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Sony MP-CL1 Pico Laser Projector Review - Special Features

Posted on November 19, 2015 by Art Feierman
SONY MP-CL1 PICO LASER PROJECTOR - SPECIAL FEATURES:  HD resolution, MHL support on HDMI, MiraCast, 3D? Laser light engine, Color Alignment

HD Resolution

As mentioned on the first page of this review, the MP-CL1 may be the highest resolution pico projector out there.  While there are some full HD resolution pocket projectors, those tend to be far more expensive, huge by comparison, and a whole lot heavier.

In other words, if a battery powered high res projector is what you need, along with a tiny size and half pound or less in weight, the Sony may well be the only major brand choice around.

HDMI with MHL on the MP-CL1

No surprise, that since this Sony projector has an HDMI port, that it supports MHL which is the mobile standard for streaming sticks and other applications.  As an example, I had no problem at all plugging in my own Roku stick, and streaming from Netflix. MHL gives you one way to also interface with a variety of smart phones and tablets.


Then, of course, this is still an HDMI port, given that it uses a mini HDMI jack - but comes with the necessary adapter.  With that HDMI I have easily interfaced to my PS4, my MacBook Pro, and my iPhone and iPad.  There should be no problem with Android devices either.


The Sony has built in Wifi to be able to talk to MiraCast enabled devices be they computers, tablets or other devices.  This allows for wireless screen mirroring. For example if you have a Miracast equipped laptop, then with Miracast engaged, if you are showing a movie, or a document on your computer's display, it will also be projected by the MP-CL1 projector.

MP-CL1 Lacks 3D

Makes sense to me, after all, 3D needs about 3 times the brightness of 2D, and we're talking about a projector here, at best, that produces just under 40 lumens!  I say "fair enough" although it would have been interesting to see what 3D looks like.

I like the idea of getting on an airplane, putting on a pair of 3D glasses on, and shining the projector - with 3D content playing - on to the airplane seat back in front of me.  That should really startle my seat mates.

Sony MP-CL1 Laser Light Engine

Because this projector uses laser scanning you don't get the defined pixel structure as with other projectors.  This allows Sony to get their 1920x720 resolution by projecting rectangular, not square pixels.

The laser light engine has some benefits, one of which is that it's always in focus, even without any focus ring.  This Sony uses a laser diode, which also creates perhaps its most significant limitation:  The MP-CL1's laser is rated 2000 hours.  That's about half of the typical lamp based projector, but perhaps more to the point, far less than the typical 12,000 - 20,000 hours claimed by competing LED pico projectors.

But ask yourself this before you start shaking your head:  Does it really matter?  Perhaps if you bought this to hook up to your gaming machine every day, but 2000 hours is one long time for a pico projector.  Let's say you use it 20 hours a week - that's a whole lot - then the laser engine should last two full years.  But I seriously doubt that more than 5% of owners, and probably less, will use the projector anywhere near 20 hours a week.  At 5 hours a week, we're talking eight years!

Color Alignment

This Sony allows you to easily align the red green and blue colors, with a tool you select from the menu.  It lets you choose each primary color, then adjust the vertical and horizontal "white" lines, so that the colors are in alignment.  That means, for example, if red is slightly to the right of green and blue, you can adjust it so that it aligns perfectly, creating white.  The gallery here shows all the menu steps to perform the alignment.  We did not repeat for each color.

As you can see the first image is way out of alignment, giving a reddish caste to the text.  A second image is still off on green. Others show the ability to adjust the numbers to shift the colors, and the save and initialize functions.  It's not rocket science, but will set you back about 5 minutes max, to do a good job.


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