The 10 Best Portable Projectors

Updated February 08, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Portable Projectors
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. If you love the idea of sharing videos with your friends on a screen bigger than your phone, or of watching movies while camping in the great outdoors, then you absolutely need a portable projector. These devices allow you to set up a mini theater anywhere you please, and many have built-in rechargeable batteries that can run your pocket-sized device for the length of most films. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best portable projector on Amazon.

10. UO Laser Beam Pro

Because the UO Laser Beam Pro uses a laser instead of a traditional bulb or LED, its image doesn't require any manipulation to come into focus. That not only makes for a smaller unit, it also means you can get down to watching whatever you like with less hassle.
  • supports up to 4k input
  • android os built-in
  • navigation is somewhat frustrating
Brand Laser Beam Pro
Model CLB2-UHXW
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Cozyswan GP9

Less expensive models in this category have a reputation for being easily broken or prone to malfunctioning, but the Cozyswan GP9 comes with a three-year manufacturer's warranty, allowing you to put those fears to bed and still save a little money.
  • 30000-hour lamp life
  • no internal battery
  • not the brightest option
Brand COZYSWAN
Model COZYSWAN-001
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Hausbell Mini GP70

If you don't want to spend too much money on your projection, and you also don't need a unit that runs on battery power, the Hausbell Mini GP70 might be your best bet. It delivers admirable image quality in a package that only really lacks on durability.
  • upscales to 1080p hd
  • vga input on the back
  • fan is very noisy
Brand Hausbell
Model GP70
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Tenker Mini Cube

Given the complexity of its production, DPL technology is rarely deployed in these smaller units, but the Tenker Mini Cube includes it at a very reasonable price. The LEDs backing the projection should provide up to 30,000 hours of use.
  • linux operating system
  • built-in wi-fi for easy connections
  • charge only lasts up to 90 minutes
Brand TENKER
Model PJ0759
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. GooDee Movie GP90

The GooDee Movie GP90 is only just small enough to be considered for travel, and it doesn't boast any kind of internal power supply, so you'll have to plug it into something for it to work. Its image quality, though, is rather impressive.
  • projects up to 280 inches
  • very bright at 3200 lumens
  • not the easiest to focus
Brand GooDee
Model pending
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Toumei Mini Pico C800i

The Toumei Mini Pico C800i can project an HD video on screens as large as 120 inches, and its 2,000:1 contrast ratio ensures that those images are clear and well-defined. Its built-in Happycast software is easy to use, but seems outdated.
  • eight gigabytes of internal memory
  • quad-core processor
  • remote control is finicky
Brand TouMei
Model TOUMEI
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. KDCUSA UO Smart Beam Laser

While the KDCUSA UO Smart Beam Laser is listed as putting out only 100 lumens, it's important to remember that this is a laser model, so it can create a bright, crisp image without shining as much light onto your chosen surface.
  • focus-free design
  • charge lasts up to four hours
  • speaker is a little weak
Brand KDCUSA.
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Nebula Mars Cinema

Among the many features that enhance its portability, the Nebula Mars Cinema benefits most from its integrated carrying handle and its impressive three-hour battery life. It's also very well ventilated to protect its most sensitive components.
  • 10-watt jbl speakers
  • connects wirelessly to phones
  • 3000-lumen light output
Brand Nebula
Model AK-D2311111
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Apeman Mini Video DLP

The dual stereo speakers on the Apeman Mini Video DLP allow you to immerse yourself in your preferred media without having to set up a bunch of additional hardware. Its DLP technology creates an image that is bright and crisp on almost any surface.
  • tripod included
  • built to fit in a pocket
  • high contrast ratio
Brand APEMAN
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Philips PPX4935 Pocket

The Philips PPX4935 Pocket can display in 720p using LED technology behind its lens. Its internal battery lasts for up to two hours, allowing you to enjoy the majority of your favorite films without having to plug in and recharge.
  • integrated sd card slot
  • projects up to 150 inches
  • four gigabytes memory
Brand Philips
Model PPX4935
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Through The Millions Of Tiny Looking Glasses

Reflected images have been with us since sentient beings have had eyes. All it takes is a little water and a little light, and you've got mirror advanced enough to lure young Narcissus to his watery grave.

The mirror itself is somewhat newer, though its presence in folklore and fairy tales speaks volumes of our reverence for its apparent magic. It is that very magic that a projector harnesses to send you the images you love to see.

When you go to the movies and sit beneath the beam of a professional theatrical projector, you're subjecting yourself to the reflections of at least two million mirrors. These mirrors are, of course, rather small, but they do the job of switching on and off behind dedicated color chips and reflecting a powerful source of light through the lens and onto the screen.

Portable projectors work on much the same principal, except their mirrors may not be as finely ground, nor their lenses as perfectly honed as the professional machines that cost dozens of thousands of dollars.

There's also a resolution limitation here. More mirrors will get you higher resolutions, with about half as many mirrors needed as pixels in the original image. If you want a 4K image, you need about 2,073,600 mirrors, which are hard to fit in a portable projector. This is one of the reasons that most portable projectors limit you to a 1920x1080 resolution or less.

A Picture Quality Is Only Worth 1000 Words

If we were merely talking about projectors here, we could go on at length about the nuanced differences between laser projection and traditional DLP or LCD projection, but let's just say this: laser is technically superior, but not at these price points, where DLP and LCD are the champs.

We could also get into a whole world of features like upscaling, bulb life, color recreation, ease of installation, etc. But there is only one true feature that you must take into account before all others when considering a portable projector: portability.

It seems silly to have to say so, but a solid third of the projectors on our list ought to have you tilting your head inquisitively at the notion that these particular models are actually that portable. They're certainly advertised as such, and compared to some of the behemoth projectors in the world they are, indeed, much more portable.

Still, I think a portable projector is only as good as how far away you can take it. That means the smaller the body and the longer the battery life, the better.

This, like most things technological, does come with a caveat. The absolute smallest projectors on our list do not have the best image quality. Our top projectors do, but they are slightly larger than the most portable among the lot. The best image quality is going to come to you from the projectors on our list who use the term 'portable' with a distinct sense of poetry.

If this is going to be your one and only projector, and you only need it to be portable enough to take across town without having to remove a portion of your ceiling, then you might be best served by a unit with great resolution and a bigger body. If you're trying to project educational videos onto cave walls in Altamira like some anachronistic social studies teacher, more portable might be best.

Projection From The Distant Past

The history of the projector is a history of the movies. It's a history rich with the buttery smell of fresh popcorn, the hush of a darkening theater, and the unveiling of hidden worlds to hungry, curious minds.

You can, if you so chose, reach back to the camera obscura of the 5th century BCE for its true origins in the writings of the Chinese philosopher Mozi. Aristotle wrote of it a hundred years later, and Leonardo DaVinci published what may be the most elucidating account of it in 1502.

Basically, a camera obscura is a large box, or even a room, with a tiny hole in it. Light comes in through the hole and hits a reflective surface, bouncing a portion of the scene outside the room onto a surface within. While the dimensions of projection have changed, we're still sending light through tiny spaces, bouncing it off of mirrors, and projecting it against a surface.

The projectors on our list, however, are movie projectors first and foremost. And movie projectors operate at a specific frame rate that satisfies the human visual system's expectation for natural movement while essentially showing you a sequence of still images. One of the reasons old silent films look strange is that they use higher frame rates, making everything seem like it's going a little too fast to be natural.

The earliest projectors in the era of the moving photographic image were hand-cranked, so the frame rate was inconsistent. Over time, the industry calibrated everything to work at the same frame rate, and the standard 24 frames per second of these and all other projectors was born.



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Last updated on February 08, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


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