There is a new category of ultra-portable projector showing up, the pico-projector. Currently there are two LED based projectors in the wild, one being the MPro 110 from 3M.
There is extreme geek-coolness factor going on here. A projector that fits in the palm of your hand AND can be run on batteries- but does it live up to the hype? Kind of.
This projector has been on the streets for a few weeks now, showing up in brick-and-mortars like Office Dept and BestBuy. You can find a complete list of vendors on 3M’s site.
The current street price is $359.99.
Inside the box you’ll find a rechargable battery, power cable, VGA cable, RCA Video cable, female-to-female RCA, and manual. According to the manual the female-to-female adapter is for devices that may have a male connector end, such as some cell phone video connections.
The projector itself is small. I mean small.
The form factor in many ways makes up for the area the projector lacks the most in: lumens. Since the light source is an LED, the picture simply isn’t that bright.
In an average room it was ‘ok’, in a bright room you practically can’t see the picture at all. Such is the case with most projectors, the darker the room, the better the picture will look. The picture looks really good in a dark car at night.
The manual lists supported VGA resolutions:
At 1024 x 768 text was clear and easy to read on a wall opposite my lamp.
In my battery drain tests the rechargable Lithium-Ion battery lasted 52 min. projecting the movie Hackers. The unit can run off of wall power, and it takes just shy of 2 hours to charge the battery. You won’t be getting a full movie out of a single battery charge. The wall-wart is rated for 5v, 2A.
If you know what you are getting into, the MPro 110 is a cool little projector. The form-factor is amazing. I’m sure we’ll see increased brightness in these little guys, and there are laser based versions on the way as well (coming soon to a cell phone near you).
If you have any questions or requests for tests prior to purchasing please ask!