Projector Reviews

2022-2023 Outdoor & Portable Projector Buyer’s Guide – Ultra-Portable Projectors: Smart Features and a Battery

The last section of our Buyer’s Guide celebrates the best in ultra-portable projectors, combining built-in sound, smart features, and durability AND the convenience of a built-in battery. The very best in ultraportable projectors don’t need an external video source, a power cord, or external sound.

BenQ GS50 Portable LED Smart Projector

The BenQ GS50 portable projector is at home outdoors
Price$799
Brightness500 ANSI lumens
Resolution1080 x 1920
Light SourceLED
Light Source Lifespan 30,000 hours (ECO mode)
InputsHDMI x 2, ARC
Portability – size5.7 lbs
Portability – powerUp to 2.5 hours
Portability – smartAndroid TV dongle
Portability – durabilityIPX2, drop-resistant
Sound2.1 channel with “Extra Bass” Can function as a Bluetooth speaker

The big brother GS50 shares many features with its smaller sibling the GV30. Both projectors offer a built-in battery with up to 2.5 hours of battery life. The GS50 and GV30 both come with BenQ’s QS01 Android TV (ATV) Dongle for HDMI media streaming. The QS0I Android TV Dongle is easily installed into the second HDMI input port, which is concealed under a dongle cover. The BenQ GS50 and GV30 both come with an attractive Heather Grey padded carrying case.

The brighter 500 ANSI lumen GS50 also steps up to Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. The GS50 also offers a powerful 2.1 channel audio system with dual 5-watt midrange tweeters and a 10-watt woofer. The cabinet is specially designed to deliver 270 degrees of sound, no matter where your friends sit in the backyard, they’re going to hear cinematic sound effects, booming music, and even whispered conversations. And of course, like the GV30, the GS50 can be used as a handy portable Bluetooth speaker.

Realistic audio is combined with a realistic picture. Optimized picture modes powered by BenQ’s CinematicColor and 98% Rec. 709 offers a wide color range for more saturated and realistic color. The GS50 supports HDR10 and HLG so you’re going to get brighter highlights and not only deeper black details but more details in those dark areas.

The GS50 also has a worry-free durable design that is ergonomically designed for a rugged and active lifestyle. The GS50 is IPX2 splash-resistant, with light splashes being channeled out of the projector and splash-resistant film protecting the speakers. An IPX2 rating means the GS50 can resist water that hits the projector at a 15° angle or less. The testing for an IPX2 rating includes a test duration of 10 minutes and a water equivalent to 3mm rainfall per minute. The projector is also 2.3-foot drop-resistant thanks to its double protection of a 1mm-thick water-resistant TPU inner layer and a drop-resistant outer resin.

READ THE REVIEW

BenQ GV30 Portable LED Smart Projector

BenQ GV30
The BenQ GV30 portable projector with extra bass
Price$599
Brightness300 ANSI lumens
Resolution1280 x 720
Light SourceLamp
Light Source Lifespan 30,000 hours (ECO mode)
InputsHDMI x 2
Portability – size3.53 lbs
Portability – powerUp to 2.5 hours
Portability – smartAndroid TV dongle
Sound2.1 channel with “Extra Bass” Can function as a Bluetooth speaker

The GV30 is a smart all-in-one High Definition (HD) 1280 x 720p portable LED projector. The GV30’s brightness is rated at 300 ANSI lumens. The LED light source is rated to last up to 20,000 hours on Normal Mode and 30,000 hours on ECO Mode. A power outlet is not needed to enjoy the GB30 it has a built-in battery that is rated to last up to 2.5 hours.

The GV30 is more compact than its larger, heavier, more rugged GS50 big brother. Weighing less than 4 lbs and including a convenient carry strap, the portability of the GV30 makes it an excellent choice for neighborhood block parties, outdoor gyms, or office retreats.

With the Android TV Operating System with 5000+ native apps, the BenQ GV30 is ready to entertain. Smart features are seamlessly integrated. The on-screen menus are well laid out and easy to navigate. In addition, the GV30 has popular streaming apps like Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube. You can also instantly cast any content from your handy smartphone, tablet, or PC.

The BenQ GV30 flexes its ultraportable chops by adding a 2.1 channel sound system to its battery powered, light, and compact form factor. BenQ claims the GV30 is the world’s first portable 720p HD 2.1 channel projector and says that it will deliver resonant bass, solid mid-range, and crisp treble. The built-in 2.1 channel features dual 4-watt midrange tweeters AND a powerful 8-watt woofer. If you’re camping under the stars or watching flicks in the backyard, it’s going to feel more like a real movie experience. Bass adds real power and a sense of realism – sure, you’ll appreciate the power of explosions, but you will also get enhanced dialog, music, and other subtle effects. You can even use the GV30 as a portable Bluetooth speaker.

In addition to this powerful onboard sound system, you’ll also find optimized sound modes to improve the sound quality in movies, shows, sports, games, and music.

READ THE REVIEW

XGIMI Halo Portable LED Projector

XGIMI Halo Best in Class Award Winner
XGIMI Halo Best in Class Award Winner
Budget$799
Brightness600 – 800 ANSI lumens
Resolution1920 X 1080
Light SourceLED
Light Source Lifespan 30,000 hours
InputsHDMI 1.4/2.0 input, 1 USB 2.0
Portability – sizeWeighs less than 4 lbs
Portability – power8 hours of music, 4 hours of video playback
Portability – smartAndroid TV
SoundTwo 5-watt Harman Kardon built-in speakers

The XGIMI Halo is a smart 1080P DLP projector that offers exceptional brightness for a portable unit. The Halo has a rated brightness of 600-800 lumens. You will enjoy 600 lumens when the Halo runs off its internal battery and the full 800 lumens with the Halo plugged into an AC outlet.

The Halo has a small rectangular shape. It weighs only 3.52 lbs and is 4.47 inches x 5.71 inches by 6.75 inches. It utilizes a highly efficient LED light source, which allows the Halo to project bright and clear images for its entire LED lifespan of 30,000 hours. Halo is a DLP projector that can deliver a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The XGIMI Halo also supports video formats of up to 4K Ultra HD.

The Halo is powered by Android TV, you have apps and capabilities that are also found in a Smart flat panel TV. Halo includes Google Assistant, which allows you to control the projector with your voice. Simply press and hold the only colored button on the remote, the Google Assistant mic button, and you are ready to operate the Halo. Some of the things you are able to use voice control for would be to ask the projector to “Go to my projector settings” or “Play music.”

With Android TV built in, the Halo provides seamless access to popular streaming services, including Hulu, HBO Max, and YouTube, right out of the box. The Halo with the Android TV OS makes it easy to access the streaming entertainment you enjoy.

The Halo also has a built-in media player and that can access files via its USB inputs. The USB input can be used to play back many different types of media (videos, MP3, photos, etc.). The USB input on the Halo can also be used to connect other tools, such as a keyboard, game controller, or mouse.

The Halo has two 5-watt Harman Kardon built-in speakers, located on the sides of the unit. The speakers provide good sound for a portable projector and are loud enough for an average-sized room. When you use the included remote to change the volume, the level is conveniently displayed on-screen.

For maximum portability, the Halo is equipped with a built-in battery which, according to XGIMI, allows up to eight hours of music playback or up to four hours of video playback time. This really enhances the unit’s portability and makes it a great option for a backyard theater or watching a movie at a campsite.

READ THE REVIEW

Wemax Go Advanced

Wemax Go Advanced featured image
Price$1,198 MSRP
Brightness600 ANSI lumens
Resolution1080 x 1920
Light SourceDLP Laser
Light Source Lifespan 25,000 hours
Portability – size1.7 lbs
Portability – powerUp to 1.5 hours of battery life
Portability – smartAndroid TV OS
SoundMono 2-watt speaker

The Wemax Go Advanced is a smart all-in-one Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) portable Digital Light Processing (DLP) projector that uses a Texas Instruments 0.23″ Digital Micromirror Device (DMD). Wemax rates the brightness of the Go Advanced at 600 ANSI lumens. The laser-light source is rated to last over 25,000 hours. In addition, the Go Advanced has a built-in battery that is rated to last up to 1.5 hours.

In addition to measuring about an inch thick, the Wemax Go Advanced weighs only 1.7 lbs, making this projector potentially valuable to users that are always on the go! The Go Advanced is useful at an office, a conference, offsite event, or even in your car. 

The Wemax Go Advanced uses an integrated smart operating system, designed to allow access to almost any content such as YouTube, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Disney+, and many more with the Aptoide third-party app store. I’ve had inconsistent experiences with Aptoide so I’ll be looking at how apps from this market perform on this projector. If there are any issues the Wemax Go Advanced casting capabilities are built-in, so content can be viewed from your phone or tablet.

READ THE REVIEW

Philips PicoPix Max Projector

Functionality of a Smart TV with the portability of a paperback novel
Price$899
Brightness850 ANSI lumens
Resolution1080 x 1920
Light SourceLamp
Light Source Lifespan Over 30,000 hours (ECO mode)
InputsWireless display and mirroring
Portability – size1.87 lbs
Portability – powerUp to 3 hours of battery life
Portability – smartBuilt-in Android OS and
Android App Support
Portability – memory16Gb internal memory
SoundDual 4-watt speakers, Bluetooth audio

The PicoPix Max is a Full HD (1,920 x1,080) DLP projector with a rated lamp life of over 30,000 hours. The PicoPix Max delivered a surprisingly clear and pleasing image in an impressively small package. It is incredibly versatile thanks to the integrated WiFi, battery, and various apps that come pre-installed. The Android-based OS is easy to learn and has an intuitive interface for the many features.

It has the potential to be a powerful tool for both business and pleasure thanks to its numerous options for projecting content. Users can wirelessly cast their content to the projector via Screencast and Miracast, load up to 16GB of content directly onto the machine, or connect a separate device such as an external hard drive or gaming platform via USB, or HDMI connections. The PicoPix Max also has a built-in media player, so almost any popular format of content can be played.

READ THE REVIEW

Wemax Dice

Wemax_Dice right angle with remote
Price$699 MSRP
Brightness700 ANSI lumens
Resolution1080 x 1920
Light SourceDLP
Light Source Lifespan 30,000 hours
Portability – size4.9 lbs
Portability – powerUp to 3 hours of battery life
Portability – smartAndroid TV OS
Sound10W Dolby Audio

The Wemax Dice is a 1080p Full HD 4LED projector rated at 700 ANSI lumens. The 4LED-light source is rated to last up to 30,000 hours of light source life, providing years of maintenance-free operation.

This remarkably sized mobile projector is powered by Android TV OS and supports the Google Play app store, unlike other Wemax projectors I’ve reviewed. The Dice is loaded with popular streaming apps such as Amazon Prime Video, HULU, HBO Max, AppleTV+, Paramount+, Peacock, and YouTube, provided through the Google Play application store. I experienced no issues getting any applications I downloaded to run on the projector. 

The Wemax Dice has decent out-of-the-box color accuracy compared to other portable projectors I’ve reviewed. The Dice is not a home theater projector but offers some useful, out-of-the-box picture preset modes. I especially like the Movie and Standard presets. The Dice can reproduce 100% of the Rec.709 color gamut displaying over 16.7M distinct colors.

The projector’s brightness is more than enough when using it in a darker space, which lets it shine. However, the image will dim if you introduce even a small amount of light into the room.

READ THE REVIEW