We love the idea of carrying a compact device that turns any bare wall into a movie theatre. Like the makers of pico projectors have been promising us for years. But even with an impressive 80 lumens of brightness, the P4 still has a long way to go before we really get excited.
In the world of pico projectors, 80 lumens with a 2000:1 contrast ratio is as bright as you can buy right now. Using Texas Instruments DLP LED technology the P4 can project an image up to 203cm in size on a wall. But outside of a seedily-dark room, that image is very probably going to be washed out. It just won’t compare to your standard projector that usually boast lumens in the 2000-3000 range (you can’t fit those in your shirt pocket though).
Composite and VGA video hookups and a max resolution of 1280×768, allow you feed the P4 a 720p video signal from a laptop or media player. While 2GB of onbard storage and a microSD card slot can also be used for natively playing media files directly from the projector. Unfortunately, the other area where pico projectors aren’t quite ready for primetime is their battery life. The P4’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery is only good for about 75 minutes, well short of your typical Hollywood feature. And since it uses LEDs instead of lasers, you’re going to be constantly refocusing the image every time you move it. On the plus side the prices of picos continue to drop, with the P4 pre-order going for a mere $US339.