There are no shortage of pocket projectors out there, just check Firebox.com or IWOOT for proof of that, and as is usually the case, such saturation makes it difficult to stand out. So, it does take something pretty special to compete, and taking a look at the Adapt Pico Play LED Pocket Projector at first gave very little indication of possessing such a spark. However, here is the in-depth review after having a play with the device.
To look at, the device is neither especially pleasurable, nor the opposite. It’s pretty modest in its design, aesthetically speaking anyway, using a contrasting black and metallic silver case. The emphasis being on the aesthetic design there, because design incorporates more than just looks, and the curvaceous design, diminutive size and weight of the handheld projected make it great to hold, perfect to carry around. On the other hand, the plastic material it’s crafted from doesn’t feel particularly substantial, and the quality of the build is entirely questionable. That’s not to say that it feels like it will fall apart in your hand, I just wouldn’t feel save in throwing it around, is all.
According to the official website selling the projector, the Pico Play is the smallest and lightest micro projector ever made, and at £99 it has to be one of the cheapest too. It’s actually shorter than the iPhone, its intended companion.
Hardware and Software
Usage of the projector is as simple as you could possibly like, in truth. It’s really just a case of turning it on and connecting up the storage media whatever it is you want to project is stored on. Once your iPod/iPad/iPhone is connected up, or the SD card is inserted into the necessary slot and recognised by the projector, you’re presented with a horizontal menu of icons representing pictures, movies etc. and from there the projector filters out all of your content into the right area, and you’re good to go. On top of the projector there is a small joystick allowing you to navigate around, much like on some old Sony Ericsson phones. It’s also clickable, and that’s obviously how you select each item. Again, idiot proof. To the side of that, there’s a button marked ‘M’, which is basically a ‘menu’ or ‘back’ button.
Underneath there is a small kickstand, which is actually quite difficult to pull out, but I suppose that’s not a major problem and anyhow, it might just be my stubby fingers to blame.
The 0.5W speakers line the sides, and it has to be said they aren’t of a terrific quality, but what would you expect from a £99 projector? Audio quality isn’t a priority, and is seldom of a high standard, even on a premium offering.
Along the near side of the projector as you point it away, there are the connectivity options. Firstly, from left to right, is the AV-in port, allowing you to hook up your games consoles or other devices, which is pretty neat. Inside that is the small, round power button. In the middle here’s a mini-USB port, and the projector is supplied with a small adapter capable of transforming it into a protruding, more familiar and traditional USB 2.0 port. To the right of that there’s a small LED indicator and on the far right is the charging port. Pretty standard. On the left of the unit, above the speaker, is the SD card slot, which is covered by a removable plastic flap, just like on many smartphones etc, though it is quite sizable by comparison.
Compatibility-wise, the projector supports MPEG-4, Motion-JPEG and RV8/9/10 formats. Not exactly a comprehensive selection, but being primarily aimed for iOS devices, you don’t need a lot more to be honest (thanks Steve).
The LED projector operates at 8 lumens of brightness, with a contrast ratio of 100:1. By comparison, that is by no means outstanding, though it does help provide a reasonably clear picture. Just short of the lens is a focus dial, which helps with the clarity. In my usage of the projector I didn’t have many problems finding a clear picture from a reasonable distance, and I could take a few steps backwards before it lost transparency or clarity, either that or I just hit the wall and it was me seeing double.
I had a lot of trouble, though, even with a small amount of light. A dimly lit room would obviously cause some issues with the quality of the projection, though it just struck me as a little too easy to ruin the experience with a small amount of light. With the lights off, though, this thing rocks, and for a reasonable price, too. (Just to be clear, we ARE still talking about the projector).
It’s important to note, that this pocket projector (as are most at this point) primarily for fun. It’s by no means an office worthy companion, and nobody is pretending that it is, so to judge it’s merit properly, we have to place it properly in the market place. Being priced at a modest £99.98, in spite of the recent VAT hike, is testament to the fact that if you’re looking for a projector for hard-use, you’re better off looking elsewhere. Having said that, the price point also indicates that the downfalls of a product like this should be taken with a pinch of salt. It’s like comparing a child’s action figure to a fully-fledged robot, and leaving disappointed because it can’t fetch you a beer on-demand.
You may have read the review thinking it was pretty generous. And yes, I rate the Adapt Pico Play LED Pocket Projector highly, for the simple reason that you get a lot of bang for your buck, as they say. Bear in mind that it’s not a lot of buck, so the bang, without being outstanding, is not at all bad.
The bottom line is, it’s functional, it’s compatible and it’s cheap. It’s a great gift idea for £99, and it can be used without issue for most basic projecting tasks.