Pocket projectors are all the rage this season. Just imagine projectors of the size of an iPod that can efficiently project pictures and videos on a wall. So, if you are tired of squinting at iPod videos or images on your camera, then these tiny gizmos may just be worth the splurge.
Nikon Coolpix S1000pj
Rs 21,000 (approx)
Nikon’s latest digital camera is more than just a camera. The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj is the world’s first digital camera with a built-in digital projector. Though everything else in the camera is rather standard, the inclusion of the projector makes it one of those wow gadgets.
The 12.1-megapixel S1000pj has a 5x wide-angle zoom lens with Nikon’s VR optical image stabilisation, a 2.7-inch LCD display and a VGA movie mode. The built-in projector can display photos or videos taken with the S1000pj on a wall or other surface at sizes up to 40 inches.
There’s also the regular set of software features like scene selection, D-lighting, red-eye correction and face and smile detection. Nikon has added an edge to its software features by including a skin-softening function, which, during our testing, seemed to take some of the shininess off faces automatically.
While testing on a review unit, the S1000pj camera projected perfectly from a maximum distance of about six-and-half feet (or two metres) and the battery lasted for about an hour with the projector running. So, the projector function can drain out your camera battery.
Considering that the price of the camera is about the same as an ultraportable projector alone, the Coolpix S1000pj seems like a good deal. The camera simply enables sharing photos anytime, anywhere and without actually passing your camera around. You can adjust the focus using the sliding bar on top of the camera and there’s even a stand and remote control bundled for armchair viewing. Just don’t expect the projector’s image quality to match that of the images on a computer. All these impressive features come at a price — just as most first-wave technologies do. The camera will be available in October with a retail tag of Rs 21,000 (approx).
PhoneSuit MiLi Pro
Price: Not available
We also had the opportunity to get our hands on PhoneSuit’s iPhone accessory called MiLi Pro, which is a projector that will work with iPhone 2G, 3G and 3GS as well as the iPod Touch. Besides being a portable video projector, MiLi Pro is also an external speaker system.
So, if you want to share photos, videos, or perhaps a document on your iPhone, you won’t have to hook your device to an external monitor or TV set. The MiLi Pro is an ultra-compact device that has an LCOS, LED-driven micro-projector rendering image displays of up to 640x480 resolution on any viewing surface. Not to forget the focus wheel that allows to fine-tune your image quality. Plus, you can scale up your iPhone’s video to about 40-inch for projection, ensuring that your eyes are strain-free. But don’t forget we’re only talking about a resolution just about VHS quality. So, don’t expect to watch HD video with it.
Additionally, the MiLi Pro has a variety of AV inputs and the gadget ships with a VGA as well as an RCA cable that allow connections to devices such as laptops, netbooks and TVs. Most importantly, the projector comes with two rechargeable batteries, so that you are never left high and dry. Due for launch this month, the product pricing is not yet available, but do watch out for the MiLi Pro that promises to bring a new level of entertainment to your iPhones and iPods.
Optoma Pico PK-101
Rs 20,000 (approx)
The Optoma Pico PK-101 is a no-nonsense ultraportable digital light processing (DLP) projector. No bigger than a mobile phone, it’s clearly designed to be paired with one. The device measures 1.97 x 0.59 x 4.06 inches and weighs just 114 gram with the battery. Despite the compact design, Optoma has added not only a DLP imaging engine and an LED lamp, but also a rechargeable battery capable of powering the device for up to 1.5 hours and also a tiny speaker. When connected to an iPhone during our review, the PK-101 projected in colour that was actually better than the iPhone. LED bulbs as it is have a long life, and in the case of this projector, the rated life is an exceptional 20,000 hours, or so claims the manufacturer. The PK-101 can be charged through a USB connection or an included AC power adapter.
Since the PK-101 lacks a VGA connector, you cannot link it to laptops. So, this projector worth Rs 20,000 (approx) is meant strictly for after-hours work, when you are more interested in watching videos than pie charts. Just plug this projector’s sole input connection, composite video, to any camcorder, DVD player, or iPod.