Philips Pico 2480 review - Offers true mobility, but at the cost of image quality

The Philips Pico is the smallest and lightest model on test here. At just 30 x 100 mm and weighing in at 300 grams it immediately claims the most portable model crown. It also has a built-in battery with a two-hour battery life, which means it can be pulled out for impromptu presentations.

If you add all this to the sub-£200 price tag and  it’s not hard to see the appeal of this model. Where it becomes a bit harder for us is when you put a truly portable model like this up against a much more expensive, and sturdy, model like the Epson EB-1945W. It’s clearly never going to offer the same kind of picture quality as a projector costing £1,000 more.

But the Philips Pico does punch above its weight. This is worth remembering as we get into the specs. Philips has improved the brightness rating from 30 lumens on the previous model to 80 lumens here, making it capable for on the road use. The resolution isn’t exactly stellar: at 854 x 480 and it has an extremely short throw distance (but it’s fine on a small, nearby wall). But both the picture quality and brightness were much, much better than we expected. And even though it has a tiny 1W speaker the lack of much fan noise ensured the sound was clearly audible.

It has a HDMI-like port, but it’s actually a VGA port and is smaller than HDMI. It’s not capable of accepting a HDMI connection and the kicker is that there isn’t an adaptor in the box. This means that you can’t connect and iPhone or iPad even with a Dock/Lightning adaptor. Philips does sell a iOS cable separately, but it’s 30-pin Dock connector (not Lightning) so you can use iPad 3, or iPhone 4S and earlier.

The general idea seems to be that you insert media from an SD card or USB Flash device. The Philips Pico 2480 it supports a truly impressive range of movie and image formats. Although sadly not Powerpoint presentations. It also doesn’t accept Flash drives formatted in Mac OS X format, only FAT32 and NTFS. Another strike against Mac owners.

OUR VERDICT

This lack of Mac and iOS compatibility is the main reason for the low score. Despite these flaws we really liked the Philips Pico 2480. It’s one of the best ‘pico’ class projectors we’ve used and the picture quality was much better than we thought. It’s small size and weight make it a true portable projector. It’s ideal for photo and home video sharing.

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