Tech News: Projectors in Smallville

Take it on the run. Take it on a plane. Slip it under your arm. Portable projectors have reached sub three-pound weights, but still carry the payload of larger units. Read on to learn more about these mini-marvel projectors.

Slim and Trim

Panasonic Pico Portable

Former lightweight projectors called “micro-portable” usually ranged between 4-6 lbs. And newer sub-4 pound projectors are often referred to as “pico” portable. Both pico and micro-portable projectors are acceptable to most traveling presenters, but smaller is generally preferred, as long as the performance meets user expectations.

Performance concerns can include brightness, fan noise, and feature sets.

    Average Brightness
  • Micro-Portables: 1500 – 3200 lumens
  • Pico Portables: 1400-2000 lumens
  • Pocket Projectors: 20-25 lumens


  • Typical Resolutions
  • Micro-Portables: SVGA, XGA, WXGA
  • Pico Portables: SVGA and XGA
  • Pocket Projectors: SVGA


  • Average Prices
  • Micro-Portables: $599 – $1999
  • Pico Portables: $799 – $1499
  • Pocket Projectors: $499 – $699

Cool Features on Select Pico-Portables

Smaller projectors often have to sacrifice popular features to keep the chassis as small as possible. You might lose lens shift or some of your connectivity options. Luckily, for most presenters, lens shift is not needed and only one connection type is really necessary.

  • Auto on and direct power off
  • Keystone correction
  • SD Card or USB slots for computerless presentations
  • HDTV compatibility

[All features listed are available on the Panasonic PT-P1SDU pico projector]

Pocket Projectors

You may have heard some recent buzz over “pocket” projectors. These are also very small projectors, but they utilize a different lamp technology known as LED. These projectors are handy in that they can be powered using a battery, which means it is possible to have true totally “wireless” capability. LED projectors also offer longer lamp life, upwards of 20,000 hours.

However, the pocket projectors are not nearly as bright as the pico or micro-portable category. That means they are better for very low light applications on small screens (not larger than 40-inches). This eliminates the pocket variety from the short lists of many professional presenters.

USB and SD Card slots

When USB slots were first introduced as options on computer projectors, traveling presenters were hopeful that they might remove some of the travel bulk burden many experienced. However, smaller storage capacities meant file size limitations, which prevented use with longer/larger presentations. But with larger memories available on USB drives, and the emergence of SD card slots, computerless presentations are more flexible than ever before. They are a hot commodity for traveling presenters.



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