BARCELONA -- Sharing photos and videos with the family doesn't have to be a chore. You can use a pico projector that's small enough to fit in the palm of one hand. Announced at Mobile World Congress, the $199 Lenovo Pocket Projector hits the sweet spot for pricing, functionality and portability with a lightweight design and bright, colorful images.
We had a chance to go hands-on with the Pocket Projector and were impressed with the quality of its output, the ingenuity of its design and the diversity of its media storage / connectivity options.
At just 4.1 x 3.9 x .98 inches and .37 pounds, the Pocket Projector lives up to its name, easily fitting in most pockets. Its subtle, but attractive gray chassis features a black lens arm that can rotate up to 90 degrees so you can project your content anywhere on the wall in front of you or even on ceiling.
We were particularly pleased with the variety of ways you can get content onto the Pocket Projector. The device has Wi-Fi, which allows it to stream content directly from your phone, tablet or computer using either Miracast or DLNA. It also contains a microSD card slot you can use for storing media locally.
Depending on how far away it is from the wall, the Pocket Projector can create images that are up to 110 inches large. However, with its modest 854 x 480 resolution, the picture looks quite a bit sharper if it's smaller. When we watched a trailer for The Avengers, the bright orange in some explosions were vibrant and sharp. With a maximum of 50 lumens, the projector is more than bright enough to use in a dim room.
The Pocket Projector has speakers on both of its sides, which were loud and clear but not particularly rich in our brief hands-on. It also comes with a standard 3.5mm jack you can use to connect headphones or external speakers.
Charging via microUSB, the device promises 2.5 hours of battery life, more than enough for most movies or for an epic PowerPoint presentation. We can imagine taking the Pocket Projector on a camping trip and using it to watch videos on the tent wall or project stars onto the tent ceiling when rain makes it impossible to see them in the open air.
The d-pad on the top of the projector allowed us to navigate through its simple menu structure and launch files on the microSD card or enter Miracast / DLNA mode.
While Lenovo's Pocket Projector is not the only low-cost pico projector on the market, it is among the more promising models, because of its strong design, flexible connectivity options and colorful output. We look forward to getting a closer look at this device when it goes on sale later this month.