2018 Best Pico and Pocket Projectors Report

Welcome to the 2018 Best Pico and Pocket Projectors Report, our guide to help you find the pico or pocket projector that’s right for you. Our goal with this report is to show you what’s out there, give you our insights, and ultimately help you decide which projector is “best” for your purposes and your budget.

But, before we begin, allow me to introduce myself! I’m Nikki, the senior reviewer here at Projector Reviews – except, of course, for Art, who’s been reviewing projectors since launching the site back in 2000. I’ve reviewed most of the business and education projectors published within the last year and a half, with some home entertainment reviews sprinkled in, such as these pico and pocket projectors considered in this report.

There hasn’t been a Pico and Pocket Projector Report on Projector Reviews since 2010, simply because there hasn’t been time. In fact, I was assigned this report last late last year, and we were so slammed with reviews, videos, the holiday guides, then Art’s big annual Best in Classroom Projector Report, etc., that my “little projector” report had to be delayed, for what has turned out to be the better part of a year.

It’s just as well, since, at the time, we only had a handful of projectors we could have considered – now, we have eight, and some rather interesting awards. This will be a more condensed report than our Best Home Theater Projectors Reports are, which I believe to be quite fitting, as pico and pocket projectors are “condensed” home entertainment and business projectors.

What To Expect In This Year's Report

In this year’s report, we are considering eight different models, split into two classes: Under $500 and Over $500. We’re looking at some newer projectors from AAXA, Acer, and LG, as well as some older models from LG and Optoma that are still current models. The benefit of those older models is that they are reduced in price as the years go on – if we had written this report when they were new, they would have fallen into the higher priced class.

Though all of these projectors have a few things in common – LED light engines with long lifespans and some classic features – each is unique, and can vary in resolution, inputs, brightness, and picture quality. We’ll be considering size, performance, and functionality. I’ve had the privilege of having reviewed five of these projectors, with the remaining three being reviewed by Art Feierman, the projector guru himself, and his daughter, Lisa – another Millennial.

We’ll list the winners in this year’s report, then provide an overview of the pico and pocket projectors that won each award. Then you’ll get some nice charts showing the specs of the winning pico and pocket projectors before we wrap up the report by discussing the non-winners and their specs. But first – a word on Millennials and “cord cutting.”

For My Millennial Friends, The “Cord Cutters”

Art has been talking about us Millennials for years, calling us “cord cutters.” I stand among you as a cord cutter, and proud of it! For our home entertainment reviews, we use a handful of photos from sports to demonstrate how the projectors do on, well… sports. I don’t sportsball, so I didn’t know the first thing about where to find those photos – Art informed me that I needed to get a cable box.

The cable box was a clunky waste of space for me – I am all about that Netflix and Amazon Prime TV. I think I used the cable box like… twice. It took up a ton of space on my shelf, and because my living room was built for a 60” TV, the cable hookup was on the wrong side of everything for my projector setup, especially since I was getting short throws – for instance, every Pico and Pocket projector in this report.

Needless to say, it was awkward. The HDMI cable stretched from the shelf to the projector over my couch, and my cats saw that cable as their plaything. I almost immediately searched for a workaround. I didn’t have to look far! I have this NVIDIA Shield here (review coming soon), which I’ve talked about in many a review, and it has apps you can download directly to the streaming player – one of those apps is for NFL. Awesome. Cable box: 0, Me: 1…million.

Anyway, I’m all about that streaming life, and the less players and consoles I have to hook up, the better. Wires are ugly and totally mess up the aesthetic of my space. So, what I’m saying here is – I get you. What’s cool about these little Pico and Pocket projectors is not only that they are short throw and can be placed on top of your PlayStation or Xbox, on a table, but that they are extremely portable, often weighing less than five pounds. They can be taken to your friends’ houses to play video games or binge watch Netflix, and are so small that you can fit them in your carry on when you travel. Check out our list of projectors considered in the report below, and, underneath that, our list of winners!

Pico and Pocket Projectors Considered

For full reviews, click the models listed below.

List of Winners

Best Pico Projector: AAXA P300 Neo

Best Under $500: Optoma ML750

Best Over $500: AAXA M6

Best Pocket Gaming Projector: Acer K138ST

Smartest Pocket Projector: LG MiniBeam PF1000U

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