How to choose your Portable Video Projector?
Jun 27, 2022
Setting up a home theater room can be time consuming and very expensive. A projector can be heavy and expensive, not to mention where you're supposed to put it.
This is where portable projectors come in handy. Also known as pico or pocket projectors, they're small, more affordable, and fairly easy to move from room to room or take to outdoor events, like a rooftop party or a barbecue.
Once they are connected to a streaming device, laptop, smartphone, or game console via Bluetooth or cables, they can play movies, YouTube videos, or any other type of media content.
Pico projectors are first and foremost convenient and portable, so they won't be as bright or as sharp as a high-end projector, but for an impromptu movie night indoors or out, they can't be beat.
Projection type :
The two most popular types of projectors are:
DLP (Digital Light Processing):
- Smaller and more portable
- More contrast
- blacker blacks
LCDs (Liquid Crystal Display):
- Sharper and more precise image
- Brighter than DLPs, even at lower lumens (brightness).
- High cost (around $2000)
As this guide focuses on portability, we recommend DLP projectors.
Image quality :
Your projector's resolution will determine its image quality. The highest resolution available in a portable projector is 1080p, but if you want something more affordable, a 720p High Definition or Standard Definition LED 480p projector should suffice in a dark living room, basement, or garden.
For a portable model:
- Full HD 1080p maximum resolution for everyday use
- HD 720p mid-range resolution for frequent use
- SD 480p entry-level resolution for casual use
The brightness of a video projector is measured in Ansi lumens and not in Lumens contrary to what one might believe;
- 1 LUMENS = 5 ANSI LUMENS
The higher the lumens, the brighter your projector will be and the better it can work in large spaces.
A good way to look at lumens is to compare them to the ambient light around you when using your portable projector. The more ambient light there is, the more washed out the image will look. Higher lumens can therefore help mitigate this effect if you are using a projector in a brighter space.
Choosing a projector with lower lumens means you'll have to use it in a darker space. This is the case with most portable projectors, which tend to have lumen counts under 1500, with the most expensive (and largest) portable options reaching around 3000 lumens (still lower than fixed projectors). high-end that can start at 5000 lumens). This is to be expected, as portable projectors are small and have tiny bulbs compared to larger, more expensive models.
- Less than 5000 Lumens : Use in a dimly lit space
- 5000 lumens or more : Use in a lighted space
It's essential to think about how you're going to connect a portable projector to the devices you want to use it with.
HDMI required to connect:
- Fire stick or an Apple TV
- Game console
Wifi and Bluetooth required for:
- Connect a computer, phone, headphones or earphones wirelessly
- To use all built-in streaming apps, such as YouTube, Netflix, Disney Plus, My Canal or Amazon Prime…
Power source and sound:
The power source is an important factor in portability.
- Less than 2 hours of autonomy , provide an external battery
- More than 2 hours of battery life , ideal for watching content without interruption
Most portable projectors come with built-in speakers as well as audio outputs that let you connect external speakers, and Bluetooth-enabled projectors can usually work with wireless speakers.