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Projectors Considered: LED Pocket Projectors 2

Posted on May 6, 2014 by Art Feierman

We wish to thank Epson America for sponsoring this year's Best Classroom Projectors report.

Canon LE-5W

One thinks of Canon for higher end, LCoS projectors with exceptional color and features like DICOM.   Surprise, Canon has a pocket projector, the LE-5W.  Canon’s LE-5W is rated at 500 lumens, with WXGA resolution, and support of sources as high as 1080p.  The engine is a 20,000 hour solid state LED type, and the projector itself is a single chip DLP.  It has a built in media player, an HDMI port.  It weighs in at 3.5 pounds making it the heaviest of the group, and heavier than some larger, conventional lamp projectors several times as bright.  The projector is 3D capable, no glasses included.

The single HDMI is complemented by a pair of USB’s and an SD card slot.  Naturally it has a media player, and it comes with a typical credit card style remote control.

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List price is an absurdly high $1099, but that’s ok, as it most typically seems to be selling for $699, but online there are a few shops with much deeper discounts.

The Canon measured in Presentation mode – it’s brightest, exactly 500 lumens, which is what Canon claims.  In that mode reds proved to be very dark, sort of wine colored, while yellows, greens and blues weren’t bad.  417 measured lumens in Standard mode produced good looking color, so overall, not bad.  Changes in settings that you make to any mode end up becoming User mode.

All considered the pricing is a little high for the brightness, but on the other hand, the three year warranty is about as good as it gets with pocket projectors.  Sound isn’t too “small” thanks to a 2.5 watt speaker system, and there is an audio output.  The Canon projector has a well endowed media player, and 1.5 gig of RAM.  The player supports Microsoft Office documents, pdfs, and many video and still image formats.

Optoma ML550

This one pound DLP “pocket” projector with WXGA native resolution, and LED light source rated 20,000 hours, and support up to 1080p claims 500 lumens output, a very respectable amount for a pocket projector.  When measuring the ML550, which, by the way, typically sells for under $500, it maxed out at just over claim, at 514 lumens, but colors while not bad, were “off”.  With much better color, the ML550 still managed 367 lumens, and PC mode – with respectable color did better at 441 lumens.  That’s serious brightness for such a small projector, weighing just under one pound.

Warranty is the typically unimpressive 1 year parts and labor, that most pocket projectors come with.  There are some, though, with more.

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Optoma’s one of the largest players in terms of projector lineups, so not much surprise that their built in media player is especially versatile.  Not only support for Microsoft Office documents, PDF’s and still images, it supports more video formats than any other pocket projector I can think of.  The ML550 has HDMI with MHL support, but lacks a lot of other inputs, instead providing a “multi-i/o” solution, with special cables and connectors – in other words, don’t lose them.   Physically it’s taller than some competitors, but with a 4.1 x 4.5 inch footprint it’s a lot smaller than any of the brighter pocket projectors we reviewed.  Oh yes, it’s 3D capable, but not Blu-ray 3D.

Vivitek Qumi Q7

The Qumi is the largest of the pocket projectors we reviewed, and just about the brightest, measuring 771 lumens max out of an 800 lumen claim.  It technically is the heaviest at 3.1 lbs., but has its power supply internal, rather than a separate power brick as do most.  That brightest mode suffers from the usual heavy greens, although not too terribly.  The color modes with very nice color ranged from about 400 to 500 lumens (about the same as most calibrated home theater projectors, so know there’s plenty of brightness when projecting on 40, 50, or 60 inch diagonal screens, with 60’s being very common in K-12 classrooms.  This is a DLP projector, with native WXGA resolution of 1280800 and can handle sources up to 1080p.

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Use bright mode when you need every last lumen.   Color, overall, is very well saturated, which can only help when you need to cut through more than minimal ambient light.

There’s a USB slot for doing PC free presentations, and like with several of the other pocket projectors in this report, its very capable, with support for Microsoft Office documents, PDF’s etc.  There’s 4 gig of memory to support that player!  Need SD card capability?  Use a SD to USB adapter.  The remote is of the “credit card” variety.  One of the two HDMI ports supports MHL for smart devices including some Android tablets, Roku sticks, and more.

Considering this is a larger pocket projector, its good to see a pair of 2 watt speakers for a bit more audio than most of the competition.  Vivitek is paying attention to audio, as they also provide an audio output, that can drive powered portable speakers to cover a typical K-12 classroom.  Warranty is a better than most (for pocket projectors) two years parts and labor.

Of special note, the Qumi Q7 has an optional Wifi dongle (great idea), and is 3D capable (typical DLP-link), just add (DLP-link compatible) 3D glasses. The wifi dongle also lets you use an App to present from your iPad…  Impressive overall.

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