Classroom Projector Report 2013: Pocket Projector Award Winners

Best In Classroom: Battery Powered Pocket Projector

Best in Classroom: Battery Powered Pocket Projector : HB Opto HBP503D

This award is not based on a case of “best” of several projectors.  Rather, I wanted to include one battery powered projector in this report.  I considered five Pocket projectors all with at least 200 lumens.  I settled on this HB Opto, because of it’s battery pack capabilities, and a stron feature set, including 3D.  Finding a battery powered projector with more than 100 lumens has been hard to do.  There are now many pocket projectors producing upward of 100 lumens with the brightest being about 500 lumens.  But, a key problem with these brighter small projectors is that they need a fairly hefty battery.  As a result most are sold with no battery option, that is, no one seems to be putting batteries inside, and almost no one is offering external battery packs on sizes larger than Pico projectors.

HB Opto, however, offers the HBP503D.  This is a fairly large pocket projector, but still tiny compared to any other in the report, even the smallest.  But the magic comes in the form of an almost identical sized battery pack that attaches underneath.  With the battery pack engaged, and depending on settings, you can get more than 2 hours of presenting off of a charge, and that says it all.

While the need for such a projector in typical schools (classrooms) in the US may be near non-existant, a battery powered projector with a few hundred lumens might be useful for a field trip, perhaps showing a presentation in the bus on the way to or from, or any number of other non-traditional places to teach (see if you can think of others).

But there is demand elsewhere for a reasonably capable battery powered projector.  Volunteer teachers, doctors, missionaries, scientists, and others trying to make a difference, travel the world or live in poor areas.  In many such places, electricity isn’t always something that can be counted on in rural environments.  For these reason there is a real demand for a battery.  Let me say that the first “Pocket projector” a decade ago, was the Mitsubishi PK20. Definitely bigger than this HBP503D, it had 20 lumens, and could run on batteries.   In those days I owned a large internet projector dealer.  We sold thousands of these projectors for use around the world, primarily purchased by doctors, and teachers, although primarily by large missionary organization, many of which were involved in teaching, or educating people about AIDs, etc.

Unfortunately until recently, there wasn’t a battery powered projector that was reasonably bright.  Now, with the HPB503D projector there is.

The HBP503D is more than just a basic projector.  It sports a good resolution, the same WXGA that’s common on most education projectors being sold today.  The HBP503D is even 3D capable, and comes with one pair of 3D glasses.  The optional battery pack takes between two and three hours to fully recharge when connected to AC power.  Not bad.  I imagine a decent portable solar rig could recharge the battery in less than a day.

In our review we note that the HBP503D pocket projector is rather capable, comes with a full remote control (not a small credit card sized one), and has a competent, if not feature laden set of menus, a reasonably sharp image, and better than decent color.   See the full review for more detail.

And as you would expect, it has a built in player so it can run powerpoint presentations, txt and word docs, spreadsheets, and other formats, completely “PC free”.   In comparing with the Optoma PK320 which we have considered our favorite pico projector to date, one that can do 100 lumens on its battery pack (the projector’s maximum), we don’t mind carrying about twice the weight and 3 times the bulk to get an image that’s more than twice as bright.

In other words, the HBP503D is a very respectable, and capable, small pocket projector. None-the-less, the HBP503D receives our Best In Classroom Special Interest award, because it is the “little projector that could” – which in this case means it can run – and teach, without AC power available.

This is a projector that definitely fits a non-tradtional teaching need, and at the moment it is one of very few that even exist, to tackle that teaching market.  We offer a “Well done” to HB Opto, for bringing out a competent, battery powered projector. I should note, that HB Opto will shortly be releasing an even brighter pocket projector that can run on batteries.  We’re looking June/July 2013 timeframe, and will review it because of my specific interest in projectors that can meet this need.

PS.  A great companion product for those needing a battery powered projector, is likely a small solar charging kit, but probably one a size up from the ones used for cell phones and iPads, so that charging times for the battery pack can be reasonable

And that concludes our awards page.  Again, for the most information on any of these projectors, do check out the full online review.  Also note that we are producing (or by the time you read this, may have already produced), video summaries our reviews, for several of these award winning projectors.  As of May 15th, we are working on videos of three of these, and plan more.

The End (of the awards).

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