Canadian electronics company, Magnasonic, has shrunk down the size of their Mini Portable Pico Video Projector with their latest offering, the LED Pocket Pico Video Projector. As the name suggests, the new device is seriously small and can easily be slipped into your pocket for on-the-go video projection.
Magnasonic’s Pocket Projector has slightly less robust specs for a more budget-friendly price of $170 versus $280 for their Mini Projector. The glossy black plastic exterior houses a fixed lens powered by a DLP-controlled LED lamp with a 20,000 hour rated life. It’s able to project images up to 60-inches diagonally, though lacks any kind of zoom, so the image size can only be controlled by moving closer or farther away from the screen. Focus adjustment is achieved using a tiny dial on top just behind the lens, which can sometimes take a decent amount of fine tuning to get the image as clear as possible. Controls are sparse and consist only of a power switch and volume adjustment keys along the left hand side. The ports on the back are also limited to an audio output port, for use with an external speaker or headphones, an HDMI port for input, the microUSB charging port, and a pinhole reset button. On the bottom of the unit are four rubber feet that keep the projector from sliding around on your desk and a 1/4-inch threaded mounting hole which can be used with the included 4-inch tripod or any standard tripod mount.
While the HDMI port accepts input signals with resolution up to 1080p, the native 640 x 360 resolution of the projector means the quality will be limited to a standard definition picture on the screen. The 25 lumen brightness is pretty dim and the larger the projected image, the darker the room needs to be. The best image quality we were able to achieve had a diagonal between 30 – 40 inches with the room as dark as possible. That said, the colors were nicely saturated without being garish and the contrast had a decent range between the brightest white and darkest black. In general, the picture is clear and the unit works nicely for video presentations and films. Where this projector had trouble was rendering text on the screen crisply; unless the font used is fairly large, words tend to appear fuzzy and difficult to read. Captions for movies were easy enough to read, but PowerPoint presentations with font sizes of less than 12 had us squinting to no avail.
The 1-Watt speaker on the unit doesn’t put out much sound, so we highly recommend using headphones or an external speaker, though the latter poses a slight detraction from its overall portability. On a full charge, the 2,100 mAh internal battery lasts about 2 hours, so you’ll be able to watch a full-length feature film on the ceiling of your tent while camping. All the same, keep a portable battery pack handy just in case, so you won’t miss the end of the movie. Since the unit doesn’t support any input sources other than HDMI, you’ll have to carry around, at the very least, an HDMI cable and possibly cable adapters to use the projector. Luckily, Magnasonic includes a microfiber travel pouch that fits the projector and all accessories.
The primary market for the projector seems to be professionals for business presentations, as long as they’re not too text-heavy, though it certainly has use cases for travelers, gaming, or just a family movie night. Though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of pricier projectors, this pared down version still manages to perform decently while keeping a slim profile.
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