If you’ve ever stared at a slide show and wished you could just sleep yourself away to somewhere else, these devices will be your worst nightmare. However, the pocket sized projector can also be a handy business and educational tool which won’t weigh you down with cables and bulk - and they look pretty sexy, too. Although they are a few improvements away from gaining critical mass, pocket sized projectors have come a long way in a few years, and here are a few of our favorites amongst the competition:
1. Samsung SP-H03 Pico Projector
If size matters, this is the projector for you. The Samsung SP-H03 is small - very small, about the size of a hockey puck and weighing in at just over 200 grams. And for something that small, 854Г—480 resolution and 1 GB of on-board memory become a lot more impressive. The Samsung SP-H03 is most definitely aimed at corporate and power users, providing MicroSD and mini USB slots rather than easy-to-use smartphone connections, but its sheer slickness and portability are sure to make it a hit with anyone who’s looking for a good pocket sized projector. There are certain downsides, like a battery which doesn’t have much run time (clocking in at just under 2 hours) and is prone to falling out of the bottom, but it’s really hard to find fault with such a tiny yet powerful device. Did we mention it’s quite small?
2. Microvision SHOWXX Laser Pico Projector
Voted best new gadget at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Microvision’s Laser Pico Projector embodies everything which makes pocket sized projectors more than just instruments of boredom. With a svelte look and compact shape similar to a smartphone, the Laser Pico Projector can beam images straight from your iPhone or mobile device onto any wall from up to about three or four feet away. While the device isn’t perfect - battery life is limited to about two hours when unplugged, and the projector doesn’t beam screens from iPhone apps - the Laser Pico is definitely worth looking out for amongst other pocket sized projectors. Most notable is the Laser Pico’s “pico p” technology, which dispenses with focal requirements and locks on to any flat surface you point it at. Now that’s easy.
3. 3M MP160 and MP180
From the pioneers of office supplies comes a new device for boosting productivity! Slogans aside, 3M’s take on the pocket sized projector boasts compatibility with almost any device - including smartphones, digital cameras and PSPs - up to 4 GB of on-board storage and high-definition pictures of up to 80 inches. The MP160 and MP180 are a bit bigger than other devices, being just larger than an average hand, but make up for their slight bulk with sharp brightness and picture quality. Unlike many other pocket sized projectors, the MP160 and MP180 also pack wireless capabilities including Wifi and Bluetooth, making it a powerful tool for both business and personal use. Our only reservation is that in doing so many things, 3M’s pocket sized projectors may not perform any of those to a great degree - but so far, both the MP160 and MP180 are proving to be extremely good at everything they do.
While pocket sized projectors are still relatively new technology, there are some excellent options already on the market. The SP-H03 and MP180 are our particular picks for all-purpose use, and we expect lots of new arrivals in the near future. And we’re not just projecting.