A few weeks ago we had noticed a new android mini projector showed up on the FCC, we were eagerly awaiting more news of this but didn’t hear anything for a while.
The ML131 is an Android-based mini projector by Mego Optoelectronics, it’s a fairly compact and seemingly powerful little guy, weighing in with 260 Lumens, and a native resolution of 854×480, this is a pretty powerful guy for how small it is.
The Android system onboard is Android 4.2, it has a built-in touchpad on the top to allow for easier control of the Android system.
The specs are pretty decent, the CPU is an ARM Cortex A8 which runs at 1GHz, it has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage.
The unit supports all of the Google apps you’d expect, including the Google Play Store so you can download third party apps and games.
The ML131 is priced at around $300 which seems to us like a great deal if it lives up to it’s own hype!
A new report published on http://www.micromarketmonitor.com/ gives us an update on the Pico Projector market, looks like things are steadily growing, the report estimated that between 2013 and 2014 the market grew $124.7 Million, whereas from now until 2018 it will grow $498.4 Million.
This is good news for companies who have seen hits with their products, reassurance that they’re investing their time and energy into the right products.
With the slow down of other companies in the pico projector market, companies like 3M and AAXA who continuously pump out new products show us that you can have a great success of a company without a huge market.
Obviously this goes without saying but we at Pico-Projector-Fans hope that the market continues to grow even more, we want to see plenty of new models coming out in the next few years.
Recently, Lenovo announced that they were releasing a new tablet with a built in pico-projector, so naturally we were intrigued. Claiming “design intervention” from Ashton Kutcher (Steve Jobs) the tablet boasts some pretty gaudy specs and a very flexible design (hence, its name). There are a number of existing reviews of the tablet, (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C), so we aren’t going to dive too deep into reviewing the device. We did, however, get to test it out against a couple of our favorite pico projectors, the AAXA Technologies P3-X and the AAXA Technologies P300. Admittedly, the tablet’s projector only clocks in at about 50 lumens, so a comparison against something like the P300 isn’t entirely fair, but it was fun, so we did it anyways.
The Yoga Pro 2’s projector has some pretty decent numbers for being housed in the small battery case at the bottom of the tablet. Lenovo did a fantastic job of making the tablet look and feel like a complete unit, fitting the projector into a snug, unassuming corner of the device. It turns on quickly, and seems to be a natural fit with the design of the tablet. The projector itself is an approximately 50 lumen LED with a sliding focus tab underneath it. The picture only projects one way, which requires the tablet to be resting on it’s side with its kickstand in support. Focusing the picture is pretty tough, and the final result never really looked too sharp and there was noticeable blur when conducting most activities. It runs surprisingly quiet and cool, which is really a testament to how far the technology has come in the past few years. Additionally, the massive battery powering the tablet means that the tablet can run in projector mode for at least 4-5 hours, which puts it well ahead of many similar projectors at the moment. Overall, we were pleased with the innovative approach Lenovo is taking (even though its not the first to do so), and expect to see similar features from their competitors.
TEST # 1
Our first test pitted the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Tablet against the AAXA P3-X pico projector. With about 70 lumens, native WVGA (720p) resolution, the ability to project ~80″ image, and a two hour battery, the P3-X is a really nice little projector in an extremely portable size.
As you can see from the video, the two devices both performed rather well. The contrast on the P3-X seemed to be a little high, which distorted the color of the video, but it was considerably sharper and brighter. The color of the Yoga Tablet was by far its best feature, and it had a little more of a “true color” look to it on the wall. Also, the stability of the tablet, afforded by its “kickstand” made it a little easier to work with than the small tripod we set up with the P3-X. However, in the end, the P3-X outperformed the tablet, as it should, since it is a machine solely designed for the purpose of projecting an image, while with the tablet, its just a perk.
TEST # 2
In our second test, we decided to up the ante a little bit and pit the Lenovo Tablet against a higher powered pico projector, the AAXA Technologies P300, just to give people an idea of what is possible from a projector with a relatively similar price point. The point being, if the projector on the tablet is the selling point, there are alternatives in the market which can provide a far superior performance for a cheaper price.
Surprisingly, despite being next to the vastly brighter P300, the Yoga 2 Tablet projector held it’s own. However, the differences in resolution do matter, and the P300 projects at a healthy 1280×800 while the Yoga tablet shuffles along at ~854×480. The brightness was pretty apparent as well, my old Nikon DSLR wasn’t quite able to meter for the contrast in brightness, which makes the P300 seem somewhat distorted in the video, it did not appear that way in person. You can really see the difference when the light is on at the beginning of the video, the tablet’s projection fades dramatically while the P300’s remains rather visible.
I think it goes to show that the tablet projector is going to be a thing in the future, particularly as the prices for the LED optical engines become cheaper. If you don’t have a tablet and you do have a disposable $500, the Lenovo tablet could certainly seem like a buy. However, if you are looking to build a small home theater, or have portable projection capabilities, a dedicated pico projector would probably give you the most flexibility and bang for your buck.
I am looking at the AAXA P300 today, and seeing how it applies to the uses of a camper, as there are factors to consider when looking to buy a portable entertainment device to use in the outdoors. The P300 is a well rounded model that costs $419, is that price worth it?
The P300 is a Pico Projector, meaning that it is typically smaller than normal projectors, and indeed it is! The P300 measures just 5.9 x 3.8 x 1.5 inches, making it easily portable, small enough to put into a backpack while hiking or a suitcase. The optional 60 minute battery that we got certainly helped as we did not have power for the majority of our trip.
The P300 is a small projector, but that doesn’t mean it skimps on power or compatibility, the P300 puts out 300 Lumens, which makes it three times brighter than most other Pico Projectors. The only downside to offering a battery with the unit is the brightness dips quite a bit when on battery, to 160 Lumens. This is still impressive considering most other pico projectors put out about 100 Lumens.
AAXA’s P300 also did well when it came to the inputs it offers, giving us a wide range of ways to plug in devices. The P300 comes with an AV input, which can be used to plug in traditional RCA devices like DVD players, or an iPhone connection which you can use to display your videos and photos. It also has a full sized HDMI port, allowing you to use any HDMI device with the projector. The last of the input ports is VGA, letting you use almost any computer with the projector.
The P300 also has a slot for USB and MicroSD, which can have media loaded onto them and played directly from the P300, giving you tons of options as to what you can play. The P300 currently supports MP4, MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV, AVI, BMP, JPG, GIF, and TXT.
My only complaint about the P300 would be its speaker, it’s not as powerful as I would have liked, but I can’t really complain as it does so many other things well. Overall, we would recommend this to people who want a good versatile projector, one that is portable yet powerful.
We’ve seen many iPhone 4 and 4s pico projectors on the market and recently this is the newest projector to hit the consumer marketplace. The Pico Genie A100 is a 15 lumen handheld iPhone only projector. Very similar to others like Brookstone and 3M models. The Pico Genie comes with 2 W speakers which is very loud for such a small handheld device. With 15 lumens only, this pico will be needed in very dim rooms as the brightness is just not there yet.
Con: Only works with iPhone 4 and 4s. Low brightness even when pico technology is advancing.
Pro: Great built-in speakers. Very lightweight and small. Perfect travel companion.
3M Streaming Projector has Integrated Roku Streaming Stick
When you think of home entertainment device, you often think of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, where you can instantly view the movies or TV shows that you wish to see. The Roku Lt can take this experience one step further, and can take the TV out of the equation. 3M and Roku teamed to create the 3M Streaming Projector, which is a gadget that combines a pico projector small enough to be carried in your hand with Roku’s tiny Streaming Stick.
The idea of this device is that you can watch and stream any of your desired content if you have Wi-Fi signal and a surface to watch it on. The Streaming Projector itself has a built in rechargeable lithium battery than can last up to 2 hours and 45 minutes which can cover most movies. This device uses a DLP chip, which has a quoted brightness of 60 lumens and 800×480 resolutions. This product goes on Amazon for around $300.
When you think of it, doesn’t it seem sort of pointless when you add in all these extra features such as, Roku streaming? You can already connect your pico projector with your iPhone, iPad, tablets, kindles, computers, etc. Why would you need a projector designed specifically for the Roku? You would also need wi-fi for this product, which in turns means that you would have to be near vicinity that has wi-fi. This can probably be said that there are computers, laptops, apple products nearby if there is wi-fi. So why not just connect your mobile device to a pico projector? It would have better specs and cost relatively the same price. For example, AAXA P4-X pico projector which has 80 lumens and a native resolution of 845×480 is slightly brighter and has a bigger image than the 3M streaming projector for the same price.
Whether you buy the 3M Streaming Projector or the AAXA P4-X, you must take into the account of the price, specs, and the features it offers, and you must ask yourself is everything that it offers necessary.
The Samsung Galaxy S 2 was well received with the community. It seems that the same momentum that is carrying them might help them push the Galaxy Note and the brand new Galaxy Beam. The Beam is a very nice nod to the future of cellular smartphones, we’ve been predicting this addition to cellular technology for quite some time mainly because it’s just going to work. Although tabs do indeed help out with sharing and displaying information, it’s still inconvenient for more than 2 people to be huddling around one screen. Projectors will indeed be changing the field when they are introduced to consumers in the very near feature.
This phone is a powerhouse without the awesome inclusion of a 15 Lumen pico projector. It is a dual processor phone clocking in at 1ghz and contains an LED 15 Lumen lamp said to deliver up to a 50” screen. The phone is only going to be able to GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile with no plans for a CDMA version of the phone.
The product is said to be launching with a lot of projection apps said to help the user find the value in the projector as a gadget and less as a professional tool. Planned for launch are constellation apps, virtual pets, and other oddities that should help bring in casual users. If there is ever any doubt as to the validity of needing a projector in a cellular device
there are multiple reasons. Primarily apps and games could change in the way that the whole phone could possibly be used as a controller while the media and visuals are taken care of on screen and not on the device itself. Another one is for obvious sharing – instead of holding the phone out or crowding around a tiny 4 inch screen you can now project it so that anyone can use it without causing too much invasion of personal space.
[button link=”http://www.3m.com/mpro/products120.html” type=”big” color=”red” newwindow=”yes”] Click here to pick one up![/button]
FROM 3M: The MPro120 is 3M’s second-generation pico projector and it’s a distinct improvement over the MPro110, with a brighter picture, an LED light source rated at 20,000 hours instead of 10,000, and built-in half-watt speakers.
Battery life: 120 Minutes is perfect for a presentation when you’re winging it!
Portablilty: a great feature when you have to pack it in your carry on!
Resolution: VGA 640×480
The Not so Good:
Bare Bones: There is no on board media player so your stuck with your laptop for now!
Weak Speakers: for the size of the unit you’d think they could fit a pair that were worth using… you can barely hear em!
Value: Once again their are a few other projecotr that arenot as expensive and perform as good while containing better peripherals.
[button link=”http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&q=cinemin+swivel&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=16672404438266399162&sa=X&ei=hebWTcCbF-e70QGVrN2xBw&ved=0CGIQ8wIwAA&biw=1738&bih=807#ps-sellers” type=”big” color=”red” newwindow=”yes”] Click here to pick one up![/button]
FROM WOWWEE: Introducing the Cinemin™ Swivel portable multimedia pico projector. Powered by TI’s DLP Technology for ultra clear picture quality and designed to work with handheld devices like Apple’s popular iPod, iPhone and iPad, Cinemin takes projection out of boardrooms and movie theaters and into the palm of your hand.
design: We found it pretty useful to use the tilt when watching movies in bed. Though the idea is a little gimmicky it turns out to be useful.
Portablilty: while not as small as other pico projectors it was still very portable.
battery life: we got about 2.25 hours out of it… which was perfect for watching the average movie… it would have been a bummer to have to recharge it mid movie!
The Not so Good:
The user interface: Found it to be a bit clunky…
brightness: @ 8 lumens you basically have to be in almost total darkness to make use of it.
Value: While not to expensive the price was pretty offset but the lack of connectivity… and the $40.00 VGA adapter did not help…