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Pico Projectors - Control Panels and Menus

Posted on July 1, 2009 by Art Feierman

Well, so far, only one of the three pico projectors reviewed has a control panel, and a menu system for adjusting the projector. The other two are just plug and play.

I imagine that over the next year, we'll see most new models having at least some controls that are adjustable. The Aiptek V10 Plus is a good example of what to expect down the road. That pico projector has a control panel (with menu button), and when it comes to menu options, it has brightness, contrast, other image controls, the ability to select between SD card and internal memory.

There really is no reason why these pico projectors shouldn't have the circuitry and controls to affect image quality, as well as other features. As pico projectors mature, no doubt they will have many, probably most of the features found on larger projectors.

Remote Controls

Once again, only one out of the three we have reviewed so far has a remote control. Nice touch, and it offers full control of everything that can be controlled from the control panel. Is a remote critical? No, but it's certainly a fun option for folks flipping through pictures, or even doing a presentation. As pico projectors add features, remote controls will become more common. Expect to see only "credit card" type remotes, as there's little logic in having a remote control larger than the projector!

Physical Tour of a Pico Projector

OK, let's look at one of the most feature laden pico projectors. It doesn't have everything, but it does have more features than most others.

The projector I have in mind is the Aiptek V10 Plus.
You can see the lens, which in the case of this projector is in the center, but may not be on others. Harder to see, on the left side corner is the dial for focusing the lens.

Control panel of the Aiptek V10 Plus projector.All of the pico projectors we've seen have fixed lenses, and manual focus.
On the top, is the control panel shown here, but also some venting for heat.

Some pico projectors have inputs on the side, others on the back. The same is true for the input jack for power.
image, below shows one side of the V10 Plus, you can see the partially exposed SD card slot, Side of the Aiptek V10 Plus well as the holes for one of the two speaker.

Between the two is the mini-jack for inputting a composite video signal, or outputting audio to headphones or a powered speaker system.
This one from the 3M MPro110. In this case you are looking at the back of the MPro110 pico projector.

The 3M has it's composite video in the back, but of greater interest is the small VGA input connector, that allows the MPro to connect directly to any computer with the usual analog VGA capabilities.

That's true, as long as the laptop can, in this case, limit it's resolution output to no more than XGA (1024x768) which is about two steps up from the standard 640x480 resolution of this projector.

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