Portable Projectors group test

Introduction

There was a time when a projector was something you only saw in cinemas. These days they’re a staple of workplaces and schools, helping to project anything from spreadsheets to presentations and videos onto any available surface. Once a hefty machine with limited options, the projector has seen something of a renaissance as a portable device over the past few years, so we’ve focused on the more mobile of the breed in this test.

At current prices, portable projectors are now a realistic option for those looking to avoid awkward huddles around a computer screen and provide more polished presentations. While prices have come down, specs have gone up, so you’re no longer forced to sacrifice quality when opting for a smaller, lower-priced model. Of course, within our chosen price bracket of £200-£500 there’s a great deal of difference in the projectors you find. Some opt for superior specs and connection options, adding a little more bulk, while others are incredibly small but a tad limited when it comes to performance. We want to find the happy medium – the perfect pairing of form and features, with the added benefit of a modest price tag.

Something else you need to consider is brightness and clarity in ambient light, the sort you’d expect to find in an office or classroom during the day. Portability is one thing, but we also want to find a model that will display crisp images without the need for a total blackout in the room. This shouldn’t really be an issue thanks to the DLP technology, as well as LED, at work in most of the projectors here. It does away with the traditional projector bulb in favour of better contrast and colour performance, along with overall clarity.

We’ll look at connections too. HDMI is a favourite, but not widely supported in this price bracket and, in most cases, not required due to the lack of HD support in smaller projectors.

In our tests, we used identical lighting conditions for each device in order to gauge colour and brightness performance, and used the same media for each device using the available inputs. We projected onto a plain white wall rather than a projector screen for each test. Obviously, with each projector offering a different Throw Distance – the distance from the wall to the projector – we had to make adjustments in terms of position but, aside from that, all the conditions were stable throughout testing.

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