SLIDESHOW

Pico Projectors: Pocket-Size Powerhouses for Business or Fun

These diminutive projectors can fit in the palm of your hand, yet they're powerful enough to use for small-group business presentations.

3M MPro120

A significant upgrade from its predecessor (the MPro110), the pocket-size MPro120 delivers a brightness rating of 12 lumens, substantial battery life, and consistently good visual quality with graphics, text, and moving images. Because this model is a pass-through projector, however, you'll need to use an external device as a content source.

The MPro120 has convenient controls and comes bundled with a 4.5-inch flexible tripod.

Full review | $350

Optoma PK102

The tiniest model in our group of seven miniprojectors, the Optoma PK102 makes an extraordinarily handy traveling companion. Despite its small size and low price tag, the PK102 (which uses DLP technology) packs 4GB internal memory, a built-in media player, and 20,000 hours of LED light.

On the downside, the PK102's 0.5-watt speakers are puny, and Optoma estimates its battery life at between 60 and 90 minutes.

Full review | $250

Aaxa P2

If you value power over extreme pocketability, the Aaxa P2 may be what you're looking for. This pico projector outshines the other members of its cohort with a brightness rating of 33 lumens and 30,000 hours of LED light. The P2 also earned an overall score of Very Good for still image quality and video motion quality in our tests.

This model comes with 1GB of built-in memory and a battery-pack dock (for recharging the battery), plus a metal tripod and a convenient remote control. Unfortunately, the P2's higher-than-normal power requirements drain the battery quickly: Aaxa estimates the battery life at just 50 to 60 minutes. The projector's bulky size and middling color quality are drawbacks as well, though it handled text-oriented presentations quite well.

Full review | $349

Aiptek PocketCinema V10 Plus

With 4GB of storage space and a card slot that can read 32GB SDHC memory cards, the Aiptek PocketCinema V10 Plus is designed to run a presentation without requiring an additional external device to serve as a content source. This model is the only one of the seven we looked at that can record video from an external source via its A/V input port.

The PocketCinema V10 Plus's most notable shortcomings are its undistinguished image quality (the projector earned a rating of Good in our tests) and an LED light with a subpar rating of 10,000 hours.

Full review | $359

WowWee Cinemin Swivel

Wowwee designed the Cinemin Swivel primarily to project iPod and iPhone content right out of the box. It comes with a 30-pin adapter that makes playing games and watching video from these handheld devices a snap. Regrettably, you can't hook the Cinemin Swivel up to a PC without separately purchasing a VGA-to-A/V converter.

The Cinemin Swivel's worthy image quality belies its puny 8-lumen brightness rating; its long battery life (the company specs it at 2 hours, 15 minutes) undoubtedly owes something to the projector's low brightness rating. A single, weak 0.5-watt speaker provides very limited audio.

Full review | $350

Ray Displays Ray

This compact LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) pico projector is priced at the low end of the spectrum. Not surprisingly, the Ray lacks such price-boosting features as a card reader, built-in memory, and a VGA port. We were unimpressed by the rechargeable battery, which isn't removable and can take 5 hours to charge.

Still, for buyers on a strict budget, the Ray offers a number of goodies: a mini-tripod, an array of video cables, decent image quality (particularly with text), and a 2-hour battery life.

Full review | $229

Favi Entertainment PJM-1000

The last pico projector in our group of seven is another budget model, priced under $230. Favi Entertainment’s PJM-1000 delivers mediocre battery life (50 to 60 minutes) and relies on external sources entirely for both image content and sound.

The PJM-1000's strengths include a native resolution of 640 by 480 and a brightness rating of 12 lumens.

Full review | $228