Portable Projectors: A Buyer’s Guide

What kind of features do you need in a portable projector? We break down all the scientific lingo and spell it out in plain English in this buyer’s guide to portable projectors.

If you’re looking for a portable projector for entertainment, work, or study, you need to know that you’re getting a device that won’t end up in the junk drawer a week later.

Can you use your projector in full light? How long will the battery last? Will your presentations look blurry?

To answer these questions, you need to know a few industry terms that will help you understand how your projector will perform.

In this buyer’s guide to portable projectors, we’ll explain some of the key terms you need to know to make an informed purchase.

1. ANSI Lumens 

ANSI lumens  are the official unit for the measurement of brightness. The higher the number, the brighter the projection. Why is this important for buyers? There are a few reasons:

  • Lumens affect the projection size: A higher level of brightness (more lumens) allows you to project a larger image without a loss in picture quality.
  • Lumens determine contrast: The difference between dark and light colors is created solely by light when using a projector. Brighter light creates a bigger difference between colors, thereby delivering a sharper, richer image.
  • More Lumens means more versatility: If a projector has low luminosity, you may not be able to use it in well-lit areas. A high lumen count will allow you to project in most lighting conditions with no loss in picture quality.

When looking for a projector, you should search for one with at least 100 ANSI lumens. The Prima portable projector is one of the only pico projectors with a brightness of 200 ANSI lumens and the ability to project up to 200 inches.

2. Hi-Fi Speakers

Many portable projectors come with low-quality speakers that exist to inform you of notifications and alerts. If you want to use your projector for entertainment, you’ll want to choose a product with Hi-Fi speakers.

These speakers are engineered for nuance and balance, and they are also powerful enough to fill a room despite being quite small.

If you need a projector that can travel well, choose one with a headphone jack. And, you always have the option of connecting your own speakers as long as your projector has Bluetooth connectivity.

3. Resolution/ Pixels

The resolution of an image (aka the clarity of an image) is determined by the number of pixels that make it up. Pixels are commonly measured using two numbers separated by an “x” (e.g. 1280 x 720).

The higher the number of pixels, the more detailed an image will be. The lowest acceptable resolution in a modern projector is 1280 x 720. This is commonly referred to simply as 720p, or “Standard HD.”

The best portable projectors on the market (including Prima) have a resolution of 1920 x 1080, also known as 1080p HD or “Full HD.” 1080p HD is the same image quality that you see at the cinema.

4. Keystone correction

Setting a projector on an uneven surface can cause the image to appear tilted or distorted. If a projector has keystone angle correction, it will automatically detect the angle at which it sits and adjust the screen accordingly.

This is a really helpful feature for those who travel or want to use their projector outdoors. 

5. Screen mirroring / Screencasting

Screen mirroring and screencasting are both ways to view content from your devices on your projector.

There is a subtle difference between the two.

Screen mirroring projects exactly what is on your device’s screen directly from your device. Examples of this are Airplay and Miracast.

Screencasting has the same effect, but it’s done via an app that lets you manage the content you send to the projector from your device. And example of this is Chromecast. Casting apps will often optimize content so it moves seamlessly from your device to the projector. But, these apps can also stop you from projecting prohibited content from unsupported apps. This can include content from streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

Prima is like a smart TV and has native integration with apps like Netflix so you can stream everything directly from the projector.

6. Ports and Plugs

Just because a projector is compact does not mean it should come without essential ports like HDMI, USB, and Micro SD.

HDMI can connect you to a range of devices from smartphones to laptops to gaming consoles. Micro SD cards are portable storage devices which allow you to upload or download content, and USB connections can be used for storage and connectivity between devices.

Advanced projectors like Prima have all of these plugs as well as a headphone jack and TF port.

7. Battery Life

Unfortunately, most portable projectors run out of juice in as little as 1-2 hours. The solution to this problem is keeping the projector connected to a power source when in use, but this isn’t so convenient for those who want to project on the go.

Luckily, some new projectors feature cutting-edge batteries that last longer and charge quicker. Prima’s battery provides 3 hours of uninterrupted video playback and 30 hours of audio playback. 

We recommend choosing a projector with the strongest battery possible, as batteries degrade over time resulting in decreased playback time. Also, make sure to choose a projector that you can use while it’s plugged into a power source. 

So there you have it! We hope that simple guide would help you in choosing the best projector for your needs! Why don't you checkout Prima and see for yourself?