LED Projector Review - Aiptek V10 PLUS Pico Projector
July 2009 - Art Feierman
This is our in-depth review of the Aiptek V10 PLUS, a 640x480 resolution LCoS - LED projector.
These LED projectors are also often referred to as pico projectors or pocket projectors.
The Aiptek V10 Plus pico projector is shown above, mounted to the included tripod
Aiptek V10 Plus Pico Projector - Overview
This Aiptek V10 Plus projector review is the third pico projector we are reviewing, the first being the Optoma Pico PK101, which published just two months ago, and the 3M MPro110, which was published last week (7/11/09). Like the other two, this is an LED projector, which means an LED light source instead of the traditional lamps projectors have been using for the last 15 years.
I now have three of these pico projectors in-house. Each differs more in terms of features, than actual performance. Thus, if a pico projector is for you, you won't, for example pick the Aiptek because of brightness or better color, but because of the many features it has, that the competition (so far) lacks.
The Aiptek V10 Plus, for example supports a composite video input, but also has an SD card slot for "device free" viewing, with it's built in media player. In addition to the tons of memory you can feed the projector from the SD card slot, the V10 Plus has a very healthy 4 Gigabytes of memory built in.
The V10 Plus is also the only one with a pair of speakers (compared to the Optoma's single speaker, and no speaker in the 3M).
The V10 PLUS is a bit larger pico projector than the 3M, and if you can describe any projector as large, when it's no bigger than a pack of cigarettes (100's).
Above: Gandalf, from Lord of the Rings - not bad, a bit cool in color, and too contrasty, but, remember, you can only watch movies, if you have a way to play the sound.
It was a simple thing to pop the SD card out of my daughter's point and shoot camera, slide it into the V10 Plus, select Photo from the main menu, and start viewing the images. Controls allow you to set the time each image stays on the screen, and there's even a transition ability. Using the SD slot, which also supports SDHC, MMC, and MS Pro, is definitely handy, although I would have been even more impressed, if the Aiptek V10 Plus also had a USB input. I worked with one of those using its USB input on my recent review of the BenQ GP1 (a mini-projector), and that was even easier. Having both would be stellar.
All considered, the V10 Plus works as expected, and does about as well in terms of color handling as the others we've looked at. None, comes close to having really reat color, but all do well enough for non-critical viewing. For those not wanting to interface directly with a computer VGA source, the 3M is the most versatile.
And it seems the V10 Plus has gotten less expensive. Earlier this year, it retailed for $399, but has recently dropped to $349, according to Aiptek (they used to sell a V10 model (without the Plus), lacking the media player, for less, but discontinued that model, and have apparently brought down the price of the V10 Plus, to be more price competitive to other pico projectors.
Aiptek V10 PLUS LED Projector Highlights
- It's a pico projector with a twist - a built in media player, and an SD card slot. In other words, you can load up your "presentation" and leave the other devices behind if you so desire
- About average in brightness for these pico projectors
- Definitely small enough to fit in a pocket - thus the other term - pocket projector
- Battery life is about average, lasting just under an hour, spare batteries are available
- The only pico projector so far, with a remote control (yes, it's smaller than the projector)
- Convenient tripod screw thread on the bottom, ideal for using with those equally small, flexible tripods that they sell for digital cameras. This is the only pico projector reviewed so far, that comes with a mini-tripod
- Slightly more expensive than the competition, it is certainly more feature laden
- Two half watt speakers. That puts this small device about on par with many laptops, but don't expect hi-fidelity
- The most fun of the pico projectors
- Maximum image size is about 50 inches diagonal, but truth is, the picture is compromised by a lack of brightness at that size. Best performance is found when image size is kept from about 10 to 30 inches diagonal
Basic Specs for Aiptek V10 PLUS LED Projector
MSRP: $349 (US$)
Technology: LCoS with LED light source
Native Resolution: VGA 640x480
Brightness: 10 lumens
Lens: fixed - no zoom, manual focus
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 20,000 hours
SD card slot support: SD, SDHC, MMC, MS Pro
Weight: 0.56 lbs. (.25 Kg)
Warranty: 90 Days, Parts and Labor
Aiptek V10 PLUS Special Features
Projector Lamp Life
Thanks to the small (and cool running) LED light source, 3M rates the life of the LED light as 20,000 hours - roughly 6 to 10 times the life of most traditional projector lamps. This means that there is no significant cost of ownership to figure in. This projector will be so obsolete, years before the LED lamp source gets close to its rating.
This is the first pico projector that I am aware of to offer a VGA input. This should make it the favorite for those planning to use it for small business presentations. While at least one other has a media player built in, with the V10 PLUS, there's no need to convert files, just plug it into your laptop. Although the V10 PLUS is VGA resolution, it supports SVGA (800x600) and XGA (1024x768) source material. More on that in the Performance section of this V10 PLUS review.