Pico Projectors – More Features Found on Some Projectors, Plus, A Typical Pico Projector Tour-2

Pico Projectors - Audio Capabilities

This year, all the picos and pocket projectors we looked up have at least one speaker, and at least one audio input. Most take a stereo signal, but convert for the internal single speaker.

Built in Speaker(s)

Other than the larger LG, we’re very limited here, to mostly 0.5 watt speaker (or speakers). That’s no better than the average laptop, at best. We are not talking hi-fidelity here, no real bass out of any. But, most have an audio out, at least in the form of a headphone jack, that you can use to route audio to external powered speakers, a sound system, etc.

Audio Out - Including support for headphones / ear buds

One would think that any pico projector with a built in speaker or two would also have an audio out capability, at least one capable of plugging in headphones. Afterall, the projector is ultra portable. I can definitely see someone wanting to shine their projector on the seatback in front of them on their next airplane flight. If they want to watch a movie, or video clips, it sure would be handy to plug in a headset, instead of not being able to play the sound as it would bother the folks in nearby seats. And, that’s just one example.

Of the projectors in this report…….. all have audio out, in the form of a stereo headphone or audio jack, except the AAXA P1 Jr., which, like the others, has a speaker, but no way to output. Well, they had to save a few features for their more expensive picos.

Pico Projector Resolution

Click Enlarge. So Close. This year, we cover the range from VGA to WVGA,

Microvision Show WX pico projector – A showcase

This soon to be released, is unique in many ways, here’s a brief description of this interesting pico projector:

  • Laser light source instead of LED
  • No need to focus
  • 10 lumens claimed
Click Image to Enlarge
  • Widescreen – 854×480 – same resolution as a standard DVD
  • One of the thinnest
  • 4.3 ounces
  • Claimed battery life of one full movie (2 hours) compared to the one hour on most others
  • Comes in decorator colors (think iPod), red shown here
  • Both VGA and composite video port
  • Claims largest color “gamut” for richer, more stand out color
  • No speaker, but can route sound out, through its audio out, to powered speakers or earbuds…
  • Unlike other pico projectors the image is tilted upward (lens offset) so that the bottom of the image is not projected below the height of the projector
  • More expensive, could sell for up to $500 (Price not yet determined)

Pico Projector and Pocket Projector Brightness

Just as many would say that black level performance is the holy grail of home theater projectors, one could say that more lumens – brightness, is the most important challenge for these pico projectors.

Let’s step back about three years to the early days of mini-projectors. Mitsubishi’s one pound plus, PK20 hit the market, and, other than a few specialty niches that projector and competing models from other companies, have gone nowhere.

The number one reason, in my opinion was lack of brightness. Yet most of those mini-projectors managed to put out between 25 and 40 lumens, compared to today’s pico projectors, which are now mostly in the range of 8 – 20 lumens. In fairness to those mini-projectors, they may have been a lot smaller than the smallest traditional business projectors (mostly DLP projectors), there have been business portables starting at under 2 pounds, with more than 1000 lumens. Not much of a contest. These days, however,

The pico projectors, by comparison, are drastically smaller than the mini-projectors, and fit into a whole new world of portability. Still, 8 to 12 lumens isn’t much to get all worked up about.

I think the longer term goal has to be to get these projectors up to say, 40 – 60 lumens. What a difference that would make. What it will take to get that many lumens out of projectors of this size, I can’t say. History shows, however, that whatever size projector you look at, a few years later, there are smaller ones that are significantly brighter: Note, this is a fairly random sampling, not necessarily the absolute most lumens per pound projector available at that time, but chosen from the lightest business projectors around at that point:

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