Everyone probably loves movies. What do you think of the idea of always having a real movie theater with you? And we’re not talking about a tiny cell phone display, but a full-fledged, big screen! If you like that idea, you might want to consider buying a portable projector. In this article I will tell you how to choose it, and at the same time I will offer my independent rating of such mini-projectors for every taste and wallet.
Mini projectors: what to look for when choosing
Type of matrix.
Projectors use different types of matrices to form an image:
- DLP – mirror matrix: affordable, compact and with high contrast, but not too high brightness and tend to produce the rainbow effect in its worst form (most of the disadvantages of single matrix DLP-projectors are eliminated in devices of the same type, but with three matrixes);
- 3LCD – liquid crystal matrixes which are inferior to DLP in contrast, but often excel them in brightness and other parameters, and at the same time do not suffer from rainbow stains on the image;
- LCoS – combined matrices, which combine the design features and advantages of DLP and 3LCD matrices. Rather expensive solution, which, however, provides the highest image quality.
As a source of light, projectors can use mercury or xenon lamps, LEDs and lasers. For miniature pocket-sized models, the last two are best, as they are the most economical and compact, even if more expensive.
One of the main technical parameters of the projector. The more lumens the projector puts out, the brighter the image will be with the same area. If you are going to work in a darkened room, the projector should have 100 lumens, but if you prefer to make presentations in the daylight you will need at least several hundreds of lumens.
In a simplified way, the contrast can be the difference between totally white and totally black image. It is a very important parameter in the darkness, but in light conditions the images with high and low contrast will not be very different.
Shows how far away the projector should be from the screen to create an image. It is crucial in two cases: if the projector is installed in a very small room (for example, in a child’s house made of blankets, placed somewhere under the table), or when the speaker interacts with the image during the presentation and must not block the light beam. In these cases it makes sense to pay attention to short-focus models.
It defines picture sharpness, showing how many points it is formed of. The ideal variant is 4K, i.e. 3840 by 2160 pixels, but it is expensive and in mini-projectors this resolution is almost never met. A more realistic option is a FullHD model with 1920 by 1080 pixels or HD (1280 by 720 pixels). In principle, the resolution may be lower – it all depends on the size of the screen and the distance at which it will be viewed.
The main advantage of projectors – the possibility to stretch the image on a big screen and arrange a real movie theater anywhere. However, do not chase some absolutely unthinkable diagonal, too, the more the image, the lower its brightness – it is better to evaluate the desired size of the picture before buying.
You can never have too many possible connections for the projectors. It is desirable that the device has an HDMI input (or better yet, other digital video inputs) to connect to a signal source, an audio output for the sound system, as well as USB to watch films or run presentations from flash drives.
Of the wireless interfaces, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will be the most useful. The former for accessing online movie theaters and other networking options; the latter for syncing with smartphones and tablets.
No projector is going to be silent. Here, it is advisable to focus on devices with a noise level in the neighborhood of 40 decibels – about the same volume as a computer.
Since mini-projectors are usually used in portable mode, the operating time on a single battery charge often becomes a critical value. Yes, a big battery will add a lot to the projector’s price and size, but this device will not cut out suddenly, right in the middle of the session. That is why it is better to choose models, which are able to play at least one movie in a standalone mode – that is not less than a couple of hours. On the other hand, if the projector will be used for presentations and short cartoons, you don’t have to worry so much about the battery life.
Top Mini Projectors 2022 Consumer Report
XGIMI MoGo Pro
Compact and lightweight projector with high resolution and decent brightness that lets you watch movies up to 4K without lags or interruptions, featuring a custom design and ease of use.
Provides high “clarity” of picture on the screens with a diagonal of more than 2.5 m. The lens is equipped with a specialized anti-reflective coating, typical of the highest-class photographic equipment, which allows projections to remain clear and bright throughout the life of the device.
It uses diffuse reflected light that protects the viewer’s eyes from fatigue. Supports 3D rendering technology for cinematic quality realistic images.
Demonstrates good sound and quality performance over wireless systems.
- display – DLP;
- resolution – 1920×1080;
- projection – 1.2:1;
- luminous flux (lumpen) – 250;
- optional – Smart-TV, 3D, Laser-LED lamp, headphone output, remote system operation.
- quality case;
- Correct picture geometry;
- excellent brightness.
- low battery life.
The Asus P3B Portable DLP Matrix Projector has a compact size. The device is made of durable polycarbonate. The device is suitable for outdoor events, travel and home viewing. The resolution is 1280×800 pixels. The luminous flux is 800 lumens.
The LED RGB lamp has a working reserve of 30 thousand hours. The contrast of the device is 100000 to 1. The device supports: 3D, playback from USB drives, memory card reading, Wi-Fi, text and PDF files, all video formats. The device can be connected to: smartphones, flash drives, tablets, laptops.
The device has 7 ports, headphone jacks (micro USB), SD card. Built-in lithium-ion battery provides 6 hours of continuous operation. The device is equipped with: a key pad, a laser pointer, a retractable leg for mounting at the desired height, a 2 watt speaker, 2 USB Type A.
The device is provided with video and audio inputs: HDMI, VGA, 3.5mm mini jack output. The noise level of the working device does not exceed 32 decibels.
- 3D support;
- high-capacity battery;
- low noise level;
- The ability to connect to a variety of devices;
- the presence of a media player;
- automatic distortion correction;
- good image size and contrast;
- small size and weight.
- High cost;
- No ability to play complex items, from Internet video.
Since there is no battery, the Optoma HD131X mini projector is used in stationary applications. Buyers note the excellent image quality and long service life of the device. The Optoma HD131X portable projector is ideal for use as a home theater. A hard disk or flash card can be connected for independent playback of content.
The device has a real Full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, DLP matrix. The device supports: 3D, HDTV, broadcast systems (NTSC, SECAM, PAL). The luminous flux is 2000 lumens. The contrast of the projector is 20000 to 1. The maximum noise level is 26 decibels. The device supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 480p, 576i, 480i input signal formats. The device performs projection at a distance of 1.2 meters to 10 meters, 1.2x optical scaling.
The device has: outputs (component, mini jack audio, VGA, composite), 2HDMI 2 VGA inputs, 10 watt speakerphone, LED lamp for 6000 hours, RS 232, USB Type B.
- High resolution;
- High image quality;
- low noise level;
- powerful speaker;
- A large number of connectors;
- 3D and HDTV support;
- high contrast and brightness.
- Lack of battery;
- high price;
- 3D glasses must be purchased additionally.
Leading manufacturers of portable projectors
You should choose a mini projector on the basis of dozens of criteria, the main of which is the manufacturer. Devices of top brands are of high quality, reliability and durability, so they will serve the owner for many years.
The best manufacturers:
- Sony. This Japanese company is engaged in the production of various consumer electronics. Their wide range includes not only televisions, cameras and set-top boxes, but also projectors. Most models have a compact size, relatively low cost and high quality components. In addition, Sony projectors consume little power and provide high quality images.
- BenQ. The famous Taiwanese brand specializes in the production of budget models of office and home appliances. Their mini-projectors have high performance and are of good quality parts.
- Epson. The main pride of this Japanese brand is inkjet and laser printers. In addition, the company is engaged in production of other office equipment. Epson projectors are the best in terms of price to quality ratio. Most models are compact in size and look great.
- LG. This South Korean company produces high-quality and not too expensive mini-projectors. Their devices are valued for their ultra-thin focus, reading most known formats and the simplest possible control.
- Optoma. Another Taiwanese company specializes in the production of projectors belonging to different price categories. Their budget models have excellent features, so they can compete on an equal footing with the best manufacturers. More expensive devices have high luminous power and support 3D format.
The Design and Operation of Mini Projectors – TheConsumer’s Editor’s Note
Small projectors have the same design as the large models. Their principle of operation is so simple that even children can understand it.
The components are:
- optical system;
- micromirror or liquid crystal matrix (modulator);
- control unit;
After connecting the device to the mains, the lamp, located inside the housing, turns on. It forms the light flux, which passes through the optical system. There it is divided into 3 colors (green, red, blue) and goes to the modulator. That in turn creates a pixel structure. The signals coming from the image source are transmitted to the control unit, where they are adjusted. Then the light stream gets to the lens. There it is collected and focused, and then the final image is formed, which is transmitted to the screen.
A portable projector is a useful and easy-to-use device. It is easy to take it with you on the road or wear it to various events. Read through our article again before you buy one. It will help you make the right choice and avoid buying a low-quality model.