A few years back, the idea of having a portable projector that you can carry in your pocket or bag and project video and data anywhere you go was nothing more than wishful thinking. Today, projectors come in different sizes with the portable models gaining a lot of recognition and acceptance on the market. So, if you are looking for a portable projector that you can carry with you anywhere you go to submit presentations, share photos, or enjoy movies with your family and friends on the go, then your best bet is to go for a Pico projector.
But what are the best Pico projectors available on the market today? How can you identify the good ones from the not so good ones from a ton of variety out there? In this post, we will highlight our favorite models and help you sort out their differences. We will also show you some important factors to look out for when shopping for the best Pico projector. Now, let’s get started.
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How to Choose the Best Pico Projectors in 2021
With a slew of consumer products on the market these days, selecting the best Pico projector can be a challenge. But when you are equipped with the right information, selecting the right one for you will be a walk in the park. Some of the things you should consider when selecting the best Pico projector for you include:
The projector technology used
Currently, Pico projector with different types of technology. The projector technologies that are commonly used today include:
DLP: Most Pico projectors make use of the Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology to display images. This technology works by directing light from a LED source with the use of tiny mirrors on a chip. The advantage of this technology is that it:
- Allows for compact and lightweight projectors
- Has high color contrast
- Delivers smooth motion for fast-action scenes and videos
- Truer and deeper blacks than projectors with LCD technology
- Their premium models with 3-chip DLP delivers higher picture quality
LCD: This type of projector uses the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology to project images. The advantages of using this technology include:
- Slightly quieter than projectors with DLP technology
- Consumes less energy than their DLP brothers
- Delivers vivacious 3D images without image ghosting
- Delivers sharper images
- Brighter images and color (better performance in well-lit rooms)
LCoS: Projectors with Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) technology combines the benefit of both LCD and DLP projectors, which includes impressive color saturation, smooth video, and bright display. The technology works by filtering the light produced by a LED source using a tiny LCD or 3 chip LCD panels, and this technology is mostly available on high-end projectors.
Laser-LCoS: This technology works like the LCoS technology above, only that the light source it uses is a laser. Laser beams are bright, efficient, and always in focus, but it suffers from speckle, which is the glittery metallic-like dots that can be seen all over a projected image.
Laser Beam Steering: This projector technology is new; it makes use of tiny mirrors to direct the beam of light from a laser source. This technology also has the “speckle” effect since its light source is a laser.
Another important aspect you need to consider is the type of input supported by a Pico projector. Pico projectors can connect to different devices like laptops, cameras, DVD players, mobile phones, etc. and get video signals. It is better to go for a Pico projector that has a higher number of inputs to ensure that your projector will support quite a number of devices.
The most common Pico projector inputs include VGA (laptop), RCA (A/V), and composite. Some Pico projectors even come with Wi-Fi, HDMI, and special iPod/iPhone connectors. However, you need to consider the devices you have and those you’re more likely to use before you select a projector.
Some Pico projectors can only work via a USB connection which serves as their power source as well as their signal or data input. They usually have no other inputs and internal battery and are sometimes called the USB Projectors.
USB projectors are usually cheap and extremely small in size, so if you want to project images or videos from your tablet or laptop, this projectors can be a great solution. Keep in mind that some USB projectors may not work with your OS or may require two USB connection (one for data and the other for power). So, make sure you check if it can meet your needs before you select a model.
Internal memory or cable?
Finding a good place to put a Pico projector so it can project pictures or videos from where you want them to can be a challenge due to its small size. Selecting a model that can connect to other gadgets using cables is good, but the cables can get messy, and this will compound the issues.
Some Pico projectors come with internal memory or support micro SD cards to store and play contents without having to connect them to another device. Some can handle office documents as well as videos and images and can even be connected to other gadgets; you can consider these models as they are more versatile than the models that only support cable connections.
Pico projectors are small and light in weight (usually between 150 to 250 grams). Some models are even lighter and weigh less than 100 grams, but they do not come with a battery, so you’ll have to power them using a USB cord.
You don’t want a Pico projector that will run out of battery juice within a few minutes of operation, long before you complete a presentation or finish watching a movie. That is why you should pay attention to the battery life of the Pico projectors before you select a model. Most Pico projectors offer about one hour of operation on a full charge which may not suffice for watching a full movie.
However, some models have a good battery life, and some can allow you to use external batteries. So, you can consider going for these models if long battery life is important to you.
The price is arguably the most decisive factor to consider when shopping for the best Pico projector. The cheapest model falls around $150 while the high-end models with more sophisticated features go as high as $600 or more, so you’ll get what you paid for.
This another important aspect to consider. The bigger the lamp life of a projector, the longer the projector will serve you. Finally, you should look for a model that is easy to set up and use without requiring any special knowledge to operate. Note: The best way to identify a user-friendly model and get the idea of its features and how durable it is, is to read its review and check its user ratings.
Top 8 Best Pico Projectors of 2021 Reviews
|1. Mini Projector WOWOTO A5 Pro
|2. APEMAN Mini Projector
|Best budget projector
|3. Nebula Capsule Smart Wi-Fi Mini Projector
|Best for newbies
|4. WOWOTO T8E Mini Projector 4000 Lumens 3D Portable
|Best for business
|5. ELEPHAS DLP 3D Portable
|Best 3D projector
|6. Vamvo Ultra Mini Portable Projector
|Best for traveling
|7. WOWOTO H10 Mini Home Theater Projector
|Best for home theatre
|8. Retrolife D8X Gaming Mini Projectors
1. Mini Projector WOWOTO A5 Pro – Best value
Are you looking for a travel-ready portable projector to enjoy large screen video or gameplay? If yes, then the WOWOTO A5 Pro Pico projector might be all you need. This projector comes with lots of exciting features which made it one of the best-selling Pico projectors on the market today.
This palm size projector has a contrast ratio of 1000:1, and a native resolution of 850 x 480 pixels which can go up to 1920 x 1080 pixel (full HD) to project up to 150-inch large screen for a memorable viewing experience. It has a lamp with a long lifespan of 30,000 hours, supports Bluetooth, and 2.4G and 5G Wi-Fi connectivity and comes with Android 7.1 operating system to run apps and stream media contents flawlessly. It is equipped with a mini tripod and a 2100 mah battery that delivers up to 2 hours of video playtime and supports external Bluetooth speaker, and USB/ HDMI input to game host, laptop, and TV box.
- Full HD projection up to a 150-inch screen
- Long lamp lifespan
- A year warranty and lifetime support
- 16Gb internal storage
- Can run media and streaming apps flawlessly
- Lightweight and easy to use
- The volume of the inbuilt speaker is small
2. APEMAN Mini Projector – Best budget projector
This mini projector from Apeman boasts a lightweight and super compact design that allows you to carry it even in your pocket and take it along with you wherever you go. It comes with an AC charger and a rechargeable 3400mah/3.7V battery that offers up to 2.5 hours of movie on a full charge. That means you can take your projector anywhere and use it without having to plug it in.
The projector offers long lamp life up to 45,000 hours and supports the mini switching interface, HDMI cable and MHL input, which go a long way to improve its versatility. That means that you can connect it to various gadgets such as smartphones, tablet, laptop, camera, PS3/4, DVD, TV box, etc., to enjoy various entertaining resources.
The Apeman Mini Projector has a native resolution of 845 x 480, 100 ANSI lumens, and 1000:1 contrast ratio, and comes with advanced DLP technology which provides a very bright and clear projection. It can deliver a big screen display of 30 to 100 inches within the distance of 1 to 4m to give you a luxurious home theater experience. It also comes with an exclusive cooling feature, a tripod, and a 1-year warranty.
- Comes with DLP technology
- Long lamp life
- Silent operation
- 1-year warranty
- Stereo speakers for perfect video experience
- No Bluetooth supports
- Limited resolution
3. Nebula Capsule Smart Wi-Fi Mini Projector – Best for newbies
If you’re looking for a smart, portable Wi-Fi projector, the Nebula Capsule from Anker is another fantastic option. This projector features a super portable (soda can) design with a seamless aluminum construction that ensures great durability and lightweightness. It features a DLP technology that delivers remarkable contrast, brightness, and clarity so you can enjoy the cinematic experience anytime, anywhere.
The projector delivers a vivid picture up to 100 inches with a native resolution of 845 x 480, and brightness of 100 ANSI lumens for a remarkable big screen game or movie projection. It comes with a powerful 360° Speaker that pumps out the sound in all directions and a user-friendly OS (Android 7.1) for seamless streaming and display of media contents. The projector offers broad connectivity (HDMI, Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi, and Screen Mirroring), a long lamp life of 30,000 hours and comes with a powerful 5200mah battery that will give you up to 4 hours of video playtime and 30 hours of music playback.
- Effective and user-friendly OS
- Attractive and portable soda-can design
- Excellent build quality
- Great remote app
- Good battery life with Quick Charge 3.0
- Limited resolution
4. WOWOTO T8E Mini Projector 4000 Lumens 3D Portable – Best for business
Out of all the projectors we have on our list, the T8E mini projector from WOWOTO is the best Pico projector with the longest battery life. It boasts an inbuilt rechargeable battery of 7800 mah that delivers long video playtime (up to 4 hours). It also spots DLP technology with 3000 lumens, 2000:1, and 1280 x 800 native resolution that can go up to 1920 x 1080 for stunning brightness and image quality.
The T8E comes with Android 4.4 OS and supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, HDMI, USB, Micro SD input and connections which made it compatible with devices IOS and Android devices as well as PC, PS2/3/4, Xbox and many more. Its portable design ensures that you can take it with you anywhere and spot keystone correction feature to automatically adjust and optimize the projected angle up to ±40⁰ for a perfect squared image. Its lamp has a long lifespan of 20,000 hours and can project up to 300-inch large screen; WOWOTO also provides 24 hours technical support and customer services and can be returned for a full refund if you’re dissatisfied with the projector.
- Impressive brightness and image quality
- Easy to use
- Excellent compatibility
- Good battery life
- Wide projection (up to 300 inches)
- 1-year warranty
- Outdated OS
5. ELEPHAS DLP 3D Portable – Best 3D projector
This portable beetle-shaped home theatre projector from ELEPHAS is perhaps the best Pico projector with 3D capability on the market today. The projector comes with advanced DLP technology that delivers a projection size of 10 -100 inches, a contrast ratio of 1000:1, up to a resolution of 1080P, and 2600 lumen for amazing clarity and brightness of your projected images.
The project supports several 3D modes and comes with an in-built speaker and the Auto Keystone function to automatically adjust and optimize the projected angle up to ±40⁰. It is compatible with IOS and Android devices and supports Wi-Fi, HDMI, USB, 3.5 mm Audio and Micro USB connectivity. The inbuilt battery delivers 2 hours of video playtime and can be easily charged by your laptop, power bank and the AC adaptor that comes with it.
- Impressive 3D experience
- Cool and attractive design
- Ease to use
- Lightweight and portable
- Excellent picture quality
- 18 months warranty and lifetime support
- Battery life is short
6. Vamvo Ultra Mini Portable Projector – Best for traveling
Vamvo Ultra-portable projector is another versatile option to consider when shopping for the best Pico projector. This project features a compact and attractive design that allows you to take it along with you and use anywhere you go; this makes it ideal for small gatherings/meetings, business, and classroom environments.
The projector comes with a LED lamp of 1800 lumens and 20,000 hours lifespan that can project the screen of your PC, iPad, iPhone, and Android devices onto a maximum of a 130-inch large screen. It has a native resolution of 800 x 480 pixels and supports up to 1920 x 1080p resolution for a vibrant display and crystal-clear image. It also comes with an in-built speaker, 18-month warranty, a mini tripod, a 5200 mah battery for long video playtime and support HDMI, TF, USB, and Micro SD card.
- Stylish and attractive design
- Ease to use
- Compact and lightweight
- Bright and excellent picture quality
- 18-months warranty and lifetime support
- Noiseless operation
- No wireless connectivity support
7. WOWOTO H10 Mini Home Theater Projector – Best for home theatre
This is another wonderful offering from WOWOTO that spot lots of exciting features, little wonder why it is one of the best-selling mini projectors on the market today. This projector spot advanced DLP technology with 4,500 lumens, which makes it the brightest projector on our list. It has a long-lasting LED lamp (20,000 hours), 2000:1 contrast ratio, a native resolution of 1280 x 800 and supports 4K and 1080p full HD, 3D videos.
The projector projects sharper and brighter images with a huge screen up to 300 inch and supports 3D to 2D conversion. It is easy to set up and carry, thanks to its portable design; it comes with Android 6.0 OS, inbuilt speaker, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, remote control and supports USB, HDMI, and SD card up to 32Gb. This model also has the Keystone Correction feature, and 12 months warranty but does not come with inbuilt battery.
- Support 3D video
- Supports 4K video and up to 300-inch large screen projection
- Bright, sharp, and clear images
- 12-month warranty
- Easy to set up and use
- High contrast ratio
- No battery
- Outdated OS
8. Retrolife D8X Gaming Mini Projectors – Best contrast
The D8X from Retrolife is another wonderful option to consider when it comes to selecting the best Pico projector for large screen gameplay and movie watching experience. It comes with 5LCD lenses with over 30,000 hours lifespan and has a brightness of 200 ANSI lumens. It has a high contrast ratio of 3000:1 and a native resolution of 854 x 480 and can go up to 1920 x 1080 resolution.
The D8X comes with 5000 mah battery to give you long hours of entertainments. The D8X support a wide range of devices, it can project your iPad, iPhone, Android devices, XBOX, PS3/PS4, MacBook, and PC screen into a 200-inch large screen so you can share your favorite media with your family and friends. It supports HDMI, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Micro SD, TF, and USB connectivity and comes with warranty and ±40⁰ offset axis to adjust and optimize the projection for a perfectly square image.
- Long lamp life
- High contrast ratio
- Sharp and clear image
- Noiseless operation
- Easy to set up and use
Pico Projector FAQs
What is a Pico projector?
A Pico projector (also known as mobile, handheld or pocket projector) is a portable device designed for projecting content from mobile devices like camera, smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc. onto a flat surface such as a wall. This type of projector comes with different technology and work in different formats. However, they all have a compact design which makes them a worthy replacement for the conventional bulky models
Who needs a handheld (Pico) projector?
If you want to enjoy large screen game or movie play or project large images on the move, then you’ll need a Pico projector. This projector can be used for presentation or the projection of your mobile device’s screen; this makes it a perfect solution for those who need a portable projector that they can carry with them anywhere they want to enjoy projected contents with their family and friends.
How much image brightness do I need?
Image brightness is a very important specification to check and get right when selecting a Pico projector. You need to consider where you intend to use your projector and the ambient light to determine the level of brightness you need. If you want to use the projector outdoor where ambient light will affect its picture clarity, then going for a bright projector of about 3000 lumens or more would be recommended.
If you plan to only use the projector in the dim or poorly lit environment, then a projector with lower lumens will suffice. However, it is almost impossible to find a projector that is too bright, and if you find one, you can easily adjust the setting to reduce it. But if a projector is too dim, making it brighter will be a challenge so, it is always advisable to go for a brighter model.
A Pico projector will help take your game or movie to a large screen and sharing contents with your friends and family. However, you need to select the right Pico projector, especially one that is designed to meet for indoor and outdoor needs to enjoy the full benefits of owning a Pico projector.
Luckily, this article has revealed some of the best Pico projectors on the market and the features to look out for to select the right one for you. So, consider your options and grab the one that meets your unique needs.