Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Projectors keep getting smaller and smaller and smaller

Projectors have come a loooooooooong way.

When I was a young lad in school (many, many moons ago), we had one projector for the entire hall of classrooms to share, which was an enormously heavy and awkward monster that had its own cart that the teacher would have to prop open a door just to wheel in. This cart was complete with a very high-tech cassette-tape player or a record player that would narrate the slideshow, which would make a loud "BOOP!" sound to let Ms. Carter know it was time to push the button to forward to the next still.

Here's the Face-Off between the strongest of the new competitors:

  • $259 (street price)
  • 640 x 480 native resolution
  • 4.5 x 2.0 x 0.9 inches
  • .35 pounds
  • Projects 6-inch to 50-inch image
  • Small, cell phone-size power adapter
  • Comes with VGA and Video cable
  • 10,000 hours of usage

Dell M109S

  • $325 (Dell Direct)
  • 858 x 600 native resolution
  • 4.2 x 3.6 x 1.2 inches
  • 0.8 pounds
  • Projects 15-inch to 60-inch image
  • Uses its own power adapter or one from a Latitude or Vostro (reducing the number of cords to carry)
  • Multi-input connector (power, VGA, composite)
  • 10,000 hours of usage
  • Password protection

The debate of which one is better is still up for argument. This poll shows the two at neck and neck. It really depends on your usage and needs: The larger, slightly bulkier Dell M109S has a sharper image. But the MPro110 fits in your pocket.

You still need another source for sound. May I recommend something other than a cassette-tape player?

Pico Pocket Project PK-101 $215 (no, NOT Pico Pocket Protector, but it is about that size!)

This is definitely a bit on the low end as far as a full-fledged projector, but would be great for small trainings or watching a movie in a bedroom. It doesn't do HDMI, so don't expect High Definition. There are many more built around TI's "Pico" internal projector. This technology should be in iPods, phones, etc. in the near future!
  • Easily share photos and videos from mobile device
  • Project images on any surface
  • Ultra-light at 4 ounces including battery
  • Image size up to 60 inches
  • Vivid 1000:1 contrast ratio
  • DLP Pico technology
  • LED light source lasts over 20,000 hours
  • Recharge battery conveniently via USB or included AC power adaptor
  • Works great with iPod or iPhone
Soon the projectors I remember will be distant memories and time-capsule items to be displayed at the Museum of Tech History. But the quality of these tiny projectors will keep making big news.

The best thing about this technology is that within a year or two, they will be integrated into notebooks, laptops, and most likely iphones, blackberries and more handheld devices, thus eliminating cords all together!

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