A pico projector, also known as a handheld or pocket projector, is an extra small micro projector that you can put in your pocket. It’s usually as big as your average smartphone or cellphone as well as a remote control. It’s the most mobile projector you can get your hands on. With that said, did you know that you can use a pico projector for cake decorating? This guide specifically tells you which projectors are best suited for decorating cookies in particular, if you’re a confectionary baker or a fan of such a hobby.
Sure, you’ve heard of 3D printing food and confectionaries before but have you ever seen of cake decorations made with the help of small projections through a pocket-sized projector? They do exist and here they are now. Keep on reading to find out more about them.
See more: What is a Smart Projector? Why Do You Need a Smart Projector?
How Can You Do Cake Decoration with Projectors?
How can you do cake, cookie, and confectionery decoration with projectors in the first place? The projector basically serves as your guide so that you can trace the design unto the cake or cookie. A pico projector is best suited for your decoration job mainly because of its size and how you can miniaturize the image by fixing throw distance.
- Pocket Size Revolution: As far as the world of projectors is concerned, the existence of pico projectors is a new thing. Only 5 years ago, no one was familiar with pico projectors. However, nowadays they’ve become one of the most in-demand projector types around. They’re particularly dependable either as short-throw projectors you can bring with you for roaming presentations or camping entertainment as well as guides for designing confectionaries like cookies, brownies, and cakes.
- How Are Pico Projectors Different from Normal Projectors? Pico projectors are pocket-sized versus “normal” or “standard” projectors that are about the size of a printer, cooler, game console, or small lunchbox. With the difference in size comes several perks, chief among them portability and convenience. They’re battery-operated projectors, but the batteries used aren’t AA but rather their own battery you should charge a la what you use for your smartphone.
- But What About Confectionery Projection? A pocket-sized projector is capable of projecting even 4K Ultra HD quality movies, TV shows, and photos by being short-throw projectors or short-range. At a small distance, you can project content from your laptop or phone directly to a huge screen. However, in the case of a pico projector, you can adjust the zoom and the throw distance to perfectly project design on something as small as a cookie.
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The 5 Best Projectors for Cookies
Here are the 5 best projectors for cookies and cake decorating we’ve scoured across the Internet based on their customer review ratings and our own experience with them when we tried them out for ourselves.
#05 AAXA LED Pico Micro Video Projector
The AAXA Pico Micro Video Projector is a worthwhile cookie decoration projection guide because it comes with 15,000-hour LEDs with vibrant color technology, a native resolution of 1280 x 720 (720p) that can blow up to a maximum 1080p resolution, and ultra-bright (for its size) 25 lumens. Its portability is not in question, which makes it easier to lug around or place on the right mount as you use its projection to trace out letters and designs perfectly with your confectionery pen and paint.
Meanwhile, its lithium-ion battery is rechargeable and can be charged through the micro USB cable that comes with the package. Although it doesn’t exactly help with your cake and cookie decorating, the unit does come with built-in speakers. Maybe you can play music while doing your decorating with the mini-HDMI and 16:9 compatible pico projector. It even works with A/V connections for composite and has a 3.5 mm aux audio out for good measure. You can also use its USB readers for media playback of sizes up to 16 gigabytes as well as SD cards.
Most importantly, it’s PC-compatible. Why is it important? PCs are where you’ll be getting your designs. The intricate details of the design will also be edited through your PC using a Photo Editing program. If you’re an artist and an artisan, you want to have access to all that through direct contact from PC to projector. You might even get to do real-time edits while you’re at it. The USB plug & play setup also helps in that you can plug-and-play any type of picture and photo as well as text font you want to trace unto your cookie or confectionary delight.
Just be warned that the personal media sharing pico projector has its limits. For example, it doesn’t work well with ambient light compared to its larger counterparts. Additionally, while it’s easy to setup with your Apple Mac and other PC types, you want to be able to adjust it if it’s a short-throw projector so that the projection on your cookie is just the right size when push comes to shove. That 720p pixels of HD projection is more than enough to produce a convincingly contoured and detailed design, but you need to be able to resize it exactly to the proportions of your cookie.
#04 AAXA P3-X Pico Projector with 120 Minutes Battery Life
This other offering by AAXA is all about the 120-minute lithium-ion battery life. How does this impact your cookie design? You want a pocket projector that lasts a long time, and most of them are notoriously short-lived due to the demands of being bright enough to create those vivid images in the first place. With the AAXA, you’ll get Texas Instruments tier DLP technology at a native WVGA resolution and 1080p maximum output. Long story short, it has everything you need to get the crispest and clearest image possible for a pico.
Its optical engine offers 85 lumens of brightness with vibrant color technology to make the colors as deep and recognizable as possible in the right low-light conditions. What this means is that it’s much brighter than the previous entry of pico projector even though it’s not exactly the type of projector you’d use outdoors in daylight or with any ambient lights around. Thankfully, in the world of confectionery decoration, turning off or down the lights and pulling the curtains won’t mess up your attempts at designing your cookies with the right balance of colorful lettering and drawings using frosting.
You can even play some tunes with this Apple-compatible and PC-compatible projector that ahs 20,000 hours of premium LED action. It will last you years depending on how much you use it. The LEDs ensure that lamp replacement is a distant concern for sure. Like its counterpart above, the AAXA P3-X Pico Projector also features multiple connection options such as mini HDM, 3.5 mm Aux Out (for earphones, headphones, and speakers), a built-in speaker in case you want to hear tunes while working, composite A/V, Micro SD, and USB readers.
The last two options are relevant to your needs. Just in case you don’t want to bother connecting this pico projector to your notebook or desktop PC to save some cookie decoration designs on it, you can instead access the said designs through storage media like USB flash drives and SD cards instead. Meanwhile, the onboard media player of the device allows you to read those HD photographs, pictures, drawings, logos, text, fonts, and other design elements with ease. Of course, once you’re done working with the lightweight and portable projector, you can also use it later for entertainment purposes.
#03 Cocar Mini Projector C800S
The mini projector known as Cocar offers benefits such as Miracast and Airplay compatibility for wireless operation, a built-in battery, a DLP configuration, and the ability to work with any Android device since it’s a smart projector that also runs on the OS. Mirroring is its main claim to fame, such that you can mirror the screen of your Netflix show on HDTV or the graphic design you’re supposed to trace or build unto your confectionary delight. Cookie design and decoration have become so much easier now that you can trace the design you’ve downloaded or made through your laptop or Android device.
While the previous entry boasts of the ability to read files on storage media, this projector goes a step further and features the ability to mirror the display of your laptop or Android handheld device. This then allows you to directly make designs, adjust them after the fact, switch fonts, change or crop pictures, and do many other handy adjustments in real time. That way, as a confectionary artisan, you won’t be the one doing the adjusting with your frosting placement in case the letters are too big or the picture is too small. You can adjust everything yourself on your PC.
The device runs on Android 7.1 and supports 1080p videos for movies and TV shows. It’s also capable of projecting HD designs and logos that you can shrink properly unto a blank cookie canvas to serve as your guide to your frosted design on the confectionary. It also works with USB, Wi-Fi, and HDMI remote for good measure. Again, the external speaker works great to give you tunes while you work on your cookie or cake designs. Music is relaxing to the soul and works excellently in helping you concentrate. At least, that’s what we used it for.
You can use the projector to watch Amazon Prime or Netflix in between cookie decoration breaks. Meanwhile, as you go about using it yourself, you’ll be quick to see how advantageous this projector is. It’s capable of blowing up its image to fit a 100-inch or more screen, so you’re assured of amazing detail when projecting your smaller design on a cookie or cake. It’s truly HD in every way. Give it a try. You’ll be glad that you did so. Its only drawbacks include certain apps not working well with it, the touch wheel is a bit too sensitive, and reports of the device dying in only a few weeks.
#02 Mini Projector WOWOTO
Here’s another cool cookie projection device you can use. Funnily enough, it also has a speaker attached to it for mobile movie viewing purposes or for playing music as you worked your magic on the cookie you’re putting frosting on. To be honest, there’s actually no pico projector exclusively made for the sake of designing and decorating confectionaries. The main thing you need to look for is a pico projector with a decent amount of brightness so that you can clearly trace the design guide, resulting in a consistent decoration in every batch of cookies or even every single cookie you make.
The WOWOTO Mini Projector boasts of small size and powerful performance, which is just what you need when doing cake decorating. It’s about the size of your palm and it’s lightweight so you won’t have to struggle mounting or placing it just rights you project your design on about the same size of cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cakes, and so forth. In terms of specs, it supports full 1080p HD at 1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution and it even comes with a favorable 2000:1 contrast ratio, which is what you need when projecting letters without them becoming blurred out into oblivion.
This 75 to 100 ANSI projector won our hearts not only because it doubles as a camping projector you can take with you and hook up to a Nintendo Switch for endless gaming entertainment. It fulfills the main purpose of cake decoration with its adjustable projection size. In the other previous cookie design projector entries, we had to move the projectors around to get the proper image size. In contrast, this 2.1-inch pocket projector can bring up or down its image size through settings and zooms. It has a 0.3 to 2-meter throw distance and up to 150 inches of projection size.
This particular mini projector wins out because of its decent amount of brightness in a low-light setting and its ability to use Bluetooth to connect to various peripherals, such as a smartphone you can use to send it to your cookie design. It also passes the cookie test by being able to adjust its projection size to fit your confectionary delight without resulting in a warped, blurred, or otherwise pixilated mess of an image. HD is the best way to go so that you can have more detail on the resulting projection that’s easy to see and easy to trace over with your icing or frosting.
#01 AKASO Mini Projector Portable
Last but not least is the AKASO Mini Projector. The projector has a lot going for it, starting with having 50 ANSI lumens to having the standard 1080p HD resolution that’s a must-have for cookie decoration in light of how small cookies are and how much pixels you need in order to retain detail when the usually huge projection is shrunk down to about the size of a cookie. There are certain projectors that end up with jagged lines or pixilated messes when you shrink their projection to that size. This wasn’t the case with AKASO.
Even though we mentioned earlier that no projector was made to specifically help with cookie decoration, the AKASO projector was seemingly made for this purpose. Like the AAXA series of projectors, it comes with its own built-in rechargeable battery as well as stereo speakers fortunes as you work. You can also use them to watch movies with when you’re on a break from your pastry and confectionary work. It’s quite the portable movie projector indeed that includes Bluetooth connectivity to allow you to watch Netflix in between decorating multiple batches of cookies.
The fact that it’s lightweight and compact allows it to be versatile enough to be placed anywhere that makes you comfortable when working on your confectionary designs. This is no different a benefit as the rest of the pico projectors here, but this device is particularly smartphone-like in its compactness. It can also be used for entertaining yourself with movies or for small meetings and gatherings where you have to do presentations and whatnot. Like the Cocar projector, it can also do multi-screen sharing and has multiple means of external connectivity (from AV to USB, HDMI to Micro SD).
In terms of detriments, AKASO has unfortunately left some bakers and cake designers dissatisfied with its performance. At least one customer complained about how the projector broke down on him. He only used the device every 3 weeks for around half an hour at a time, but it ended up flashing yellow and green before failing with the sound of sizzling inside it. Fortunately, such a review is in the minority so the device he received must’ve been defect. Also, it has a 12-month warranty and it worked great as a cookie decoration guide before its hardware failure.
How To Decorate Cookies Using A Projector
In a Nutshell
Compared to mid-sized or large projectors, pico projectors are quite affordable or at least reasonably priced. They’re also the ideal projectors size-wise to do projections on a cookie or a cake in light of their size. It’s awkward to mount or grab hold of a standard-sized projector in order to project the design on the confectionary for tracing and guidance purposes. There are also quite a number of projectors of this type to choose from that won’t break the bank when push comes to shove. You can even download designs and pictures made specifically for cookie design guide purposes off of the Worldwide Web.
- Jonah Matthes, “What is a Pico Projector? Everything You Need To Know!“, Home Theater DIY, October 6, 2019
- “How To Decorate Cookies Using A Projector“, YouTube, November 19, 2018