Review: Elmo BOXi T-200 Pocket Projector

BOXi T-200 POCKET PROJECTOR:  SPECIAL FEATURES

BOXi T-200 In the Field and Classroom

No, I’m not thinking of this BOXi T-200 projector as a traditional classroom projector.  What it can be, though is an extremely portable solution, for education, often rural or in poor countries, but also for field trips and other creative purposes.

Teachers (and others such as missionaries)  have used projectors like these traveling from village to village, around the world.  With some initiative, you can run a projector like this BOXi T200 off of an external battery pack.  And that makes it really practical in areas where reliable electric service doesn’t exist.

I mention battery pack usage, but understand, Elmo does not, itself offer a battery pack solution.  It does, however, run off of a 12 volt 4 amp source.  (For comparison, iPads draw at 5 volts, for 2 Amps, so this projector does draw about 4 times the “juice” that an iPad does.)

The good news is that it is 12 volt, and that there’s lots of ways of achieving 12 volt with 4 amps, out in the field.  A quick search of the web shows, of course, a great many 12 volt rechargeable batteries, that come in all sizes and shapes.  Oh, it will be a pain to figure out which one’s the best, so you probably wouldn’t go this route (as opposed to another projector that offers it’s own battery pack), unless you had a very specific need, or more likely, had a need to equip a number of these projectors for portable use.   Just make sure that if you use a 3rd party battery or battery pack that it won’t exceed the 4 amp maximum.  Or think this way:  8 rechargeable C-cell batteries should provide you just about that – 12 volt, and 4-5 amp!  Well, I’ll leave it to the techies to come up the the best solution they need.

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Full Sized HDMI interface with HDCP

Although the trend is to have HDMI on pocket projectors, certainly it’s no where near universal.  Not only does the T-200 pocket projector have an HDMI input, but it uses a full sized HDMI connector, saving lots of hassle with mini-connectors and plug adapters, etc.

Also of note, the BOXi T-200′s HDMI supports HDCP, the current copy protection scheme used on Blu-ray discs, etc.  As a result, we had no problem putting on movies fed directly from both my Sony PS3 and my Apple MacBook Pro.

 

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HDMI Support for Ultra-light/Ultra-thin "Redmere" Cables

I’m impressed.  Over the last few years it’s been rare that Pico or Pocket projectors like the T-200 support the Redmere cables.  Redmere designed a super lightweight HDMI cable that is smart.  You won’t see it under their own name, but lots of major cable companies license the tech, including Monster.  Who wants to drag around a 10 foot HDMI cable that’s easily 3-4 times as bulky and weighs more than a pocket projector?  No one!  Exactly!

The thing is, these cables, to be smart, draw power for their smarts, from the “Display” or TV end of the cable.  Most Pocket and Pico projectors do not allow for this.  As a result, the cables don’t work.

But, right now, I’m looking up at a 30 inch diagonal image of this document (with light coming in the windows!, with my “Redmere” cable connecting my Mac Book Pro to the BOXi T200 projector.  And here are the photos to prove it.

My “Redmere” 10 foot cable weighs perhaps an ounce (28 grams), and rolled up, they are small enough that I could probably easily put two of them in a cigarette pack.

In the past I’ve wanted to travel with a pocket projector (vacations, business trips), but I never bothered, because of the cable issue.  On the other hand, I would take my Redmere cable, and use it to hook up my laptop to the hotel’s LCDTV (if there was an accessible HDMI input).  With the BOXi T-200, though, now I can travel, plug in, and watch a 50 or 60″ diagonal image in my hotel room.  Nice.

BOXi T-200 HD resolution: WXGA plus higher resolution support

We’ve reached the point in the evolution of Pocket projectors – and some Pico projectors as well, where resolution is now matching that of larger projectors.   Many of the previous pocket projectors we’ve reviewed were VGA, WVGA, and other lower than HD resolutions.

The T-200 is 1280×800 – that is, WXGA.  That makes it the same resolution as probably 90% of all the under $2000 projectors sold.  Of course standard HD is 1280×720, just a slightly different aspect ratio.  This BOXi projector, of course, can handle 16:9 HD, as well as WXGA, and 4:3.   The projector also supports sources up to 1080p (1920×1080) making it compatible with Blu-ray players, satellite and cable signals, etc.

Bottom line, resolution options are pretty much the same as “big” projectors.  Good job!

Multiple Image Modes - Gamma and Color Temp Controls

Much to my surprise, the T-200 comes with 7 different image modes.  Samples of the color of each can be found on this review’s Picture Quality pages.

OK, multiple modes is hardly going to get the BOXi into the Guinness Book of Records.  Perhaps more significantly, one of the modes:  User, allows some moderate adjustment flexibility.   All the modes allow for brightness and contrast adjustments, but User lets you choose from multiple color temperatures, and gammas, was well as two Color Space options.

While that much flexibility is no match for a home theater projector, but it is more control of the image than a number of competitors offer.  Overall picture quality, as discussed later in the review, was surprisingly good compared to many pico and pocket projectors.

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Gaming and Lag Times

The Boxi T200 makes for a great gaming pocket projector, if everything else meets your needs.   Input lag times are excellent.  All-in-all I took about 30 screen shots with the onscreen timer.  All but two of all of the images showed an input lag time of 0!   The other two showed lag times of 16 and 17 ms respectively.  These are, as always measured against the internal display of my MacBook Pro.

The Elmo Boxi T-200 projector is about as fast as projectors get, as far as lag times and gamers are concerned.  If the Boxi is bright enough for you, and portable enough for you… know that you won’t be complaining about lag times, only about the guy on the other end of the game who still managed to shoot you dead, despite your fast projector!

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