Pico projector buying guide
Who needs a pico-projector?
A pico projector is a tiny device, the size of a mobile phone. You can actually find them embedded in mobile phones or cameras. If you want to project a large image on the move, a pico projector is great - it can be used to show presentations or other documents from your computer, phone. Some projectors include internal memory, so you don't need to carry other devices at all. Pico Projectors can make a big impact as most people are surprised that such a small device can project a large image.
The main thing to consider is that those projectors are not very bright. They require a dark room for a large image, and in bright light they are pretty much useless.
Currently there are 4 different technologies used to make pico-projectors:
Speckle is "random intensity pattern produced by the mutual interference of a set of wavefronts". It basically means that there are shiny metallic-like dots visible all over the image, (it's mostly on static images, videos suffer less). You can see the speckle dots with any laser-pointer as well.
See our introduction to pico-projectors for more information on the different technologies.
The projectors can get the video signal from all sorts of devices: DVD players, laptops, mobile phones, cameras, etc. Obviously the more inputs the projector has, the better. Consider which devices you're likely to use before you choose your model. The most common inputs include A/V (RCA), VGA (laptop) and Composite. Some projectors have special iPhone/iPod connectors, HDMI and even Wi-Fi.
Some projectors has only a USB connection which is used for both data and power. There's no internal battery, and no other inputs usually. These are sometimes referred to as USB Projectors.
These projectors tend to be extremely small and cheap. If you're always carrying your laptop or tablet, but can be a great solution for mobile projection. Note that some of these require two free USB ports (one for power, one for data) and also some of these might not work with your specific OS...
Cables or Internal memory?
Pico-Projectors are small, and it's not so easy to find a good place to put them so they project where you want them to. When you add messy cables from another gadget, it only gets worse. Some projectors include internal memory and/or memory-cards and can play back content without the need for another device. Some can play back video and images, some also support office documents.
This is really useful and unless you specifically need to connect to your phone or computer, consider getting a projector that can also be used alone in that way.
Other important features to consider:
If you need help finding the perfect pico-projector, we offer a couple of tools that might be useful: