If you’re looking for a good portable projector, it is important to know what aspects to expect. These types of projectors keep getting smaller and smaller, with many being tiny enough to fit into your hand or even your pocket. However, that decrease in size often affects the projection size and the resolution. You also lose a lot of brightness with smaller projectors, making it a bit of a delicate balancing act. Here is what you need to consider when purchasing a micro projector.
Micro Projector Reviews
If you’re just looking for some product recommendations, then let us share a few of our favorite models when it comes to the top micro projectors for the money. Below you’ll find three of our favorite models on the market right now. Check them out and see if one of these meets your needs.
3T LED Projector by FAVI Review
For a high-quality image that is adaptable with a wide variety of items, this projector is perfect. It has a built-in media file player that includes a USB input that helps make it easy to hook up to your television, your computer, or even your video game systems. It also includes two HDMI inputs at 16:9 and HD video quality, giving you a diverse range of display options. Compatibility with Blu-Ray is also possible, and when you combine that with a lifespan of 30,000 hours, you have a projector that is more than worth the investment.
Pros: Adaptable use with a variety of items, high-quality picture display, and remote control use.
Cons: A little bulky for portable use, requires extra cables to achieve the highest possible resolution with some video game machines.
iCODIS G1 Mobile Pico Projector Review
If you are interested in a portable display for your business or personal needs, this small projector is a good choice. It comes with HDMI and Wi-Fi wireless connectivity, a 120-inch display, a 30,000 hour LED, 100 ANSI lumen brightness, and resolution as high as 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. All of that contained in a projector that easily fits within the palm of your hand. It can hook up easily to your Smart Phone or can synch up with your computer to display a variety of media, including training videos and business-oriented slide shows.
Pros: Powerful, easy to use, and clear display.
Cons: Battery has a fairly unimpressive 120 minute life, which will rapidly decrease as you use the projector.
AAXA P4-X LED Pico Projector Review
This good pocket-sized projector uses a Li-Ion battery, and can use a mini HDMI. Compatible with all MacBook Air or Pro products, the AAXA P4-X Pico Projector has an ultra-bright 125 lumen LED light engine. It comes with its own tripod, a composite AV cable, a wall charger, a remote control, a VGA adapter cable, and a USB adapter cable. Native resolution is 858 x 480 pixels.
Pros: Fits in your pocket, duh! The LED life is 15,000 hours – so basically, forever.
Cons: Battery lasts 90 minutes, which is fine for camping as long as you watch television shows instead of full movies. Screening Braveheart in the woods will leave you sorely disappointed.
Obviously, you’re going to want to choose a portable projector which is the right size for your needs. For example, it is possible to find “pocket” projectors that are a mere five by five inches, while some pico projectors are small enough to literally fit within your pocket. When choosing a projector, it is important to ask yourself if you truly need one that small or if you can use one that is a little larger.
A lot of this depends on why you are using a projector. A top rated pico projector is a great choice for in-home viewing, where you project on a fairly small area on a wall. It’s portability makes it easy to take to the house of a friend to watch family videos or even Hollywood movies. However, pocket projectors are probably more useful for business-oriented meetings, where the projection needs to be larger.
This is important to remember, because you might be tempted to simply buy the smallest possible projector in order to make it more easily portable. You may also purchase a “pocket” projector believing it can literally fit in your pocket. Most are too large for this, as “pocket” is more of an industry term than a truly accurate description of its size.
Resolution varies wildly with portable projectors. For example, pico projectors typically utilize VGA and top off at 640 by 480. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to project an area much larger. The higher you move your projection past its resolution, the worse the display will look. Try to stick as close as possible to the native resolution when displaying. This resolution should be included on the description of the projector.
Palm-top or “pocket” projectors offer SVGA resolution at about 800 by 600. As mentioned above, this makes them more useful for larger projection jobs. They are also more adaptable to adjustment outside of their range, though you will still lose definition as you adjust beyond it. It is possible to use some palm-top projectors for large displays, such as movie displays in the park, but you will lose clearness.
Conversely, you don’t want to decrease your projector resolution too far. Using an 800 by 600 projector in a situation that calls for 640 by 480 (such as in-home projector use) will decrease the clearness of your image by lowering it too far past its prime resolution rate. Again, there’s some wiggle room here, but you still want to get as close to the native resolution as possible.
One thing that people often ignore when it comes to portable projectors is the brightness. They often misunderstand the connection between watts and lumens. Watts is how much electricity is used to power a bulb, while lumens is its brightness. So pay attention to this aspect, not the watts, when choosing a portable projector.
Most portable projectors range from about 10 lumens to 200 lumens. Pico projectors typically fall within the lower range and can create a picture with a 24-inch diagonal. Higher end projectors provide enough lumens for a 60 to 70-inch diagonal.
Again, the choice here depends on your display needs. If you’re simply looking for an inexpensive projector on which you can watch movies at home, pico projectors are bright enough to fit the bill. Anything higher requires a brighter projector.
However, don’t be fooled into buying the brightest possible projector. Excessive brightness can often create a glare that makes the projector impossible to use. For example, a 200 lumen portable projector is likely to be too bright for in-home use.
The Connection Types
Portable projectors come with a variety of different connection types. Some will utilize USB ports, while others have built-in WiFi connectivity. You should definitely try to find one with a physical connection, as WiFi, no matter how strong, is usually a little less efficient than HDMI or even USB ports. Pico projectors typically have WiFi and a USB port, while “pocket” projectors have HDMI ports that are more appropriate for higher quality videos.
Typically, you’re going to want to go for the highest quality connection possible. In this case, HDMI probably remains your best option. This is especially useful with large pocket projector displays, as it can add a level of clarity to the resolution. However, for smaller pico projectors, HDMI is probably unnecessary. Even though HDMI may be available on some of these types of projectors, the benefits it offers such a small display are harder to notice and often negligible compared to the extra price.
Audio quality level in portable projectors is highly variable. Small pico projectors range from having no sound to having a very muddy one. “Pocket” projectors typically have better built-in sound systems, with surprisingly effective speakers. However, it is typically a good idea to purchase some kind of sound system with your portable projector, especially if you plan on using them for a larger display.
This might seem frustrating, but it’s common even with larger projectors. The money you’re saving on purchasing a smaller projector can go towards buying high-quality surround sound systems. These can be spread around your display area, such as the home or park where you’re displaying your movie, to create a comprehensive and inclusive sound system. Make sure to spread them around the area to create an immersive sound environment.
Making The Choice
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what to look for in a portable projector. It all comes down to the purpose of your projector and the display size you want to create. Pico projectors make an excellent choice for someone who doesn’t need a highly precise or large image, while pocket projectors are appropriate for more accurate and larger displays.
When it comes to choosing between specific models, try to find the ones with the highest specifications, and which are compatible with your personal technological items. For example, if you plan on displaying from an Apple computer, make sure that your projector works with it. This might seem obvious, but it is surprising how many people forget this simple tip.