10 Best Portable Projectors | March 2017

We spent 30 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Get giant sized gaming, movies or business presentations in a mini, fit-in-your-pocket package. We have ranked the ten best portable projectors based on ease of connection, quality of images, value for money and maximum display size. Skip to the best portable projector on Amazon.
10 Best Portable Projectors | March 2017


Overall Rank: 6
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 8
Best High-End
★★★
Overall Rank: 2
Best Inexpensive
★★★★★
10
The UO Smart Beam Laser has a convenient auto focus feature, making it easier to get setup and viewing. It delivers a native 720p resolution and produces crisp images, though the integrated speakers have poor sound quality.
9
The LG Electronics PH300 gets over 2 hours of viewing time from its rechargeable battery, has super accurate color recreations, and an integrated TV tuner, giving it some versatility. Unfortunately, it can be a pain to lug around, as it weighs 5 pounds.
8
What the Epson PowerLite 1751 lacks in portability it more than makes up for in power. It displays exceptionally vivid colors, even if the room is not entirely dark, offers simple plug-and-play operation, and produces 2,600 lumens of white light output.
7
The Philips PPX4010 is one of the better choices for those who need a really large display. It's capable of creating a 120-inch image with very little loss in quality, doesn't require any warm-up time to get started, and is powered via a USB port for added convenience.
  • weighs less than 3 ounces
  • no keystone adjustment
  • not suitable for use in bright rooms
Brand Philips
Model PPX4010
Weight 9.6 ounces
6
The Dell M115HD has an LED bulb life of up to 30,000 hours, so there is no worry of the bulb burning out. The addition of built-in speakers, multiple connection options, and 1 GB of internal memory make it a good choice for mobile professionals.
  • multiple add-ons available
  • integrated headphone jack
  • 10000-1 typical contrast ratio
Brand Dell
Model 58V6Y
Weight 3.4 pounds
5
The AAXA KP-101-01 is everything you want in a portable projector. It's small and lightweight, with vibrant colors and multiple connection options. Buyers just need to be realistic about what they can get for such a low price and not expect anything too bright or powerful.
  • compatible with pcs and macs
  • plug 'n' play instant setup via usb
  • best for projections under 45 inches
Brand AAXA Technologies
Model KP-101-01
Weight 10.4 ounces
4
The ASUS S1 has a best-in-class throw ratio and a palm-sized design in a sleek, yet durable, aluminum chassis. It can create a 41" diagonal image when placed just 3 feet from a wall and, as an added bonus, it can be used to charge any USB powered device from its battery.
  • up to 100-inch display
  • extra long led life
  • instant on-off capability
Brand Asus
Model S1
Weight 2.9 pounds
3
The Optoma ML comes in 2 lumen output options, ranging from 500 to 700, and it supports 3D videos for fully immersive experiences. It weighs less than a pound and comes with a handy carry bag for taking it on the go, plus it's easy to adjust the keystone via remote.
  • small enough to fit in your palm
  • vga and hdmi connection ports
  • native wxga resolution
Brand Optoma
Model ML550
Weight 2.4 pounds
2
The RIF6 CUBE is a good choice for those who need a projector small enough to fit in their pocket. It is equipped with its own speaker and SD card reader for use without any additional equipment, plus it accepts signals through HDMI and MHL connections.
  • durable casing can withstand drops
  • can be used while charging
  • includes a convenient remote control
Brand RIF6
Model RF00040
Weight 2.3 pounds
1
The AAXA P300 is bright enough for both dark and light rooms and is easier to position for a large and crisp image than most of its competitors. Its vivid colors and high contrast ratio produce vibrant screen images and make presentations easy to read.
  • extremely short throw distance
  • optional battery available
  • includes a mini tripod
Brand AAXA Technologies
Model KP-600-01
Weight 2.3 pounds

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: 03/26/2017 | Authorship Information

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