Are pico projectors the way of the future?

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With technology constantly advancing devices are constantly becoming more powerful, smaller, and less expensive.  The same is true with projectors.  Many consumers in the personal and business world are looking to projectors as an alternative to televisions for their source of entertainment or work.  Although we are long past the days of large units that reeled film through them there are still two major choices when buying a projector.

Full Sized or Pico.

What are the benefits of a full sized projector over a pico projector?  What about a pico over a full sized.  In today’s post we’re going to be covering some of the main differences between the two to help you make your decision when you’re in the market for a new projector.

First things first, size:

The most obvious difference  between a full sized and pico projector is obviously, the size.

You can get full size projectors as big as something you need both arms to carry:



All the way down to something that can fit in the palm of your hand:



This can be a big deciding factor for many people who are going to take their projectors with them to meetings or to a friends house.  Having a projector that can easily fit into your bag alongside everything else you have can be extremely beneficial to some people.  However there are obvious drops in the brightness between the these two projectors which we will cover next.

Secondly, brightness:

Brightness, or lumens as it is called in the industry, has always been where pico projectors have struggled.  Small size means less room to put an optics engine and more heat generation.  In the past we were seeing numbers such as 25 lumens from pico projectors which can work in a dark room with low light conditions but could not come remotely close to the brightness of a full sized 1000 lumen projector.

To give you an idea, 1000 lumens could produce about a 120″ bright image in normal lighting conditions.  As technology has advanced for pico projectors, it has also advanced for full sized projectors.  We are seeing numbers up as high as 5000 lumens for full sized projectors which could basically projector for a lecture hall and 1000 lumens for picos.


This means that your average high powered pico projector can produce an extremely usable image for most people that need basic projecting needs.


Cost is definitely something that everyone factors into purchasing decisions, and it is one area that pico projectors have always beat out full sized ones.

Your average low-end full sized projector is going to cost anywhere from $800 and up, where as you can get some pico projectors for as low as $120.

There are obvious quality differences between the two however what we are starting to see emerge is a $500-$700 range for high quality pico projectors.  These projectors are outputting upwards up 500-1000 lumens and can definitely compete with some of the larger units.

Some great examples of high powered picos are:

The Optoma 3D ready pico



The AAXA LED android



Or even the lower powered Acer K130acer


These are all important deciding factors in purchasing a new projector, however as you can see from the way technology is growing it won’t be long until we start seeing pico projectors hitting the 1,500 lumen range at low price points compared to their full-sized counterparts.  For the average consumer, 1,500 is more than you’ll need to project anything you want in most lighting conditions for small audiences.  Although there will always be a need for full sized projectors in applications like lecture halls, movie theaters, and events.  It is clear that picos are most likely the way of the future for the average consumer.