The mini projectors category includes the latest projector technology used in ultra-portable projectors, mobile presentations, and smart phone device integration. See below for a list of mini projector reviews and information pages.
Mini projectors are the size class of portable projectors in which models typically weigh around 1-2 lbs. and are approximately the size of a paperback book. Mini projectors are commonly lumped in with “pocket projectors” and “pico projectors,” though they are a distinct breed. If in looking for “mini projectors” you’re actually really thinking of the very smallest of projectors that way about a half a pound or less, read up on pico projectors.
The term mini projector appears to be fading from use, with today’s popular “pico projector” supplanting it. For our purposes, therefore, mini projectors will not incude the really small picos, but only these larger, beefier projectors with a lot more lumens. When they emerged on the market, mini projectors basically referred to the smallest projectors at the time.
Mini projector brands: 3M, LG, Samsung, Epson.
Article on Mini Projectors: The 2010 Pico Projector and Pocket Projector Report
Mini projectors are now often called pocket projectors, which are also sometimes included with pico projectors and weighing around a pound or two.
While they are no longer the most portable of projectors, the features and performance of mini projectors continue to outshine their smaller competition on average.
Right, the original mini projector, the Optoma PK20. Over the past couple of years, we have seen increased feature sets, higher performance, and smaller size in the world of mini projectors, as well as of the similar pocket and pico projectors.
Pico projectors are supposed to be the very smallest of projectors, though lately everyone seems to include mini projectors and pocket projectors (a step up in size) in the pico conversation.
Thus, pico has become a big buzz term that encompasses these mini projectors despite their larger size and higher performance. What both classes consistently have in common, however, is that they all use LED light sources.
Mini projectors were originally battery powered, though as they became brighter with each subsequent generation, manufacturers gave up on internal battery supplies. However, due to demand, we may yet see a newer mini projector with a battery pack in it, though this would make the projector itself a lot heavier. We are more likely to see a mini projector with an external battery pack to run off of both external AC power and battery.
Those original mini projectors with internal battery packs typically offered 50 lumens or less. As of today (the beginning of 2011), mini projectors typically range from about 100-300 lumens. As of the CES show in January 2011, we’re even seeing the first 300+ lumen mini projectors!
The original successful mini projector, the Mitsubishi PK20 (shown below), dates back to about 2006. Initially it was used in the church market for missionary work. Missionaries would travel from village to village in underdeveloped countries, so, because they were never sure if they would have a power source for their presentations, they required battery powered projectors.
So we’ve seen some changes. Most mini projectors today are now sporting 100+ lumens, therefore requiring AC power. But then again, they then also have the capability of doing small group presentations of rather reasonable quality, which the smaller, dimmer pico projectors can’t yet claim.
Let’s take a look at some of the significant features of mini projectors.
- Very small and portable – around the size of a paperback book (dimensions will vary)
- Price: $400-$800
- Brightness: 100-300+ lumens
- Offering up to WXGA resolution
- LED light source boasts ridiculously long life
- One year warranty or less is standard
- AC power, though battery power may re-emerge
- Many feature built-in multimedia players
An excellent example of new features appearing on mini projectors is LG’s HW300T projector, which can wireless stream content from your PC or the internet. We expect the development and expansion of more great features such as this to appear in future mini projector models.
Check out our 2010 mini/pico/pocket projector report for more in-depth analysis, comparisons and reviews of specific models: A Guide To Pico Projectors