The 10 Best Portable Projectors

Updated May 10, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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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. Magnasonic PP72

The Magnasonic PP72 comes in four configurations, ranging from 25 to 100 lumens and from 60- to 100-inch display sizes. All of the different models feature integrated speakers as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening.
  • connect to all hdmi devices
  • include a small tripod
  • must be used in a very dim room
Brand Magnasonic
Model PP71
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. GooDee GP90

The GooDee GP90 is only just small enough to be considered for travel, and it doesn't have any kind of internal power supply, so you'll have to plug it in for it to work. Its image quality, though, is rather impressive, and it comes in at a budget-friendly price.
  • projects up to 180 inches
  • very bright at 3200 lumens
  • not the easiest to focus
Brand GooDee
Model GP90
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Laser Beam Pro C200

Because the Laser Beam Pro C200 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 4k input
  • connects up to 7 bluetooth devices
  • navigation is somewhat frustrating
Brand Laser Beam Pro
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Aaxa KP-101-01

The Aaxa KP-101-01 is compact, affordable, and offers a lot of connectivity options, including mini-HDMI and A/V composite. It also comes with a microSD card slot and a USB jack, so you should never run out of ways to watch movies.
  • weighs less than five ounces
  • charges via a micro usb plug
  • capable only of a 60-inch image
Brand AAXA Technologies
Model KP-101-01
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Tenker Mini Cube

Given the complexity of its production, DPL technology is rarely deployed in these smaller models, but the Tenker Mini Cube includes it at a very reasonable price. The LEDs backing that projection should provide up to 30,000 hours of use.
  • linux operating system
  • supports airplay and miracast
  • charge doesn't last a full movie
Model PJ0759
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Toumei Mini Pico C800i

The Toumei Mini Pico C800i can project an HD image 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 will need to be updated once you set it up.
  • eight gigabytes of internal memory
  • built-in wi-fi connectivity
  • automatic keystone correction
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
  • impressive 150-inch projection
  • small enough to fit on your palm
Model LB-UH6CB
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Aaxa P300

The Aaxa P300 is one of the brightest models available, allowing you to watch movies or give presentations even when there is still a lot of ambient light in the room. It features a high contrast ratio, and the integrated speakers are adequate for small spaces.
  • requires minimal throw distance
  • battery is replaceable
  • twenty-thousand-hour lamp life
Brand AAXA Technologies
Model KP-600-01
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Elephas Pro S1

The Elephas Pro S1 is small enough to fit in a pocket, yet capable of creating a 130-inch image on a wall or screen. Just as suitable for home use as on-the-go fun, it is lightweight and comes with a long-lasting 5,200mAh battery.
  • vibrant color representation
  • supports 1080p video
  • simple to focus
Model ELE-PRO-S1
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Anker Nebula Capsule

The Anker Nebula Capsule features a powerful 360-degree speaker and runs Android 7.1. You can use it to stream media directly over your WiFi connection without having to worry about connecting an external device or inserting a memory card.
  • roughly the size of a soda can
  • impressive image clarity
  • runs for four hours per charge
Brand Anker
Model AK-848061056983
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 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 May 10, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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