Gadget Spot: PICO projectors
Every now and then the occasion arises for sharing some pictures or videos with a group of friends.
These days, those pictures or videos tend to be on my cell phone. Awkwardly, the phone gets handed around. Occasionally, a person hits a button or the touch screen in just that certain way to turn a once-captured moment into an erased memory.
Somewhere in the Wide World of Gadgets there must be a better way to share, right?
Pocket-sized, or PICO, projectors are a gadget category that continues to blossom as computer chips and lenses continue to be miniaturized.
Over the past year, I've mentioned a couple of gadgets that have had these cool handheld projectors built in.
In last December's gift guide, I highlighted the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj ($327 at amazon.com). Like Superman, this mild-mannered digital camera with its 12.1-megapixel sensor and 5x optical zoom has another, more powerful, persona. It doubles as a projector that displays pictures and videos as large as 40 inches at a distance of up to six-and-a-half feet.
At January's Consumer Electronics Show, the Gadget Guy was introduced to the LG eXpo Smartphone ($200 with service plan at att.com). This cell phone stands out from its peers thanks to a PICO projector attachment (costing $180) that lets you wow your friends by projecting pictures and videos on the phone up to 60 inches away. This Windows smartphone has a 5-MP camera, 1-GHz Snapdragon CPU, 1-GB hard drive to store music and video files, 3.2-inch touchscreen and slideout QWERTY keyboard.
A handful of standalone handheld projectors are now also available.
The Microvision ShowWX ($550 at microvision.com) connects to your cell phone, digital camera, laptop or iPod Touch/iPhone as one of the most powerful pocket-size projectors on the market. The ShowWX lays claim to having an 848-by-480-pixel resolution and the ability to display its images at a distance of up to 200 inches. The unit weighs only 4.3 ounces.
The AAXA Technologies M1 Plus ($339 from aaxatech.com) PICO projector is twice as bright as its peers. Using LEDs, it beams pictures and videos at 66 lumens of brightness - more than enough to be easily viewed in a brightly lit room.
The 3M MPro150 ($353 at amazon.com) has on-board memory and a built-in CPU so it can project pictures, videos and presentations without connecting to a PC or other device.
And if all these gadgets aren't impressive enough, Samsung is working on a cell phone/PICO projector combination that will supposedly download, and instantly project, movies using its cell phone connectivity.
Got a gadget question or a high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org