Are pico projectors finding an audience?

Pico_pj With CES 2010 looming in the next few months, I just had a random flashback to last year's show and the "hot" product that everyone seemed to be showing off. Pico projectors were supposed to be the next big thing and they were going to be everywhere and affordable, but so far the jury is still out on both fronts.

Nearly a year later, there are a few devices available to purchase, like the MPro110 and MPro120 from 3M and the Pico PK100-series from Optoma. Also, the promise of integrated modules has been seen in various prototype cell phones and media players, as well as the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj digital camera.

Besides price, which usually is in the $250-$450 range, the other shortcoming that hasn't helped the adoption of these tiny projectors is the dismal performance from the LED lightsource. They are supposed to be convenient, but when you need to hunt around for a pitch black room to use them, it defeats the purpose somewhat.

I have a Toshiba TDP-FF1AU that I purchased a few years back; it suffers from the same brightness problems and is larger than the latest generation, but it's definitely still useful to me. I'm glad to see them getting smaller, and hopefully both the light and battery technology can keep improving.

So is anyone using one of these regularly, and are you satisfied with the performance? Chime in with your comments or experiences.

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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7 thoughts on “Are pico projectors finding an audience?

  • Avatar of pratfall

    I have a 3M Mpro 110, and I have to say, its performance is *pathetic*. 10 lumens, 640×480, its useless unless you’re in a windowless room and don’t mind a fuzzy, bowed image.

    I bought the device refurbished, and couldn’t return it, or I would have. Since it’s mine now whether I want it or not, I found a 340-lumen CREE LED online and I’m trying to figure out if I can swap it with the original light source to at least fix the incredibly sorry light output.

    I’m really more interested in projectors with LED light sources than I am with projectors that I can fit in a pocket; I want a device I can fix in one place instead of a regular TV, not something to take show on the road.

  • was going to buy one but there too expensive!

  • yep, same here. would be a fun toy to play with, maybe make a ms surface style system with, but the price is just to much for that right now.

    btw, typepad insists that i must allow the twitter login, even tho i have done it a hundred times or more by now…

  • One other thing about these pico projectors…they all seem to use proprietary video cables. I would rather have one that was slightly thicker so it could have integrated ports, like my Toshiba.

  • The mini projectors that use lasers seem brighter.
    There’s a little speckle effect on the screen, but you only notice it if you get real close.

    (I don’t have one but I’ve seen them at trade shows)

  • I recently bought a Optoma HD20 Home Cinema Projector for my dorm and absolutely fell in love. I am looking to buy one of these to alleviate having to carry around my normal proj. With the cheap prices now and all the new ones coming to the market place it looks like a great deal! If you follow, a recently slew of people have bought the new LG HS201, and have been saying nothing but favorable things aside from the price / resolution ratio (only 800 x 600 ),could have at least gone to 720p!

  • Avatar of Gadget Mike

    What’s really cool is to take my HTC Touch Pro 2 with a normal video out cable, plug it into my AAG LED projector and watch a movie…..and it fits in my pocket. It’s also very cool to play a game on a 20″ screen instead of my phone’s 3.5″ screen. Or surf the net. It has an LED light, which is dim and I plan to upgrade to the Microvision once it becomes available.
    Laser Projectors are the way to go. They have huge contrast and fit in your pocket.


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