A mini projector that you can carry in your pocket is much more of a convenience than you think. Whether it is work-related requirements or just hobbies, having a portable projector on the go will not only let you present yourself well but also not depend on that bulky walled projector that might or might not be set up when needed.
From slideshows and spreadsheets to videos, movies, other multimedia, TV, and even gaming, there’s so much you can do with the pico models. But let us assure you, buying the best projector is as much of a task as any other high-end gadget, regardless of the form factor.
How To Pick The Mini Projector For Your Needs
After figuring out how demanding you are going to be from the little thing, there are a number of technical aspects to consider. For instance, you’d want a good enough resolution so that image size can be of your choice. Similarly, you’d want the lumens to be bright enough for at least some level of light.
Additionally, the highest brightness and resolution will do you no good if the lamp life on your choice is low. You don’t want the DLP projector to die out soon. Maybe you should opt for an LED projector thanks to longer lamp life? All that, as well as a number of other things, were tested in picking up the top products for you.
We have also included a detailed buyer’s guide after the reviews for your assistance. So if you are not sure if you want the Epson or the Optoma, you know where to look!
Top Android Projector
With the IntelliGO-S1 Optoma have given a choice to those who prefer smart devices. This is as good as 720p projections can get, and thanks to the 20,000 lamp hour life, you won’t be replacing it soon.
Anker Nebula Mars II
As Good as Portable Projectors Can Get
Don’t get us wrong, the Optoma projector is still our top pick but the Anker Nebula Mars II does have a few things on it. The only question is are you willing to pay more for it?
Video displays, OEM designs, pico projectors; you name it and AAXA Technologies has got you covered. So much so that having started with such a powerhouse in such a small size might have boosted our expectations from the rest of the products we tested.
Nonetheless, the AAXA P300 Neo stays true to the idea of having such a handy projector. It is highly portable with little effort required in packing and unpacking. The ultra compact size also allows you to worry less about space issues in your carrying bag.
On top of all that, you will find the variety of connectivity options coming in quite handy in various situations. If you buy a premium priced pico projector like the P300, you are bound to get a choice of input modes ranging from Composite, HDMI, SD Card, and even a VGA slot.
There are some models that offer better resolution, but the 1280 x 720 pixel offered by P300 is quite enough for on the go use. Some multimedia projectors that have better resolution include AAXA’s own M6 as well as the quality Epson projector PowerLite 1795F. Both of these can project at Full HD.
- Easiest packing portable projector
- Range of connectivity options
- LED quality is good
- No WiFi
- No digital or optical zoom
- Audio needs improvement
The next pocket projector worthy of your consideration is the LG Minibeam PH550. A 550 lumen strong LED projector that offers the most stable and long lasting experience. We have always been fond of LG for trying to improve on what they are shipping. In comparison to the past quality of traditional projectors, this one is based on an innovated design aimed at removing all those flaws.
There are a number of reasons why we consider the Minibeam and the Optoma IntelliGO S1 are the best projectors you can buy right now. However, we are more towards suggesting this as a movie projector because it comes with a built-in TV tuner that will let you access all your favorite shows easily. The claimed contrast ratio is 100000:1 doesn’t disappoint and you get you to see impressively maintained darker blacks and brighter whites.
These days only the outdated designs come with limited connectivity. But the LG PH550 Minibeam has plenty including Composite, HDMI, MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) and VGA. In other words, you are getting a plug and play entertainment projector that covers all bases.
While not full HD, the LG will give you a solid 1280 x 720 pixel projection and doesn’t always need a wired connection. Having wireless capabilities is integral to being a proper portable projector, which, incidentally is something that the Epson model below didn’t bother with.
- Built in TV tuner
- Great connectivity options
- Good visual quality
- Audio isn’t the best
- Full HD would suit the profile more
- Lacks either type of zoom
Epson has been generally popular among the hardware world because of a number of products. Although we have tried and recommended them in other areas before, this was the first multimedia Epson projector that we tested.
Keep in mind at 11.9 X 9.9 X 3.6 inches it is not as compact as any of the other products here. In fact, the length and width are almost twice as some of the pico models. However, since the more popular Epson PowerLite 1795F isn’t available for sale these days we decided to include the second best from the company.
As a result, the EX3260 is also heavier in comparison but there are things that make up for the bulk. For instance, we are talking about an astounding sound and image quality although the recommended resolution is 800 x 600 pixels only. Moreover, it has a throw ratio that is better than even our topic pick from Optoma at 1.5 and promises 15000:1 contrast ratio in the LCD projection.
Needless to say, since it is an LCD projector, the possible brightness levels are much higher than the competition at an impressive 3300 lumens. All in all, it is a fairly considerable mini projector in the mid-range category. But if you are looking for a budget pick we have got one right around the corner here.
- Impressive image and audio quality
- 3,300 lumens make is very bright
- Great for work
- Not the highest resolution
- Somewhat expensive
Lets first get out of the way the only negative aspect of the beauty that is Optoma IntelliGO S1. The model doesn’t come with internal batteries for wireless use. Yet, this is the only Android projector that made the cut in our reviews. And guess what, it managed to outperform the rest. Well, not on a feature by feature basis because there are other mini projectors that come with better resolution etc.
Nonetheless, we are talking about a very long lamp life thanks to LED-lit projections. And a 500-lumen brightness that would work alright if the room isn’t very well lit. What actually sells the product, however, is the impressive quality of contrast (15,000:1). If the room is favorably lit, the level of brightness makes the image even more clear, and the contrasts more striking.
One area that almost all pocket projector models underscore is audio quality. So much so that it was actually a task to find one with an audio output that we could recommend, until this bad boy. There are two 2-watt speakers that define big things in small packages.
Other than that, it is the high-end features that allow the S1 to take the lead over the rest. After all, who doesn’t want an Android projector that has an app store too! While it is open source, you can get creative with the Aptoide store if you want. Last but not least, you get USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, MHL, MicroSD, WiFi as well as Bluetooth.
- Android 4.4 with Aptoide store
- Great lamp life
- Strong contrast and brightness
- Vast connectivity options with USB 3.0
- Ditches VGA
- LED projector, has less lumens
- Wired only
While most of the other portable projectors have only just reduced the dimensions of the traditional projectors to give you compact ones, Anker goes a step further. Undoubtedly, the most impressively designed product that we came across. the Anker Nebula Mars II.
Yet, that is not why it is here. Inside the bucket like case, you will find a fully loaded projector that comes with Android 7.1 functionalities. For instance, you could crank up Android TV and binge watch the night out of Netflix and Hulu. Similarly, you could use the companion app to make life much easier for you if you often have to set up the projector anew.
in terms of image quality, it had quite realistic colors combined with some spectacular detail and balanced brightness. Not the best that you’d ever come across, but the Anker Nebula Mars II is at least promising not to embarrass you with the pixels.
At 1280 x 720 pixels, the resolution is highly bearable although the DLP technology used isn’t as bright as the others. So if the ambient light in your usual projection room is high, you will either need to lower it or buy some other product with greater lumens. Oh and just like the Optoma projector above, it has a great pair of speakers, in fact, even better ones with 10W power.
- Good 720p image with great audio
- Android 7.1
- Great movie projector with 4 hour battery
- Cool, portable design
- Not a full HD projector
- Expensive product
- Needs more brightness
While the choice ranges from 320p to 4K, we suggest you opt for anything close to the 1080p HD standard. Depending on the expected workload, a lower resolution might also work.
You will come across LED-based models that start from as low as 300 lumens, while there are exponentially bright LCD units like the Epson EX3260 which carry 3300 lumens. We would also suggest DLP or LED projectors if your room has a lot of ambient light.
This is more technical than you’d want to get and less impacting for the usual job of portable projectors. But what you need to understand is that this is how strikingly different the darkest and brightest pixels are. A higher contrast ratio would mean you’ll get better blacks while the whites on screen stay bright.
Like so many other products, these three names are used alternatively to denote the same thing i.e. small-sized portable projectors that can literally be handheld in some cases. Although if you go in depth, there will be some companies that market pocket projectors literally, selling devices that would fit the size of your actual pocket.
What are DLP, LCD and LED projector types and which one should I buy?
For the uninitiated ones, DLP, LCD, and LED are the three projection technologies in use. DLP or Digital Light Processing use mirrors to give sharper imagery in better response times. But their > 5000 hours lamp life is not as long as LED projectors that can offer up to 20,000 hours.
However, finding the best mini projector for you will depend on your type of usage. For instance, an LED projector is not as bright which means you will need to lower the ambient light in your room. Nonetheless, LEDs make up for this in terms of color quality and maintenance costs. LCD projectors, on the other hand, are cheaper with single chip functionality. With multiple chips, they work really great for movies.