3 tiny projectors light up the big screen

They're small and light, but do ultraportable microprojectors measure up for business presentations?

Conclusions

The diminutive duo of the 3M MPro110 and Optoma Pico PK-101 represents an incredible step forward for presentation technology, but it doesn't deliver enough light for a business meeting. After all, the last thing you want is to have your audience squinting at your show. Clearly, what they need most is time to evolve, get brighter and add some of the features that presenters expect.

On the other hand, Dell's M109S seems to me to be just right. At less than a pound, it offers enough power for small group presentations and will provide a welcome relief from heavy, clunky projectors that are overkill for most circumstances. It's the clear winner here.

How I tested

To get a good idea how these mini-projectors perform, I gave them each a tough workout that simulates how traveling workers use projectors. After connecting each projector to a Lenovo IdeaPad S10 mini-notebook, I used DisplayMate 2.2 software to project a series of test patterns that help determine how well each device shows a variety of patterns, colors and type.

While displaying the program's white screen in a dark room, I adjusted the projector's distance to create a one square meter image and measured each system's brightness at nine evenly spaced locations on the screen using an Extech 403125 light meter. The brightness given is the average of these readings.

Next, I timed how long it took to start up and shut down the projector, and connected it to a Kill A Watt power meter to measure how much electricity it uses. With the projector running, I measured its maximum temperature with an infrared non-contact thermometer.

I then connected it to a second notebook (a Dell Vostro 1510) and looked at YouTube videos, PowerPoint presentations and a large Excel spreadsheet. After that, I played videos from a Flip Mino video recorder and a Coby Tablet DVD player to make sure the projector can work with a variety of sources. Each projector worked with these tests, but I needed to use a scan converter to transform my notebooks' VGA video output into a composite signal that the Pico Projector could use.

Those that can be powered by internal batteries were charged up overnight, connected to a notebook and started while timing it with a stopwatch as it played a series of YouTube videos. When the battery gave out and the projector died, I stopped the timer.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags projectors

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brian Nadel

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?