Product Focus: The Complete Guide to Pico Projectors

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Pico projectors are poised to be the next must-have device. Talk about supporting informal, mobile education: These pocket-sized projectors have the potential to bring small group collaboration to the next level by allowing participants to stage impromptu presentations in almost any environment. But can a projector really be that portable? And what level of clarity and brightness do pico projectors offer, given their small size?

We recently surveyed the tech market in the hopes of answering those questions. The technical specs of the 29 models uncovered in our search definitely show promise. Here's a quick overview of what we found:

  • Each projector weighs less than 2 pounds; in fact, 23 of the models weigh in at less than 14 ounces.
  • At 1.8 pounds, LG Electronics' HS201 is the heaviest--but it's also the brightest, with an output measuring 200 lumens.
  • Conversely, the smallest projectors are the least bright, with some measuring in at 10 lumens and below, which should be acceptable in a dark room but problematic with ambient lighting.
  • Each of the projectors features a long-life LED lamp. The exception: two laser-based models--Microvision's SHOWWX+ and AAXA's L1 v.2--which are on par with the LED models for lamp life, but also offer the benefit of staying in focus even on curved or uneven surfaces.
  • Each model is compatible with a wide range of devices, from laptops and personal gaming systems to DVD players, digital cameras, and smartphones.

To help you find the right model for your needs, use the links at left to browse our roundup of pico projectors by product feature. All prices are the manufacturer's suggested retail price; the reseller price may be up to 50 percent lower. Product info is based on manufacturers' specifications; we have not done any testing to verify manufacturers' claims.

Don't miss "Tiny ... Cute... Powerful!" a companion story in our February issue, highlighting the standouts in portability, image quality, independent playback capabilities, and truly unique functionality.