Posted on July 1, 2009 Art Feierman
As noted earlier, all the pico projectors we’ve looked at so far offer a composite video input, but other inputs are found on some models.
So far we have looked at one pico projector that offers a VGA input, the 3M MPro110. This direct analog computer input allows that model to provide a better image for business type presentations, not to mention being able to hook up to virtually any computer. (For example, I had no problem outputting from my MacBook Pro’s DVI output using the Apple DVI – VGA short adapter cable.
I suspect we’ll see VGA inputs on more future pico projectors if the manufacturers believe that these small projectors are viable for business type presentations, and that there are sufficient buyers out willing to pay for this ability.
So far we have seen one pico projector with a card slot. That one, the Aiptek V10 Plus, offers an SD card slot, which is compatible with SD, SDHC, MMC and MS Pro. Keep in mind that having a card slot in its own right, does not necessarily determine what you can do. The V10 Plus, for example has a built in media player so that it can show images and videos on a card (or loaded onto its internal memory). Without a media player, most likely the card itself would have to have some sort of application on it, that could work with the projector to do something with the content. The combination of a card slot (or lots of memory) and a media player solution is that you can use the projector without having to lug the source with you (DVD player, computer, camcorder, etc. Certainly the ability to leave a laptop behind is tempting for presentations.
While two of the three pico projectors we’ve reviewed actually have a small USB connector, it’s not used for USB data. Rather, in both cases, the connector is used to plug in the AC power supply for running the projector or for charging up its battery.
I do expect that USB inputs will start showing up in the next generation of pico projectors. Thumb drives / flash drives are just too common and widely used for portable devices for them not to be an excellent solution for pico projectors. In addition many other portable devices have USB outputs. When recently reviewing the larger “mini-projector” the BenQ GP1 – a 1.5 pounder, I found the USB input to be a great way to use the projector. Several of my portable devices including my dSLR, backup drive I use for images, have USB. It was just plug and play!
An HDMI input is probably too much to hope for anytime soon, but why not. More and more home devices, notably DVD players, and higher end game machines now sport an HDMI output.
I’m not aware of any pico projectors that have one, and most likely that will continue. Although there are some advantages to S-video, over composite video, I would suspect that USB, and even HDMI would be higher priority than S-video.
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