Get Going With These Portable Projectors

Sony has entered the pico projector market with the MP-CL1 mobile projector.

When it comes today’s portable projectors, the conversation starts with connections.

“More and more, people are leaning toward having a multimedia capability in a projector,” said Bob Guentner, senior project manager at NEC.

Further, whether we’re talking about a college student who wants to showcase a multimedia project in class or a dozen business professionals in a conference room connecting wirelessly to a projection system, bulky models of yesteryear are a thing of the past.

Beyond connections and size, the nitty-gritty details that define today’s leading projection systems include high-lumens capability, low weight, wider color gamut and superior brightness.

Meeting those types of real-world needs was the goal of NEC when it designed its 1080p projector, a high-resolution portable model known as the NP-M403H. The projector allows users — not just the main presenter standing next to the projector — to connect with the system wirelessly via an Android or Apple app. Up to 16 users can connect their devices to the projector.

“That [kind of connectivity] is becoming more and more requested for meeting rooms and classrooms,” Guentner said. The model is designed for larger conference rooms and situations where a higher-resolution video is important in a presentation, such as when a Blu-ray video clip needs to be streamed directly to the projector.

“Streaming video is much better even than it was three or four years ago,” he said. “We’re getting higher refresh rates so that video is more stable and looks to be of higher resolution. It’s definitely something we’re getting a lot of interest in.”

This fall Epson announced the newest additions to its EX- and VS-Series line, which allow users to display content from a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.

For those looking for true portability, NEC is also seeing success from its NP-L101 projector, a 3-pound model with 1,000 lumens capability, WXGA resolution of 1280x800 and an LED array.

“The benefit of the LED light source is that it’s an instant-on, like an LED flash light. The projector doesn’t have to warm up to operate. One of the reasons people like [LED models] is that if you have about five minutes to give a presentation, they can turn on the projector, open up a couple of slides and start presenting within a minute.”

Connectivity is key in this model as well, Guentner said, and the projector has SD card slots and a USB drive to allow users to project directly from those devices without having to convert a Word doc or PowerPoint file into a JPEG. “It can read that and open up that file for you,” he said.

GOING MOBILE

Connectivity plays a role in Epson’s newest projection offerings. This fall the company announced the newest additions to its EX- and VS-Series line, which allow users to display content from a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.

“Epson’s newest portable projectors represent an expansion of the EX- and VS-Series lineup and … offer a range of features including high performance, high brightness, easy setup and HDMI connectivity,” said Eric Uaje, associate product manager for projectors.

The company’s EX- and VS-Series 3LCD projectors offer three-times higher color brightness and up to three-times wider color gamut, the company said, including HDMI connectivity for compatibility with laptops and media players.

The VS-Series Projectors — including the VS240, VS340 and VS345 — are designed for small- to medium-sized conference. Weighing as little as six pounds, the projectors offer a portable design, vertical correction and horizontal image correction. The VS345, for example, can be used for HD-quality presentations and videos while the VS340 is designed for presentations with text-heavy charts and spreadsheets. The VS345 and VS340 feature lens control, enabling users to optimize image size with a zoom lens, regardless of the distance of the projector, the company said.

Likewise, the EX-Series includes two new Pro series, the EX9200 Pro and the EX7240 Pro. The EX9200 Pro offers widescreen and WUXGA HD resolution, while the EX7240 Pro features WXGA HD resolution and high brightness and is suitable for HD-quality presentations and videos. The projectors feature HDMI, MHL support and wireless setup, and deliver 3,200 lumens of color brightness and 3,200 lumens of white brightness.

For those looking for true portability, NEC has the
 NP-L101 projector, a 3-pound model with 1,000 lumens capability, WXGA resolution of 1280x800 and an LED array. 

Epson’s portable projectors also allow users to display content from a mobile device such as smartphones and tablets. Using the iProjection app, users can share content from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android smartphone or tablet.

COST CONSIDERATIONS

Beyond connectivity, today’s portable projectors are also taking cost into consideration.

“When evaluating our full range of LampFree projector offerings, we recognized that there was an opportunity to extend the reach … to a broader range of users,” said Joe Gillio, product management director of Casio’s Business Projector Division.

Casio’s LampFree projectors combine a laser, fluorescent element and LED light to deliver a mercury-free hybrid light source that, according to the company, is designed to last up to 20,000 hours with sustained brightness.

Its newest entry-level projector the EcoLite XJ-V1 includes Slim, Signature, Pro and Short Throw solutions. The projector provides a 30 percent increase in LED light output — offering a greater increase in color spectrum when compared to a mercury lamp — and consumes half the amount of power per unit than a traditional lamp-based projector. This model provides educators and business professionals the benefits of a LampFree projector in a budget-friendly package.

Casio’s LampFree projectors combine a laser, fluorescent element and LED light to deliver a mercury-free hybrid light source that, according to the company, is designed to last up to 20,000 hours with sustained brightness.

The projector features a throw ratio of 1.54–1.7: 1, produces 2700 lumens of brightness and boasts XGA (1024x768) resolution, suitable for displaying content from video and computer sources. The EcoLite features inputs for RGB and HDMI and includes a variable audio output for external audio.

A RANGE OF CHOICES

Business uses helped drive the creation of the BenQ 5 series, which includes projectors MS524, MX525 and MW526. Designed primarily for business use, the models offer high resolution and brightness and offer HDMI connectivity. BenQ is prepping to release a new LED model in 2016 as well.

The Canon REALiS WUX500 is a pro A/V compact LCOS projector that combines WUXGA resolution (1920x1200), 5000 lumens of brightness and up to a 2000:1 contrast ratio. The projector features built-in HDBaseT connectivity, an advanced lens and optical system, and LCOS technology with AISYS-enhancement to deliver higher-quality images.

Sony, too, has entered the pico projector market with the MP-CL1 mobile projector, a handheld projector that uses a laser light source to deliver HD resolution images of 1920x720 and offers a contrast ratio of 80,000:1. This short-throw, pocket-sized mobile projector can display a screen size up to 120 inches. It can be used indoors and outdoors, and works with smartphones or tablets.

The projector uses Sony’s Laser Beam Scanning (LBS) technology to enable HD resolution and focus-free projection. The unit has the ability to maintain screen uniformity, both vertically and horizontally, despite angled surfaces. Housed in an aluminum body with matte finish, the projector includes a 3400 mAh battery.

“This is Sony’s first stand-alone pico projector, but not our first projector,” said Viviano Cantu, director of product marketing for the Sony Media and Applications Solutions Division. “We combined the best of everything we’ve learned over years of designing large and small projection technologies for the home and office, and the result is this on-the-go mobile projector that easily turns virtually any surface into an HD theater.” 

Share This Post