Optoma W303 review

The Optoma W303 provides good text quality, a good set of connectivity choices, portability, and 3D capability in a WXGA data projector.
Photo of Optoma W303

As the highest-resolution model of three recently released budget projectors for business or classroom use, the Optoma W303 provides a well-rounded package that includes good text quality, a nice range of connectivity choices, portability, and 3D readiness.

The W303, a DLP-based data projector, sports WXGA (1,280 by 800) native resolution in a 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s rated at 3,000 lumens, bright enough to stand up to considerable ambient light. This projector is reasonably compact and portable at 4.6 by 12.4 by 8.8 inches (HWD) and a weight of 4.9 pounds. It includes a soft carrying case. It has a modest 1.1 optical zoom.

It has a solid selection of ports for a WXGA projector, including two VGA-in, which double as component video; monitor-out; serial; a single RCA jack for composite video; 2 audio-in; 1 audio-out; S-video; HDMI; and a USB type B port for remote mouse control. One port that it lacks is USB type A, for running presentations laptop-free from a USB thumb drive.

Image Quality
From about nine feet away, the projector filled our test screen with an image about 65 inches on a diagonal. The image stood up well when ambient light was introduced.

In data image testing using the DisplayMate suite, the W303 provided image quality suitable for typical business and classroom presentations. Text was a strong point. Type was readable, although a bit blurred, down to our smallest size in both black-on-white and white-on-black. Some images showed a trace of yellow tinting, and in general yellows and reds looked somewhat dull.

When I viewed the tests over a VGA connection, pixel jitter was evident in images designed to bring it out, and some hatched patterns showed green tinting. These effects disappeared when I switched to an HDMI connection. Several data images showed the rainbow effect, a common phenomenon in single-chip DLP projectors in which little red-green-blue flashes may appear, usually in bright areas against dark backgrounds. Though the rainbow artifacts were slightly more evident than is typical in data images, they’re less of an issue in data presentations than with video, so even people sensitive to the effect are unlikely to be bothered by it.

Video and Audio
Video quality for the W303 is okay for shorter clips to accompany a presentation. There were significant rainbow artifacts, and the effect is likely to be distracting even to people mildly sensitive to it. Some scenes showed too much red, particularly in flesh tones.

Audio from the projector’s two-watt speaker was very soft, hard to hear from even a short distance away. Fortunately, the projector has an audio-out port, so you can connect to powered external speakers if need be.

The W303 is 3D capable, but to use that feature requires that you invest in active-shutter 3D glasses. It provides higher resolution at a slightly higher price than the otherwise identical Optoma X303.The sharper text that the W303 provides may be worth the premium.

The Editors’ Choice NEC NP-M311W provides near-excellent data image quality and very good video quality for a data projector. As an LCD projector, it’s free of rainbow artifacts, though it also lacks the W303′s 3D capabilities. The BenQ MW663 also has very good video quality; although it’s a DLP projector its rainbow artifacts are minimal, and it is 3D capable.

Although the Optoma W303 doesn’t rise above the NEC NP-M311W or BenQ MW663 in either features or performance, it is a very well-rounded package. It provides video and audio suitable for workaday use, highlighted by good text quality. It’s portable and is 3D capable. It also provides a good set of connectivity choices. And it does it all at a budget price, which should be enough for many schools and businesses.

Specifications
Native Resolution 1280 x 800
Video Inputs Component, Composite, HDMI, S-Video
Computer Interfaces Analog VGA, HDMI
Wireless Connectivity No
Weight 4.9 lb
Rated Contrast Ratio 15000
Engine Type DLP
Type Business
Aspect Ratio 16
Rated Brightness 3000 ANSI lumens

Verdict
The Optoma W303 provides good text quality, a good set of connectivity choices, portability, and 3D capability in a WXGA data projector.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc