still definitely classifies as a portable projector.
The resolution on the Neo-i projector is 854x480, which is standard resolution for DVDs. The box claims that you can get a strong 10 foot diagonal image size, built in real life, you probably won't want to go over 60 inches for optimal performance.
The throw lens is fairly impressive as well. From about 100 inches back, you get a 55 inch picture. That's handy when the room isn't exactly gigantic, but you still want a decent sized picture.
The Neo-i is a good buy if you travel a lot and want to enjoy your iPhone or iPod movies and multimedia on the big screen. But for a home-based setup, you might want to consider one of the higher end TVs that offer all of the aforementioned inputs, including an iPod or iPad setup. The release of AirPlay seriously changes the equation and will continue to do so as more devices support this protocol. But in a pinch, the Neo-i works wonders and costs far, far less than a big screen TV.