Portable projectors

 

Portable projectors or minis as I like to call them first debuted at CES 2014 in large numbers and since then their performance has been increasing dramatically. There have been improvements in efficiency, brightness and resolution, battery life, and also price points. The companies offering these devices are constantly improving the value proposition and a lot of users have been reporting more and more compelling experience. These gadgets are small enough to slip into pockets, handbags and gadget sleeves or as wearable technology giving a new meaning to mobile cinema.

Design and Versatility

Sleek, curvy and even cubic, product designers are having a lot of fun designing minis especially now that nothing remarkable is happening with mobile phones as far as design is concerned. Beam projector from Beam Labs Inc. is equipped with a screw socket that makes it fit into almost any light socket, so it can display entertainment but also can be used to set ambient moods. Glyph mini comes as a wearable similar to the Google glass but incorporated into an audio headset that projects the image directly onto the eye ball giving an immersive media consumption experience. Exterior materials have also seen improvements ranging from soft touch finish to aluminum casings.

Battery life

Packing a small size means mobility and running on batteries makes a lot of sense. Battery life for minis can range from 120 minutes to up to six hours on some projectors. The JmGO is very flexible because it gives up to 6 hours of HD picture quality projection depending on the ambient light environment. The huge range of battery life across projectors can be attributed to projector technology, functionality and size.

Smart tech

What is so novel about these devices is that they are OS compatible, so you can work and play with them via Android or Apple ecosystem. Wireless connectivity allows internet access and makes streaming video and audio content seamless. Augmented technology gives high definition imagery for industrial, consumer and gaming applications. Odin smart projector is an android based multi functional portable visual display that solves a slew of audio visual problems as well as opens the doors for limitless content sharing possibilities.

Display

Incorporating functions like ultra short throw technology allows projection of large and sharp images from very short distances making them ideal in small spaces. Infinite and auto-focus functions are widely available. Projection size starts from about 20 inches and goes up to about 3meters diagonal on some 4k DLP projectors. Texas Instruments 4K projector that is incorporated in DLP Pico projector chips allows images of up to 5000 lumens brightness at affordable prices.

Most buyers look out for lumen count when choosing a mini but some prefer to check if the projector uses a laser or LED projection technology. The difference between the two technologies is that the human eye sees laser much brighter than LED but in practical terms the difference is not so apparent.

Hardware

HDMI plug in, internal memory, USB ports, auxiliary jacks, remote control, memory card slots and speakers come standard on most minis.

Price point

Some prices are as cute as the mini projectors themselves while others weigh heavy on the wallet. You can get minis for as low as $200.00 or as high as $2,000.00 depending on functionality and what you will be using them for. I advice prospective buyers to do some market research online by checking out specs, functionality, versatility and reviews by other users.

Pros

  • Small and compact
  • Battery power
  • Innovative designs
  • Portability
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Apps
  • Connection ports
  • Key stone functionality

Cons

  • low volume of built-in speakers
  • high price of laser projectors
  • limited picture settings
  • No focusing capabilities

 

 

Verdict

With high quality mobile projection at our finger tips it is now easier than ever to take our experiences outside the office and living room. Mini projectors have come to stay and some technology analysts believe they could replace our TV screens in a not so distant future so it will be a very good idea to get familiar with the minis.

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