What Is It
Most well-known application of projectors is at the cinemas. Those are huge, industrial-like stationary machines that cast an image projection on a flat surface, such as a large screen or a wall. Modern technologies render it possible to make them so small, you can even put them in your pocket. Such mini projectors can be mounted on a tripod or a simple table in school classrooms, lecture halls or sleeping rooms. And lately, pocket projector became an essential companion of teachers and lecturers. They can be used almost anywhere, have different ports to connect them to a notebook or other digital devices. However, these micro-projectors, that are also called pico projectors, can display a crisp picture on the screen with a diagonal up to 120 inches and lighting lux at up to 100 lm. This is enough to get a distinct picture in a darkened room with closed drapes.
Note, that you will need some kind of white wall or screen to throw the image onto with your projector. If you don't have any, take a quick glance of the bestselling projector screens of this year. If you are a lecturer or a speaker, you will also appreciate our review of best presentation remotes. They come with a built-in laser pointer and other useful features to make your job easier. Just check them out and see for yourself.
What Features to Compare
The first thing you should consider is the Projection Specifications of a projector. As we've mentioned above, it may project an image at a diagonal of up to 120 inches without losing its crispness. Such width may be necessary for university auditoriums so that even from the back rows people could see a presentation. The image quality is affected by many factors.
- Resolution directly influences the quality of the picture. It shows a number of pixels in a projector matrix. Resolution is given as a value, that looks like 1280x720, where 1280 is the number of pixels horizontally, and 720 – vertically. It’s not the width of the picture, however, the bigger this value is, the more detailed image you get.
- Brightness is also important. As it comes from the name, it’s how bright your projection will be. Brightness value is given in Lumens (lm) and similar to light bulbs - the bigger it is, the lighter your image will be. Go for bigger value if you are going to do presentations in light rooms.
- Contrast defines the ratio between light and dark parts of a picture. You can use a pocket projector with a high contrast in lighter rooms to get a more distinct picture. Please note, that the main parameter for lighting is still the brightness.
Another few things worth mentioning are aspect ratio and the projector technology. The former shows a ratio between horizontal and vertical lines. In simple words, photos usually have a 4:3 aspect ratio, while most movies and videos are 16:9 nowadays. Projector technology is the type of a mechanism that’s used for producing a projection. For instance, DLP has a high contrast while LED has a great brightness.
Pay attention to Data Interfaces of the pocket projector. The USB port is used to connect a projector to a notebook, memory stick or even to a mobile phone. With HDMI you can transfer a video of high quality from a PC or Blu-ray player. 3.5mm audio output allows you to enhance the sound by adding external speakers or plugging headphones in. That’s an essential feature for large rooms, where built-in speakers are just not enough. Some models can work with Wi-Fi hotspots. You can connect them to the same network as your notebook or mobile phone and transfer a video directly from them. Neat, isn’t it?
Finally, take a look at Dimensions and Extra Features. It should be lightweight and compact. Most of them can be carried in a pocket of a jacket or in a case. Tripod stand is great for adjusting the projector at a right angle to get the best view. Some mini projectors will not only receive a signal via USB but even charge other devices, like mobile phones or portable speakers. As for power efficiency, mini projectors are powered with batteries, that are usually enough for at least one hour of work. That means that you can even take them on a trip to show your kids a movie in the evening. Projectors are recharged via cable and most of them can work and be recharged at the same time
Overall, pocket projectors are great for indoors and outdoors activities. So let’s take a closer look at some of them.
Optoma ML750ST Ultra-Compact Projector
This Optoma ML750ST has a truly magnificent optic characteristics that allow you to deliver a professional presentation simply anywhere, regardless of the lighting conditions in the room. The major feature of this projector is a short-throw lens that can project a 100" image from only 3.3 ft. away. So, you can hold a presentation or watch a film in the tightest rooms by placing the device closer to the screen. What's more, its 800 lm bright lamp is nothing to joke about as well. We've noticed, that unlike some other projectors, the colors on the projected image are remarkably distinct even in a lighted room. All of the image settings are available from the projector's menu, except for the focus, that can be adjusted only manually via the focusing ring on the lens.
It's worth mentioning, that the lamp requires no pre-heating and is ready for use in just 5 seconds after the device is switched on. Also, note the Optoma ML750ST is a corded model and comes with an AC power cable and an adapter. Therefore, it has to be plugged into a power outlet in order to operate. On the plus side, you don't have to worry about battery life at all.
Let's take a closer look at the available interfaces. It comes with a universal VGA-to-24pin cable that is compatible with most laptops and personal computers. You can also hook it up to a gaming console or TV box via HDMI port and build a small home cinema right in your living room. As a side note, you might require a white screen for this. There are also USB and microSD slots for memory sticks. The Optoma ML750ST can read pictures in jpeg and bmp. It also supports most popular video formats: avi, mp4, wmv, and others. Although the native aspect ratio is 16:10, the projector can reproduce videos in both 16:9 and 4:3 ratios as well. We were a bit disappointed that the projector has no internal Wi-Fi module. However, a special Wi-Fi dongle can be bought separately.
At the end of the day, this is an ultimate pocket-sized projector that can be safely employed for any tasks, owing to its rich functionality and absolute image quality.
More Products to Consider
Customers who purchase the Optoma projector, often buy together with it a wireless adapter to be able to connect it to other digital devices.
Best of the Best
Our team was impressed with test results of this small projector. Sony Portable HD has a great resolution at up to 1920x720 and a corresponding aspect ratio of 16:9. Such resolution allows you to watch movies in high-def with attention to details and a minimal loss of image quality. Both static pictures and dynamic video looked all right. The contrast in this model is very high, making colors look vibrant even at a maximum distance from the screen. This was achieved due to a new and potentially one of the best technologies, where a laser diode is used to project a picture.
We want to point out an awesome feature in this Sony projector: when turned on, it automatically adjusts the focus by scanning the distance between the projection screen and its retinal projector. Contrast, hue, and saturation can be adjusted manually from the menu. And if you can’t place the projector at a right angle to display, there are alignment options in the menu and a supplied two-way stand to fix this.
Practical and Convenient
Sony pico-projector comes with a ton of features. First and foremost you can connect it to Wi-Fi hotspot at 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz. That way you can display an image right from your mobile phone's or notebook's hotspot, thanks to a certified Miracast technology. It has a mini-HDMI port and comes with an HDMI to mini-HDMI adapter for you to plug in a cable from your game console, PC, Blu-ray player or any other device, and get an image on a display.
Capacious 3400 mAh battery is a real survivor. It worked for 2 hours straight, before the indicator started blinking. You can recharge it with a USB-to-Micro USB adapter (included) from your laptop or any other USB port. Sony Portable HD has a standard USB output port, that you can use to charge up other devices like mobile phone or portable speakers. As for the sound, a built-in speaker might not be loud enough in large rooms. In this case, simply plug your headphones or speakers in a 3.5mm output port and get a clear stereo sound.
More Products to Consider
Sony Portable HD projector is so compact, you can put it in your pocket. However, to safely carry it around get this AmazonBasics Universal Travel Case. You can put inside the mobile projector itself together with additional cables and adapters. Overall, it's a solid case that’s compatible with many other devices as well.
Amaz-Play Mobile Pico Projector Portable Mini
Enjoy the View
Despite having a word Mini in the name, this Amaz-Play Pico Projector boasts slightly larger dimensions than the company's first model. Still, it's pretty compact and, what is even more important, boasts Full HD video support and comparatively bright 80 lm DLP matrix with 854x480 resolution, allowing you to enjoy the quality videos and photos at up to 60" diagonal view at your home or office. On a bright day, you may have to close the window curtains and move the device closer to the screen in order to obtain crisper picture. But in a dark room, it can provide you with a perfectly sharp image with great color saturation. Furthermore, the projector can be set on the tripod, that comes inside the box, and adjusted for the best throw angle as well.
As for the sound, the internal speaker is there mostly for the show. We recommend either hook it up to the separate speakers or to your own headphones via 3.5mm audio out.
Smart and Stylish
Speaking about extra items, the package also includes an AC power adapter, a remote control, a short HDMI cable for connecting it to PC or gaming console. It can also read from microSD cards. But the best part is that it comes with a Wi-Fi dongle that can grab a signal from a hotspot, created on your computer or mobile phone (requires EZcast Pro free app).
Frankly, we were a bit impressed by how many file formats it supports. Along with all the common standard video, image, and video files, Amaz-Play projector can read Microsoft Word and Excel documents, PowerPoint presentations, and up to 75 MB PDF files. One battery charge is enough for about 2 hours of continuous use. You can either use an adapter or connect it to a USB-to-Micro-USB cable (not included) with a laptop or a power bank. Also, it can work while recharging.
Concluding, it's an optimal portable projector with an attractive sleek design that can lend you a helping hand in creating a small home theater or holding a successful business presentation.
More Products to Consider
If you don't want to turn on hotspot on your Apple device in order to save the battery, grab a Lightning-to-HDMI adapter for connecting it to the projector.
Magnasonic LED Pocket Pico Video Projector
Portable Little Helper
Magnasonic LED Pocket Pico Video Projector utilizes DLP technology to achieve saturated picture at 640x360 resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio which is fine to watch movies. The picture itself has a high 1100:1 contrast in optimal conditions. The light output is 25 lm, that might require a darker room if you want to project a video at a maximum 60". HDMI port supports a signal from most notebooks, game consoles and tons of other devices. There're a special adapter for Samsung Galaxy and a standard micro USB to HDMI adapter for other phones. The 3.5mm audio output is placed on the rear side to plug in external speakers or headphones.
Within Arm's Reach
Lithium built-in 2100 mAh battery has a rather unexpected capacity for such tiny body. Anyhow, it's enough for up to 120 hours of continuous work. It comes with an HDMI cable and a couple of adapters to connect it to different devices. A tripod is included to mount and adjust the projector's angle. Protection bag is also supplied to keep it safe and sound.
The main feature, however, is the size. Yeah, all of the mobile projectors are pretty compact, but this one is a champ. The manufacturer claims that it's one of the smallest projectors in the world. And it’s not too far from the truth. At 0.28 lbs, you can carry it around in a pocket or a bag almost without noticing it. And it doesn't matter, if you have a planned or sudden need to make a presentation at work or to show photos to a family, just take it out, plug a phone in and you are on a roll.
More Products to Consider
With Wireless Presenter Pen by Doosl, your business presentations will always go smoothly. Draw audience's attention to necessary topics with a built-in laser pointer, and never again get distracted by going to a keyboard to switch the slides - now this can be done with the assistance of this pen.
AAXA Technologies Ultra Portable Projector
AAXA mobile projector boasts a combination of LEDs with LCoS module to achieve upper hand in terms of colors quality. The next thing to note is that it has absolutely no interlacing that can be seen when you try playing old videos on hi-res HDTV. Such videos usually have visible horizontal lines and blurry, flickering small details, that might cause eye fatigue. AAXA pico projector shows a nice picture with deep black color and has a 25 lm lamp, which is a good result for the projectors of this type. The lamp itself can work for around 15,000 hours, so this projector will stick with you for many years.
Plug and Play
AAXA Pico Projector has a mini-HDMI port that may be connected to many notebooks, PC, and tablets. AAXA projector also has an AV-port and comes with a composite cord for wiring it up to a game console, DVD, Blu-ray player, or any other device that has an AV output. You can use it as a media player, as it works with numerous formats. Such as MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV, AVI, BMP, JPG, GIF, TXT. Just upload your files to MicroSD, USB stick or portable HDD and it will read and display them for you. Built-in 1800 mAh battery is enough for up to 80 minutes. As for the audio, a built-in speaker is okay for quite small rooms, but for better sound plug speakers or headphones in a 3.5mm port.
More Products to Consider
As it turned out, AAXA Technologies Ultra Portable Projector has a mini-HDMI port, but shipped without an HDMI to mini-HDMI adapter. Therefore, get this ChromaCast HDMI to mini-HDMI cable, and use it to connect to any of HDMI outputs that you need.
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