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.

TWIG: Logmein Ignition iPad app, Edifier Soundbar USB, Sony 3D HD projector

The Week in Gadgets

It has been another busy week in the world of gadgets. IFA in Berlin saw the unveiling of numerous interesting gadgets – Epson’s top of the range projectors, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, HP’s Envy laptops and much much more. We will be looking over a range of releases in more detail over the coming week. Apple released a slew of new iPods and finally updated the Apple TV. We had some initial thoughts here. Twitter released an iPad client with a futuristic and challenging UI. Meanwhile XBMC-based media server Plex could be built directly into DLNA enabled LG TVs. As my main moan with mainstream media servers is that they lack the elegance of XBMC, this is potentially the answer to sereval of my prayers.

Edifier-Soundbar

Edifier, who made the affordable Opera shaped Prisma speakers have released a Soundbar USB – a micro speaker system with a specially designed bass reflection port. Doing exactly what is says on the tin, the Soundbar is a easy way to beef up underpowered laptop speakers, or provide a little more oomph to your audio when you are on the go. Yours for £49.99.

Flying in the face of Epson’s bold claims that the world (or image quality rather) is not ready for 3D projectors Sony released its first 3D home cinema projector, the VPL-VW90ES. Projecting in Full HD 1080p (of course) Sony’s headfirst push into the world of 3D continues and the VW90ES uses active shutter glasses and an upgraded version of Sony’s 240Hz Panel which is supposed to minimise cross talk. Out in Europe in November, we are keen to take a look and see if the image quality passes muster.

Sony-3D-projector

iPad owners keen to work some VPN magic on their tablets should head to the App store and check out the latest update to LogMeIn Ignition – one of the better remote access apps that gives access and more importantly control to your desktop or laptop from your iPad. I’ve tried quite a few remote access apps for the iPad whilst the idea sounds great, actual day to day use is next to impossible – the all powerful WIMP paradigm just doesn’t helpfully translate to the multitouch era. LogMeIn recognise this and have worked hard to simulate a multitouch workflow – supporting pinching, swiping and left and right mouse clicks. Unfortunately, you still have to “learn” how to use the app – a little hints dialogue opens on log in, reminding you of the various gestures. However, once learned (and being honest it doesn’t take all that long) it is reasonably easy to select windows, transfer files or switch views in a multiple monitor setup.

The LogMeIn Ignition for iPad and iPhone app can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store for a one-time charge of £17.99 and the update is freely available to existing Ignition owners.

Epson unveils high-end EH-R4000 & EH-R2000 and budget EHTW3600 & EH-TW3200 full HD projectors at IFA

Latest Gadgets met up with the good people of Epson to talk about their new range of projectors at IFA.

Epson are world number 1 in projectors, so they have some interesting ideas about where the market will be heading. Most interesting was what they didn’t launch, and they boldly proclaimed there wouldn’t be any Epson 3D projectors on display at IFA. Nor would there be any pico projectors. I spoke to several Epson representatives about this and they all pointed to one of Epson’s core values – image quality and how it simply isn’t possible to produce high quality images either in 3D or from a pocket sized projector at the moment.

Epson-Projectors-IFA

This core value of high image quality was repeated again and again. When we were shown the Epson EH-DM3, which features an integrated DVD/DIVX player and microphone for karaoke, Epson pointed out that it can easily be used with the lights on, due to high quality brightness.

Projectors are expensive however, which can be off-putting to casual consumers – especially with prices of HD TVs crashing lower and lower. Epson are keenly aware of this and launched the EHTW3600 and EH-TW3200 – two entry-level 1080p projectors, with an image size of up to 300 inches and two HDMI inputs. Despite being entry level projectors, image quality is still high, powered by Epson’s 3LCD technology (there is a very detailed explanation on Epson’s website about what this is) and the projectors work in daylight, with an output of 1,800 (EH-TW3200)-2,000 (EH3600) lumens.

Serious home cinema enthusiasts – y’know guys with a dedicated cinema room, should check out Epson’s new high end projectors – the EH-R4000 and EH-R2000, which have ridiculously high dynamic contrast ratios (1,000,000:1 for the EH-R4000 and 500,000:1 for the EH-R2000). We shuffled into a room to watch selections from Ice Age, The Dark Knight Returns and Mission Impossible on Blu Ray via the EH-R4000 and the image quality was eye-poppingly good thanks to the HQV processor. The contrast was also impressive – especially in the darker sections of Mission Impossible 3. Definitely one to watch, (the EH-R4000, not Mission Impossible 3, which is mediocre at best).

• The EH-TW3600 is €1,399 and the EH-TW3200 is €999
• The EH-R4000 and EH-R2000 will be available from November.

****Update****

Epson contacted us with details of UK pricing, which are:

EH-R2000 £2999.99
EH-R4000 £4999.99
EH-TW3200 £899.99
EH-TW3600 £1299.99

Latest Gadgets at IFA preview: Tablets, docks and much much more.

IFA or Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin as it’s never called, is one of the world’s largest consumer electronics trade fairs and is held annually in Germany. Latest Gadgets will be heading down for the press day today. Here are a few things we’ll be excited about seeing.

IFA-preview

In the same way the iPhone redefined smartphone, the iPad is helping to reshape the world of tablet computing – and dramatically polarising opinion as it does so (someone is getting angry just at the mere mention of the iPad). Competition is rife and we are looking forward to playing with the new “iPad beating” Galaxy Tab tablet on display from Samsung.

Auluxe, makers of the Dew, which we described our love for here, are set to launch the Reverie II, a luxury iPod dock crafted from wood (pictured) that apparently takes 13 hours to manufacture. Altec Lansing and Pioneor will also be unveiling some iPod docks and headphones.

Epson will have the latest and greatest in their Full HD home cinema range and showing off developments in 3LCD projection technology.

We are also eager to see Viewsonic who have an affordable 3D camera that can record at 720p for £199 and a handheld 3D TV, 3D digital camera and 3D digital photo frame. Keen to jump on the *other* bandwagon this year as well, they will be previewing a 7″ tablet computer – the ViewPad, which is Android powered and features 3G, GPS, Micro SD and USB ports and front and back facing cameras. A dual OS 10″ tablet will also been on display. I’m most excited about seeing the VMP74, not just because of the name but due to its award winning HD streaming capabilities.

Of course some of the more exciting innovations come from the smaller names and we will be keeping an eye out for the new and unusual from all corners of the show.

Depending on WiFi connections and roaming charges we should be tweeting our findings via @latestgadgetsuk and will take an in-depth look at our findings over the next few days.

3M MPro150 – The future of the present(ation)

When I think of projectors I’m reminded of the huge Over Head Projectors we used in French class, or the bulky noisy devices that we used to screen a film at the end of term. Admittedly I haven’t really kept up with projector technology since but from time to time I’ve been subjected to a slide show presentation and projectors remain theses sizable devices whirring away at the back of the room. So when the 3M MPRO150 arrived at my desk, half of my excitement was in holding the thing. A micro projector, it really is small – only slightly bigger than an old candy bar Nokia. It definitely has the feel of a robustly built hi-tech gizmo, although the MPRO150 is no toy.

MPRO150-Micro-Projector

Being the n3rd that I am I threw away the instruction manual and attempted to simply use the device – with great success. Attaching a USB cable allows you to open the MPRO150 like a USB drive and simply drag and drop files onto the device. Anyone who has used a pen drive in the last 10 years should be comfortable with loading files onto the built in memory (which is 1Gb but there is also a micro SD card slot to you can expand the device’s capacity). After that you can simply unplug the device, point it at a wall and before you can even say “Boom” you will be able to give a slideshow presentation.

I found the MPRO150 a bit fussy with regards to file formats – *.pngs wouldn’t load and some *.jpegs wouldn’t display. Most worked perfectly however and I gave a 50” display of my holiday snaps. Despite just using a white wall the image quality was superb. Pdfs, MS Office files and most images were fine. It also plays back *.avi files, which I found pretty amazing – I projected an episode of Sealab 2021 onto my wall and it worked flawlessly. 3M also threw in a mp3 player just for fun – ostensibly so you can relax listening to some music on the way to a presentation but I have no idea why anyone would do this instead of using any of the multitude of other devices they have for this purpose. Still it works.

The MPRO150 comes with a little tripod and a built in stand as well as lots of connector. You can hook it up to pretty much anything – desktops, laptops or iPhones but for me the real magic of the device is to just use it as a standalone presentation tool. It’s so small that it can easily pop in a briefcase – or even a suit jacket. I loaded up the MPRO150 with my Cymande.ppt (Brothers on The Slide) presentation and was able to get 2 hours battery life out of it. The built in speakers won’t blow you away but it is easy enough to connect to a remote device.
“To mark its launch we are giving our customers the chance to win £500 of iwantoneofthose vouchers and one of 10 MPro150s,” said Nick Hughes, Marketing Manager for 3M’s Mobile Interactive Solutions Division. “To enter, go to our mobile u web site and simply tell us in 50 words or less the most memorable, funny or embarrassing presentation you’ve delivered or seen. One winner will also be made into a short viral video, which the winner can star in if they wish.”

Ideal for business folk “on the move” but also pretty cool for anyone who would like to project a 50” photo, movie or slideshow onto a wall, the 3M MPro150 is now available to pre-order from shop3M.com, amazon.co.uk and selected high street retailers including Dixons Travel and Micro Anvika at an RRP of £349.99 including VAT.

Sony’s serene, hi-tech alarm clock

If your anything like me you dread the noise that emanates from traditional alarm clocks, my current alarm clock sounds like something from an alien planet – it’s a high-pitched foreign screech – I hate it. But Sony is about to release the serene and soothing ICF-C71PJ (we know it doesn’t sound that serene) but trust me this alarm clock looks to change the world of alarm clocks.

Sony-Alarm-Clock

Gone are the alien alarm noises and taking their place are five built-in soothing sounds from the natural world that provide you with an alternative to those annoying high frequency noises. You can choose from crisp digital recreations of undersea world, waves, mountain brook, rainfall or a birdsong to suit your mood.

The compact brushed aluminium finish will no doubt look great in anyone’s bedroom. It’s the first alarm clock to feature a built-in projector, which will project the time on to your wall or ceiling allowing for comfortable viewing.

There are multiple ways for this alarm clock to wake you; these include listening to your favourite radio shows with the FM/AM digital tuner, or you can plug-in your iPod or any other personal music player into the audio jack and listen to your favourite songs as you welcome in a new day.

Other notable inclusion are a built-in thermometer, which will give you the ambient temperature of your bedroom, making it a valuable way to check whether you have your heating set correctly for a good nights sleep.

This alarm clock dispels the problem of a late night power cuts with a battery back-up, which ensures that you always wake on time every time.

Sony have obviously spent a lot of time thinking about what functions a really good alarm clock should have, and they have decided that you shouldn’t hate you alarm clock – you should love it. And I think you will love this alarm clock, you will almost certainly hate the name, but for everything else it’s serene, thoughtful and full of features.

Movies go mobile: Aiptek D10 DVD projector

This nifty new gadget is definitely sure to be a hit with the kids and due to its recent release only this month, I anticipate it may be a firm favourite on the 2010 Christmas lists. The gadget in question is the Aiptek MobileCinema D10 DVD Projector which is basically a portable, fun and easy way to play films anywhere.

Watching films is probably the most popular form of entertainment and is a great way to get friends and family together in one place to share the experience. Whilst some people prefer to enjoy their film viewing on a state of the art plasma television in HD, many are happy with a basic visual and sound quality for the sake of quick and easy entertainment and that is exactly what you get with this new gizmo. It isn’t high tech and the quality certainly isn’t comparable to that of the somewhat higher end multimedia systems available but it is a creative way of watching films, aesthetically a fun looking device and very simple to use.

What also makes the Aiptek MobileCinema D10 unique is that whilst many portable video players can only provide you with limited amount of display, this can deliver up to 50 –inch of projected display output on a surface and also has a built-in DVD player and stereo speakers for audio which means that if you want to transfer it from place to place, the whole thing comes in one portable package for easy mobility. To watch a film, all you do is slot in a DVD on the unit and you’re ready to go – the device is easy to operate with uncomplicated functions and features and a control panel which includes the basic controls such as play/pause, stop, rewind, subtitles, fast forward and audio language. This means that kids can easily enjoy the experience without the need of assistance from adults to get it working! There is also a microphone jack for karaoke if you have the desire to blast out a few vocals and again, this is great if you want to take it along to parties with minimal hassle. The projector also features LED technology which is designed to conserve power and makes the unit last a great deal longer with a lifetime over 10,000 hours once fully charged up.

The Aiptek MobileCinema D10 is definitely a good option if you are looking for a quick, mobile and simple-to-use means of film watching that predominantly the kids will use and enjoy. The quality and durability of the device is not amazingly high but it is certainly good value entertainment that basically does what it says on the tin!

The Aiptek Mobile Cinema DVD is currently available to buy in the UK for £159.99 from Amazon.