MPro150: A projector in your pocket


  • Technology
  • Monday, 19 Apr 2010

So-called pico projectors have been out a while now and today we take a look at a notable little addition to the market: the MPro150 from 3M.

AS FAR as standalone pico projectors are concerned, the MPro150 pocket projector is actually better tricked-out than most — instead of just working as a simple projector that connects to your PC or handheld, this 3M product supports a number of Microsoft Office file formats as well as video and audio formats right out of the box, thus negating the need to actually connect to a PC in some situations.

The bundle of accessories that come with the MPro150 is generous to say the least — you get the device itself, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, an AC adapter, a composite audio-video cable, a VGA adapter for notebook PCs, a soft carry bag and even a tiny tripod that fits on to the bottom of the device.

As part of the review package, we even had the optional iPod touch/iPhone adapter with a HDMI cable which allows you to output video from the iPhone/iPod Touch to the projector.

That’s quite a generous bundle of accessories, and right out of the box, you’re ready to connect to the most common devices on the market.

Project!

The MPro150’s printed instruction manual is pretty sparse when it comes to instructions, so it’s pretty fortunate that the device itself is quite easy to figure out — there’s a power switch, a “back” button and a directional pad. On the front, right next to the lens, is the focus wheel.

There is no keystone correction so if you don’t want distorted images, you need to make sure that the projector is square to the wall you’re projecting on. Turn on the device and you’re presented with the home screen which has a grid of icons which are pretty self-explantory — there are icons such as movie, presentation, favourites, etc.

Clicking on any of these icons brings up a list of files stored in the internal memory or in a MicroSD card, and choosing one opens the file.

The file format support is quite extensive — common video, audio and Office file formats are supported.

Audio output is only so-so — it’s just loud enough for a small group of people to hear in a quiet room, but I would have preferred if it could go a wee bit louder.

Connecting the VGA cable or iPhone cable to the MPro150 automatically switches the device to external input mode — this worked flawlessly with notebooks and the like, but I occasionally had situations with the iPhone where the video wouldn’t properly output to the projector until I disconnected the cable and reconnected it again.

Battery life is actually surprisingly good. The MPro150 is rated to last two hours using the built-in lithium-ion battery and in practice, we managed to get about two and a quarter hours from it.

This is pretty darned impressive considering that I was playing the video at the highest volume and with the brightness at maximum (there are only two brightness settings, by the way).

Talking about brightness, I tried the MPro150 in a variety of lighting conditions and found that in a bright room it was already difficult to see once the video size got larger than 15in or 20in or so.

However with the lights off, I could easily hit the 30in-50in size and still have an image that is bright enough to see.

Conclusion

The MPro150 is a cool little projector — even if you don’t use it too often, it’s useful when you do need it.

This little item goes a bit further than most pico projectors in that it has built-in video, audio and Office file format playback.

While the asking price is actually quite reasonable for a projector, I recommend trying it out before you buy just to see if the brightness levels are suitable for the environments you intend to use it in.

More so than regular projectors, tiny projectors like this are best used in very dimly lit rooms or in total darkness.

Pros: Very portable; built-in support for multiple file formats.

Cons: Audio could be louder; can only be used in very dimly-lit rooms.

Win this projector IN CONJUNCTION with the launch of the MPro150, 3M Malaysia Sdn Bhd has several units of the pico projector for the public to win.

The contest form and more information can be found at www.3Mpocketprojector.com.my/starcompetition.

MPro150 (3M) Pocket projector MEMORY: 1GB internal, Micro SD card slot BRIGHTNESS: 15 lumens PC COMPATIBILITY: VGA, SVGA, XGA, WXGA (1,280 x 800-pixels) FILE FORMAT SUPPORT: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe PDF, BMP, JPEG, MP4, MP3, H.264, AMR, AAC SPEAKERS: built-in 0.5watt DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 60.96 x 22.86 x 129.54mm WEIGHT: 158g PRICE: RM1,899 Review unit courtesy of 3M Malaysia Sdn Bhd, call (03) 7806-2888

(3M) Pocket projector MEMORY: 1GB internal, Micro SD card slot BRIGHTNESS: 15 lumens PC COMPATIBILITY: VGA, SVGA, XGA, WXGA (1,280 x 800-pixels) FILE FORMAT SUPPORT: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe PDF, BMP, JPEG, MP4, MP3, H.264, AMR, AAC SPEAKERS: built-in 0.5watt DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 60.96 x 22.86 x 129.54mm WEIGHT: 158g PRICE: RM1,899 Review unit courtesy of 3M Malaysia Sdn Bhd, call (03) 7806-2888

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