Picture this: It’s game-day and you’re hosting the boys for the afternoon. You’ve got the craft brewskis chilling and the cheese dip ready. But instead of viewing the big game on just another flat screen TV, you’re about to impress your pals with the prowess of a Pico projector. What, you ask? Pico projectors, also known as handheld or pocket projectors, are the latest craze to hit the tech world. And with good reason: They’re light, compact, and connect to your tablet, phone, or computer to project crisp, crystal-clear quality picture to any wall (or ceiling!) in your man cave. Whether you’re considering buying one for yourself to have the movie theater experience from the comfort of your couch, or as a holiday gift, read on for four solid performers.
1. Celluon PicoPro, $318
Best for Android and Windows users (you can connect wirelessly via Miracast or DLNA), this HD projector is as sleek and compact as it is functional. With a lengthy battery life, it also boasts a built-in speaker and laser projection technology to deliver first-rate brightness and image quality. Did we mention it’s always in-focus (you won’t need that archaic focus wheel) and ships complete with a holding mount, MHL cable, Samsung adapter, and carrying pouch?
To see what it’s like to have a cinematic experience at your fingertips, check out this video. The image size is over 200 inches in optimal lighting, and there’s practically no internal sound coming from the system (like you might experience with some models); trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
2. ZTE Spro 2 Smart Projector, $399.99
This multi-purpose device not only projects stunning picture but has 4G LTE network connectivity, a built-in battery, and even a Wi-Fi hotspot to share. Powered by Android, calling the ZTE Spro 2 just a projector is an understatement. It lets you access content that’s on the Web, the cloud, or on other devices with its secure Internet access for up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices and a 5-inch HD touchscreen to make navigation a cinch. (Want to see it in action? Check out video overviews of the device here).
If you’re using this for work purposes (big presentations on deck, fellas?) opt for expanded storage (sold separately), to make for an even smoother sharing experience. The ZTE Spro 2 also supports Miracast’s wireless technology and provides USB and HDMI ports for content projection. (It also comes with an HDMI cable, as well as a 2-piece charger and carrying case.)
3. AAXA P300 Pico/Micro LED Projector, $419
15,000-hour LED Life? Check. WXGA 1280-by-800 resolution? Check. HDMI? Check. You’ll be raring to go for some Sunday night football or Master of None Netflix binge watching with this handy, powerful Pico projector. Vibrant, crisp picture will dazzle you and your co-viewers as this gadget projects images up to 120 inches (in low-light conditions) and proves ideal for a night of gaming or simply using it to convert your living room into a home theater.
It comes with a tripod, composite A/V cable, wall charger, infrared remote control, and VGA adapter cable to make setup simple, but we also recommend buying an extra AAXA P300 battery (one is included) that lasts more than 60 minutes on a single charge. You can buy a refurbished model for $339.
4. PowerLite 1761W WXGA 3LCD Projector, $699.99
This gem of a Pico projector doesn’t come cheap but is well worth the investment. Clocking in at under four pounds, this ultra-slim machine features automatic vertical keystone correction to create a perfect rectangular image (watch a video of that here). In addition to HDMI and wireless connectivity, it also offers USB plug ‘n’ play, which allows you to get movies streaming instantly from your laptop (PC and Mac both work). Bonus: This ultra-thin projector is also equipped with a long life lamp that lasts up to 4,000 hours (yes, you read that right) — so expect top-notch wireless performance along with high quality output.
With high-def 1280-by-800 widescreen resolution, you’ll be able to soak in every last pixel of majestic cinematic glory, and widescreen capability allows you to watch a movie exactly how it was intended to be viewed. You’ll get a power cable, VGA cable, remote control with batteries, USB cable, and soft carrying case with your purchase along with a two-year limited warranty.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, what’s screening for movie night?
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