Philips PicoPix PPX 3610: Pocket Projection

Philips-PicoPix-PPX3610

I have a Pico projector, and it’s one of the easiest ways to dazzle my friends. Not with it’s bulb (it’s a dim 30 lumens), but by it’s mere existence. Even in the age of smartphones, wifi scales and tablets people seem blown away that you can fit a projector into something smaller than a remote control. Sadly my pico projector of choice is four years old and is basically useless unless you are in a totally darkened room. And connectivity options are limited – cables (yuk) and micro-SD. So what does a modern pico projector bring to the table?

I got to spend a couple of minutes playing with the new Philips PicoPix PPX 3610 at Digital Summer – a gadget playground for tech journalists – and was impressed by how the technology had improved in what is a relatively short space of time. The PicoPix had triple the brightness of my old projector (up to 100 lumens) and a screen size of up to 120″.

Pico-PPX-3610

PicoPix also has more interface options – including mini-HDMI so you can play with smartphones, tablets and video game consoles. An integrated touch pad provides menu access and allows for easy navigation on the internet. Proof, if proof were needed that this is a modern projector comes with the fact that, like all great modern gadgets, PicoPix comes with an Android and iOS app that enables you to control the device remotely.

PicoPix has a battery life of two hours, 4gb of internal memory as well as a 1 watt sound bar, so it’s technically an autonomous projector, although you’d almost definitely want to beef up the sound a little if you were taking this on the road. The projector has an Officer Viewer so you can work with .pdf, .ppt/.pptx, .xsl/.xlsx, .doc/.docx files – although if you have a projector you could learn to do fun stuff with Isadora.

The Philips PicoPix PPX3610 projector is DLNA compatible so it can manage a WiFi connection to a DLNA Server and project any content stored there. No cables required, perfect for a home network. Loaded with Android (I was unable to determine which flavour), you will be able to go online and project YouTube videos, play games and surf the web without the need to be connected to another device.

The Philips PicoPix PPX3610 will be out in July 2013

3M PocketProjector MP180 review

The 3M PocketProjector MP180 is ridiculously small. When the review unit arrived out our door, we thought someone had delivered the projector’s power adapter. In fact, thanks to a built-in battery, the MP180 doesn’t even need a powerbrick. Having won us over on form, then, the question is: how well does it project?

3M-Pro-150

Size and Look

Just to reiterate: the PocketProjector MP180 is just 150x65x33mm and weighs 338g. You could – just about – fit one in your trouser pocket, although you’d be subjected to a barrage of “is that a projector in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?” jokes.

The device is also coated in an extremely pleasant rubberised coating – if you like your gadgets tactile, the MP180 is arguably the most stroke-friendly on the market.

The touchscreen controls, however, are less easy on the fingers. They’re a bit fiddly (using old-school resistive touch technology) and the menus can be confusing. There’s no dedicated home button, for example, which means a complete restart of the projector is needed when you’ve finished with the internet option. Annoying.

The whole interface looks incredibly old-school – although in an alienating, rather than endearing, way. To be honest, it felt like we should have been poking it with a stylus.

 Features

Once you learn how to access the features, you’ll realise that the device is packed with them. It can connect to your Wifi to projector webpages, while also play videos, music and pictures stored on the 4GB onboard memory  (or from the microSD card slot), as well as stream from Bluetooth and output Office documents.

Another killer-feature is the built-in battery, which allows in excess of two hours of projection on the go. When playing media off the device – rather than through a laptop VGA cable – this drops a bit, but it’s an impressive feat nonetheless. The bulb also lasts 20,000 hours – pretty impressive.

Quality

All these features would be for naught if the projection itself was terrible – which it isn’t. With a native output of 800×600 (and a maximum of 1280×800), the resolution is fine – the brightness, however, is questionable.

The 30 lumen lamp means that it’s great for dark environments – but in a well-lit conferencing room there would be little to see. Stretching beyond 80in is a definite mistake – as is projecting at an angle. There keystoning effect (where the top of the image expands disproportionately outwards) is extremely noticeable.

In optimal conditions – dark, about 60 inches from the wall and projected straight-on, the MP180 creates a bright and enjoyable (if a little fuzzy) image. The battery exceeds expectations and the huge range of features mean that there are definite pluses to the device.  Really – it’s a super, portable projector.

The issue is, with projectors like the only-a-bit-more-expensive (but not portable) Epson TW450 on the market, the projection of the tiny MP180 pales in comparison – even if the other features are noteworthy.

Latest Gadgets at the Gadget Show Live 2011

Latest Gadgets made its yearly pilgrimage to the Gadget Show Live in Birmingham to play with the latest and greatest tech that manufacturers had to offer. Fighting our way through the bear pit that is the coffee table in the press room, we emerged refreshed and ran around attempting to see as much as possible before the caffeine wore off.

Batman-Car

Our first stop was Brasso (covered here) who had a little stall set up to clean all our gadgets. As an owner of a filthy iPhone, iPad and pair of glasses it was nice to have someone give them a quick wipedown. Plus there was cake. Orbitsound had their T3 mobile stereo speaker on display – a little iPod classic shaped unit that provides stereo sound on the go – and that can be worn around the neck to create a sound aura. Amazing. Also a potential nightmare if young kids on London buses get hold of it.

Bamboo-Stylus

Wacom had just that day released a Bamboo stylus for the iPad. I’m keen doodler and had a quick play. It feels great to hold – and is very close to holding a real pen. It’s also 25 percent slimmer tip than main competitors as the reps insisted on telling me. The prototype app to accompany it (you can of course use the stylus with all drawing apps) looks pretty fun as well but wasn’t yet ready for final assessment. The stylus should be out in mid-May for about £25.

We waved at the people from 3M who were showing off their MPro 180 wireless pico projector rigged up to a PS3 and an iPad. We had a more in-depth look at it here. The most stylish area was the shiny white Golla zone where lots of beautiful people looked over enthusiastic about a range of pretty looking laptop bags and camera cases. We took a look at some here.

Cyngett-iPad-2-stand

iPad stands were ubiquitous, but the only one that actually caught our eye was Cygnett’s that had copied Apple’s Smart Cover technology (well the wake from sleep functionality) and added a stand that works vertically and horizontally – all in a big (and admittedly slightly bulky) leather case. They were stood next to Henge Docks – a great laptop dock that enabled you to use your MacBook with a Widescreen monitor and pretend you have a full desktop.  We also had a quick look at the PopBox – a self-styled “Apple TV” killer, that streams your HD content via DLNA and its own app store. And we also played with some wireless Jaybird headphones, the Qb desktop USB speakers and FlipVideo who surprisingly said nothing about their impending demise.

Of course this is a tiny fraction of what we had a play with so expect to see a few more in-depth articles over the coming week.

Acer C20 pico projector

The first thing you are going to notice about the C20 is that it looks cool. More like a just-released smartphone, it well and truly banishes not-so-fond memories of the grey monstrosities that used to blight your school classrooms. The link with the smartphone is definitely something that ACER seem to be trying to promote with the press release, not untruthfully, stating that with the deployment of phones as all round entertainment centres we have a wealth of pictures, vids and music at our fingertips. Thus we are going to want to show them off, which is where the C20 comes in with its compatibility with the average pocket.

Acer-c20

Of course, this would all be pretty redundant were the product not to deliver, but from the C20 you get a 2000:1 contrast ratio so projections should be clear and void of vibration, whether you decide to have the size of your projection 13 cm (5”) or 168cm (66”) , where the C20 tops out. Sneakily, they’ve also chucked in an internal amplifier (lord knows where they find the space) so there won’t be any necessity to carry an extra speaker, which would kind of make the on-the-go idea behind the product redundant.

Similarly, if you always had to run the projector through your laptop it make it altogether less appealing and though you can do this if you wish the integrated SDHC reader means that you can use a Micro SD card for audio, video and pictures, whilst there is also a USB Flash capability, with pictures, videos and presentations all available for instantaneous deployment.

Any regular user of projectors will tell you that it’s all very well having nice contrast ratios, battery life, good standard lumens (brightness for the layman) and the like, but it all pales into significance in comparison to the life of the bulb. Traditionally bulbs in projectors give up quicker than me in a rugby scrum, but the C20 does away with this with its promise of a heady 20,000 hours life for its bulb. In case you are thinking of having regular 24 hour holiday photo fests (in which case I’m never coming round to your house) this should be fine for anyone. The lack of any tubes or breakable filament also means there’s a much less potential for interior snaps and niggles, whilst the fact that the C20 now uses the Colorsafe II DLP technology means the projector won’t be prone to the yellowish tints that often blight projected pictures after extensive use.

There’s a lot of these portable projectors coming onto the market at the moment, not least the MP160 AND MP180, reviewed here. What sets the C20 apart is its direct appeal to the everyday user- its all about appealing to the normal picture-taker/video-maker, not the travelling salesman or the manager in the boardroom. The price tag of £279.99 isn’t cheap, but then realistically this isn’t aimed at those at the low end of the market. With its promise of 20,000 hours of bulb life this is a sound long-term investment for those people that can afford it.

3M MP160 and MP180: Wireless pocket project-awe

I’m not going to lie to you: I am no entrepreneur. I am also not a businessman, a salesman, team leader, or one of those people that comes into your office twice a year in a vain attempt to make you ‘Expert’ level Excel. I think computer games are alright, but I certainly wouldn’t call myself a computer game ‘geek.’ I take pictures on trips, but am just self-aware enough to know that no-one- and I mean no-one, wants to come round to some godawful evening I where show them off and brag about how I found myself on some Scally-infected beach in South East Asia. I watch films occasionally, but normally only when I’m hungover and the concept of moving and engaging my brain in anything other than pretty people running around blowing stuff up and/or taking their clothes off is enough to make me reach for a warm tumbler of the previous nights rum. I am, in fact, the polar opposite of the target audience of the 3M MP160 and MP180 projector. When they had early board meetings and drew up all the different demographics of who they wanted to target, who they needed to appeal to make their projectors fly in the 21st century marketplace (not literally, though if it did I probably would be), I was so far off that whiteboard I might as well as have been at the bottom of the sea.

It is odd, therefore, that when I first read the press release of these brand new mobile projectors, I actually uttered the words; ‘that is so very useful.’

3M-projector

In a nutshell, the MP160 and MP180 are little baby projectors that you can carry around with you, in your briefcase/bag/lunchbox. They do not have an abundance of wires as you just charge the badboys before you need them , and they’ll run on their lonesomes for a healthy two hours (bit of a stitch if you’re up for a late night Passion Of The Christ fest, mind). You just plug them into your laptop, PC, smartphone, DVD player, TV, camcorder, basically anything with an output and boom, you have a wall-filling projection, with 30 lumens (I don’t know either) of brightness.

From what I can gather from this ‘ere press release, the M180 is for those of you that need a mini computer’s worth of info on you at all times. Its got 4GB of internal memory, and will take your micro SD card (good for those Full Moon Party pics), and USB so you can have all your stuff on you and be ready to present in the event of any emergency. It’s all controlled by a fancy touch screen, which comes further into its own when you consider the M180 has built in WiFi capability, so you can stream videos and such like from the internet. The fact it does all this and weighs only 338 grams and in a 150 mm x 65 mm x 33 mm package is something I find vaguely mindboggling and not dissimilar to the thoughts my oldest nephew would start experiencing if he tried to logically dissect the whole Santa Claus phenomenon.

The M160 is a little more straightforward; it has those all important 30 lumens (a unit of brightness for image quality – 30 is low for a real projector, which would output 2000, but ok for a mini one like this – Ed.), but it’s sans (French for without) the mobile office. So no Memory slot, internet, touch screen etc, but its still fine to hook up to other devices and will project games, videos and pictures onto walls, ceilings etc. It’s a more everyday and, though prices haven’t been confirmed yet, it is estimated that this will be reflected in its lower $349 price (as opposed to $399 for the 180).

All in all, if you are the sort of person that’s going to use one of these, it seems like a no-brainer. The only sticking point would seem to be the battery life, but you can just whack that on charge so lets not get bogged down in that eh? I won’t lie and say that I’ll be getting one (unless 3M want to send me one- nudge nudge, wink wink), but for those that need projections and entertainment on the go, these would seem to be your next port of call.