Projectors – Their utility might be singular, but their applications are many; for instance, you can use a projector at home to create your own cinema and enjoy a movie with company, or you might need one at work to present your ideas in front of your colleagues.
The concept of having pico projectors small enough to be carried around only came about a few years ago and in this roundup, we’re going to help you find the best pico projector 2017 brings to the table. Yes, it is now possible to carry your projector with you, wherever you might go; you can carry a pico projector in your school bag or to work, or you could even take it to your family meetings if you have pictures that you want to show to everyone.
Pico projectors are small and very portable but they are proper projectors, and therefore, they don’t compromise on brightness and performance. Of course, some projectors may be better than others in some areas, but worry yourself not, because we’re going to go over their differences as we talk about the 10 models that we think are the best pico projectors of 2017.
Table of Contents
- Top 10 Pico Projector Reviews
- What is a Pico Projector?
- How Does a Pico Projector Work?
- How to Connect a Pico Projector to a Laptop?
- Which is The Best Pico Projector For Movies?
- Why Should You Buy a Pico Projector?
Top 10 Pico Projector Reviews
Celluon Pico Video Projector
The Celluon Pico Video Projector can be found on Amazon for $429 and is small enough to fit in your pocket but capable of projecting crystal clear images over quite an impressive distance, without any need to adjust focus. This sleek black device supports HDMI connectivity and wireless Miracast connectivity as well. Its laser beam scanning engine enables it to project images up to a resolution of 1920 x 720P and with a contrast ratio of 80,000:1 with digitally enhanced upscaling. The battery life on the Celluon is as good as it comes with most good pico projectors; we got 3 hours of use with HDMI and about 2 hours with Miracast and DLNA connections to Android and iOS devices. The Celluon Pico Video projector is definitely a performer that deserves to be on this list, but one area in which it falls short is its performance in well-lit environments; daylight is definitely off the table, and if you want the best results, you’ll have to use it indoors in a dim-lit room.
AAXA LED Pico Projector
This interesting little projector can be found for about $119 and right off the bat, it’s tiny. The AAXA LED Pico Projector is designed to be all kinds of pocket sized, has built in speakers installed in its assembly and even comes out of the box with a tripod stand. Due to its small size, it connects via mini HDMI rather than the regular sized one and it also houses a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Micro SD card slot, and composite A/V connections. This AAXA pico projector is compatible with both Mac and Windows, making it very versatile. The rechargeable lithium ion battery can get you through above 80 hours of usage on a single charge, at an exceptional brightness value of 25 lumens and a 960 x 540 resolution, which is perfect for a projector this small. The images are clear and vivid and can be projected up to a distance of 60 inches. To conclude, if you’re looking for a pico projector that you can literally carry around in your pocket just like you would with a smartphone, the AAXA LED Pico Projector might be what you’re looking for and at great value for money!
ZTE Spro 2
The ZTE Spro 2 is all about entertainment and can be yours for around $449. What we really like about the Spro 2 is how it’s designed to be user-friendly; it weighs 1.29 pounds, houses JBL speakers alongside a 3.5mm headphone jack and supports SD card readability. In addition to this, the ZTE Spro 2 also houses a 5-inch touch screen on top which makes navigation very easy since most of us are already accustomed to interacting with technology through touch input. The 6300 mAH battery gets you a couple of hours of High-resolution 720p images at a contrast ratio of 4000:1, with autofocus. The Spro 2 can project images pretty well at up to 12 feet, which is pretty impressive for a pico projector. The ZTE Spro 2 is definitely one of our favorite pico projectors in terms of features and performance both, but it is rather lengthy and wouldn’t exactly fit in your pocket; ZTE makes this pretty clear since this projector comes with a carrying case.
Vivitek Qumi Q6
The Qumi Q6 is lightweight and stylish and costs about $585 on Amazon. The good things about this pico projector include the fact that it houses 2 HDMI ports and supports wi-fi connectivity for wireless use as well. This pico projector has 4gb of internal memory, which is fine for most work files that you might want to project and images as well but there’s a catch; you can only transfer files from your PC to your Q6 using a non-standard cable which they didn’t include in the box, so you’ll have to look for that separately. Aside from that little setback, the Q6 is a great option that’s both portable and stylish (offered in many different color choices). However, if you’re looking for a projector to stream movies with, then this isn’t the best option you have; the Q6 is more work oriented and doesn’t have the best audio or resolution for movies and pictures.
At about $229, the RIF6 Cube is a very small pico projector that’s perfect for casual use. The Cube can mirror screens from your smartphone as well as project data from a micro SD card. In terms of design, it’s neat and tidy and very easy to carry with you, it includes a flexible tripod and a rechargeable battery that lasts a fair amount of time on a single charge. There is no wireless connectivity option, though, which is a minor setback, unfortunately, this isn’t the only setback with the RIF6 Cube; the video quality isn’t the best we’ve seen on a pico projector and the colours sort of get messed up into a rainbow during video playbacks, which makes the experience not all that great. If you need something small and for less critical viewing, then the RIF6 cube might be a good option for you.
AAXA P300 Pico/Micro LED Projector
This $359 Pico projector is small enough to be carried anywhere – even in your pockets and delivers top notch image projections. What makes the AAXA P300 such a performer is its ability to project crystal clear and vibrant images at a max resolution of 1080p and at a remarkable brightness of 300 lumens, with a contrast ratio of 2000:1. The AAXA P300 is also very power efficient for how well it performs; when plugged in, it only consumes 25W of power, and on a single charge you can get around 60 minutes of HD image projection at a range of up to 120 inches in low light conditions. On top of that, the P300 also boasts built-in speakers, MicroSD and USB options and HDMI plus mini VGA connectivity. The AAXA P300 is pretty much an all-rounder and a projector that just about any user would be happy with, the only reason why you wouldn’t buy it would be if your budget isn’t very flexible and you’re willing to settle for a more casual image viewing device, in which case you could consider a LED projector model.
LG Electronics PH300
Currently available for about $349, the PH300 by LG Electronics is a small projector that wouldn’t fit your pockets but it is still small enough to be carried around easily (11.8 x 6 x10 inches). Its relatively large size might be a setback to some looking for a pico projector that they can pocket, but the PH300 has a number of features that justify its size. For starters, the PH300 houses a powerful battery that is capable of running it up to 2 and a half hours of viewing in a single charge. The PH300 supports USB plug and play and has a built-in TV tuner which enables it to receive digital TV signals so you can enjoy your favorite shows and sports live. The LED bulb can project pictures at a resolution of 1280 x 720 with a contrast ratio of 100,000:1 and the result is pretty bright (300 ANSI lumens) and vibrant; great for viewing pictures, watching video and presenting information at work as well! This projector is great news for even the most versatile users, as long as they’re okay with making some room for it in their bag packs.
ASUS S1 LED Pocket Projector
At about $299, ASUS S1 LED pocket projector is small enough to fit in your palm and very lightweight too, making it extremely portable. The S1 boasts a brushed aluminum housing that makes it look very nice, and despite its metal finish, it weighs less than a pound. Inside its compact form is a 6,000 mAh battery that is capable of delivering 3 whole hours of image projection and what’s more is that it also doubles as a power bank that you can use to charge your smartphone on the go, if need be. The projection range isn’t the greatest (1 meter), but the S1 does make up for its short range with its bright and clear results of 200 lumens. You can connect to the ASUS S1 through both USB and HDMI and enjoy your movies or present work projects nice and easy. The built-in speakers sound very real, making the experience even better. Overall, the S1 is portable, has a great battery and is fit for both professional and personal use.
Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector
This pico projector is available on Amazon, used and new starting from just $120. Right off the bat, what stood out about this projector was its incredibly small footprint of 3.8 x 3.8 x 0.89-inch dimensions, making it very portable and easy to store and carry. Despite this small size, this projector still houses dual built-in speakers and focus control options very neatly. The result is very bright and sharp, and it’s easy to connect to all kinds of devices, including smartphones, cameras, and laptops, through HDMI. For the low price, you get all the cables and accessories you need to start using the projector right out of the box, which is nice. Overall, we can’t find much to complain about with this small pico projector, and we think it’s an excellent choice for anyone on a tight budget.
AAXA M5 Mini Projector
At $499, the AAXA M5 Mini is a bit hefty on the pocket but is it worth it? Let’s see. The M5 Mini isn’t exactly our favorite Pico Projector from AAXA for a few reasons; it may be compact and portable with an excellent build quality, but it just doesn’t perform as well as it should when it comes to viewing videos. However, the M5 Mini does a very solid job when it comes to data presentations and displaying stationary images. To sum up, the good thing about it is that it is very portable and perfect for work but for the high price, we expected to see a slightly better video viewing result.
Now that we are done with listing the top 10 pico projectors currently available in the market. Let’s talk a bit about what a pico projector is and how they work.
What is a Pico Projector?
Projectors have been around for a couple of decades now, the earlier projectors were called slide projectors and did just that – they projected images in the form of slides. The mechanism was pretty simple; you insert a slide in front of a focused light source, and the image gets enlarged onto a surface. Modern projectors can do the same with what’s on your screen, using A/V cables. This makes projectors perfect for immersive movie watching/video gaming experiences as well as great tools for presenting ideas in the form of power point slides to an audience.
Pico Projectors took this evolution of projectors a step further and made them battery operated and portable. Pico Projectors are able to perform on par with their full sized counterparts with the added utility of being easy to take around and use wherever needed – can’t do that with a computer screen, huh?
How Does a Pico Projector Work?
Since they are basically just downsized projectors, they work on the same mechanism; a light source is used to project a digital image onto a surface. The only difference is that since these Pico Projectors are battery operated, they usually use LED as a light source, since this saves power and gives more battery output. This means that they might not be bright enough and you’ll have to use them in dimly lit environments to get the best picture results.
How to Connect a Pico Projector to a Laptop?
Connecting your pico projector to your laptop or MacBook is actually very easy since these projectors are more or less plug and play devices. Here’s what you need to do.
Windows Laptop With HDMI:
If your laptop has an HDMI port towards one of its sides, then all you have to do is to get an HDMI cable and connect the projector’s port to your laptops. You toggle your screens projection settings by hitting your windows button +P. That’s it, you’re done.
Windows Laptop With VGA:
Follow the above process but this time with a VGA to HDMI cable. Pretty simple, right?
Laptops With No VGA/HDMI Ports And Mac:
If your notebook doesn’t have a VGA or HDMI port, you can still hook it up to a projector using a USB HDMI/AV adapter; plug this into your USB port and then just connect your adapter’s HDMI port to your projectors and enjoy.
How to Connect Pico Projector to iPad?
Again, you’ll need an Apple AV adapter, which you can connect to one end the HDMI cable to the end on the projector. After that’s done, turn on your projector and select HDMI from your display options. You can now use your iPad on a projected surface.
Which is The Best Pico Projector For Movies?
In order for you to enjoy your movies the most on your portable projector device, you need an image result that is both bright and very sharp, so you can project it onto any surface such as the back of your notebook, maybe or even on a wall, in which case you also want good resolution and projection distance. It also pays to have an autofocus feature, so you don’t have to spend too much time getting your picture to not look all blurry. Good battery time is also useful since the movie you’ll be watching is most probably going to be over an hour in duration.
In this list, there are a few projectors that fit the bill for movies, some may be better than the others in some respects so let’s lean towards a balanced pick that can get you through an entire movie on a full charge and make the viewing experience a pleasant one; the AAXA P300 Pico Projector is our personal favourite when it comes to battery timing, brightness, resolution and contrast ratio. This projector is a solid option for everything work related as well as for entertainment.
Why Should You Buy a Pico Projector?
Now that we’re at the end of our buyer’s guide, let’s finally address the big question here; will buying a Pico Projector really be worth it? This really depends on how frequently you want to share something on your smartphone with many people but can’t because the screen is too small. Here are a few scenarios where you can actually benefit from your very own portable Pico Projector; after you’ve read through them, you’ll have a very clear answer to whether or not you should invest in a Pico Projector.
Let’s suppose that you’ve been on a trip around the world and have a lot of pictures that you wish to show your family; the usual way to go about it would be to pass your smartphone around so everyone can get an idea of what’s going on in the picture, while you sit there hoping that they don’t scroll to that one embarrassing photo to the left. With a Pico Projector, you can put on a little slide show of pictures for your loved ones and not only give them a mere glimpse of the picture, but you can also have them be a part of your adventure as you point out all the cool bits to them and tell them about it.
Present Your Idea at That Meeting in The Most Effective Way
Pico Projectors can be your partners at work just as much as they can be a part of your personal life; with a pico projector, you can literally show your colleagues and superiors what you mean when you have an idea. You can use your power point presentations more efficiently with your personal projector handy and besides, the fact that you came prepared with your own projector alone speaks volumes about how diligent and prepared you are which is a great impression to make in an office setting.
These are just two scenarios where a Pico Projector can be very useful to have, if you’re creative enough, you can probably think up many more as well. So, should you buy a pico projector after all? If you’ve read our list all the way down till here, we really don’t see why not!
What did you think about our guide? Is there anything that you’d like to add? Please let us know in the comments below.