In the past, you would never have heard about Pico projectors. But today, it is one of the most popular projector types. The question is, what is a Pico projector? Things to consider before buying and everything you know – find out in the rest of this article.
What is a Pico Projector?
A Pico projector is a small, portable projector you can easily carry with you – in your pocket or bag. It’s aptly called a mini projector as it has reduced size and weight compared to ordinary projectors. Since it is portable, it comes battery-operated, so you can use it even when you don’t have an available electrical outlet.
Pico projectors are made so you can project and watch content from your laptop or phone wherever you are. It even allows you to play video files from SD or USB storage, making it the best portable projector. This flexibility makes this type of projector super popular.
As you probably already know, standard projectors are bigger and more expensive. They take up more space and likely only stuck where you put it since it is comparatively heavier. Pico projectors are the opposite – they are so small they can fit in your pocket.
How Does a Pico Projector Work?
You can divide the projector market between Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Digital Light Processing (DLP) models. But then the Pico projector comes into play to increase the competition. This inexpensive mini projector uses two leading technologies – LED and DLP.
Pico projectors combine color wheels and mirrors to generate an image, which it then projects through a bulb. The difference with ordinary projectors is that a Pico first generates the image on the liquid crystal display inside it. It will then beam the image out using an LED light source.
It is the LED technologies used in Pico projectors that make it a bit cheaper. At the same time, this type of projector is more power-efficient and thus less bright. These technologies are the reason you can have such a cost-effective and practical projector. But there is more to Pico projectors than that.
How do you get whatever you want to be projected on the screen? It has to do with the connectors you can use with Pico projectors. What’s great about this projector is you have a lot of options – from AV cords to SD cards. Some of them have inputs to use AV cords to hook it up with a DVD player or something similar.
But they also have more modern options like HDMI, Wi-Fi streaming, screen mirroring, USB, and on-board storage like an SD card. But not all Pico projectors have them, and if they did, some would be useless anyway. After all, you will probably only use one or two of them.
That is why you must know which method or type of connection you will use before you shop for a Pico projector. If you plan to use it with your smartphone or laptop, you want one with HDMI, Wi-Fi, or screen-mirroring function. Having a USB or SD card function is useful as well.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Pico Projector
As with other projectors, a Pico projector has its set of benefits and drawbacks. Knowing what they are is essential to see if this projector is your cup of tea. Check out the pros and cons below and decide if a Pico projector is the right solution to you.
- Super Portable
As mentioned, Pico projectors are small and lightweight. You can take it with you anywhere and project whatever is on your phone, laptop, or even a USB flash drive.
Pico projectors are much more inexpensive than standard projectors. Of course, you get what you pay for, so make sure you read reviews before you click checkout.
- Many Connection Options
Like what was said before, you can connect a Pico projector in various ways. That means it is not going to be too difficult to use it for projecting any video file.
- Low Brightness
Pico projectors do not have traditional bulbs but use LED or DLP technology, in which the brightness needs power to function. The brightness is also likely to be set low because the projector uses a battery.
- Low Quality
Not that all Pico projectors are of low quality, but some of them are. The super low-priced are particularly problematic, which might entice some of you. If the price is too good to be true, it is safe to say that it is.
- Incompatible or Unsupported Apps
Many Pico projectors come with their in-house apps for screen-mirroring. Some of them are not really compatible or supported. It gets frustrating to use projectors like this, especially when you cannot use other apps or connection method.
Pico Projector Uses
What can you use a Pico projector? You can use it in plenty of ways, such as:
You can use a Pico projector for personal use without worry. Whether it is to watch your favorite film, play a game on a bigger screen, or even take a video call, this mini projector will do just fine.
- Smartphone use
Here you can see how to connect a mini projector to your smartphone.
Pico projectors are more practical than the standard ones. That makes them perfect office equipment and for professional use. Since it is small and lightweight, you can easily install it and use it when doing presentations. For teachers, the portability means bringing it around is never a problem.
Things to Consider Before You Buy a Pico Projector
There are essentially three main points to keep in mind when you look for a Pico projector. These are brightness, image quality, and portability. These will affect how functional and practical your choice of Pico projector is.
Single-panel LCD projectors like Pico projectors are limited when it comes to temperature and brightness. The best real brightness they can produce is around 200 to 300 lumens. However, many products advertise theirs to be roughly 2000 to 3000, which you cannot actually test if you bought them online. So, remember this – don’t be fooled and manage your expectations.
The imaging elements, light source, and other optical elements make the image quality of a projector. With Pico projectors, they use low-cost display panels and simplified optical mechanics to keep the price low. As a result, it has uneven lighting that causes a clear image in the center, but hazy at the edges. It’s the reality of Pico projectors that you must accept.
One of the biggest selling points of Pico projectors is portability. However, it can also be a problem when it comes to the quality of the image. The issue arises mostly from the use of smartphone LCDs for the main imaging component. With LCD, there is a lot of adjusting for an entire image to shine on the LCD panel. There is also a big size difference with the DMDs used in DLP Pico projectors. All these make DLP Pico projectors better in terms of portability.
Other Things to Consider
Besides the three mentions, you’ll also want to think about these things when you shop around:
There are numerous connections that a Pico projector may have. Like what was mentioned before, make sure to think about what you will need. Not all Pico projectors have them, and you won’t be using them all anyway.
Here are your choices:
- Wireless – Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
- Video-Input – VGA, Composite, and HDMI
- Memory – Memory Card and USB Input
Pico projectors are not your standard size. Its size will depend on the technology it uses, so keep that in mind. The smaller models usually start at 8 x 8 x 3 (L x W x H) up to 16 x 10 x 5.
Mini projectors are lightweight. They can be as light as 300 grams up to 600 grams or sometimes 1 kilogram. The weight is also determined by the technology the projector uses.
If you need a projector with excellent mobility, Pico projectors are what you need. They often come with an internal battery, so you don’t need to bother with cables or looking for an electrical outlet. Make sure to verify how long the battery can last.
Most Pico projectors have small internal speakers, but they are not really good. Therefore, it is not a significant consideration or just something you can only expect. Instead, it would be best if you complement it with a good sound system.
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Although the quality of this mini projector is not as good as a standard one, its portability really makes up for it. You simply cannot resist the practicality of a Pico projector.