As I have been a frequent traveler for the past 10 years, most of the gadgets that I purchase are small and lightweight, due to the weight budget for the luggage. One of my frequently used devices is a pocket projector from Innovative. It is truly palm-sized and can fit into pockets easily, and is also super lightweight for carrying around. Prior to purchasing this pocket projector back then, I was not aware of any similar offerings from the major brand.
The Innovative K4 pocket projector is probably one of the earliest model from the company and is currently superseded by the newer models. The unit has 100 lumens and can be powered via micro-USB cable from any USB port. Although it has been reliable, there are several key issues:
1) It does not have auto-focus. The manual focus is achieved by sliding the two buttons at the side, and it takes a little time to get into the right focus. To make it worse, the focus needs to be adjusted every time I use the projector.
2) Video-In only by HDMI. This means cumbersome cables which sometimes tend to move the projector unintentionally, especially when we try to move things around the table.
3) Video resolution of 854 × 480 with support up to 1080P. The resolution was not “great”. Basically, it can project a screen size of 1080P but only at 854×480 pixels, so the video is not clear.
4) Picture skewing (not rectangular), and the need to adjust the stand from time to time can be irritating.
5) The room needs to be substantially dark for the picture to be clearer. There also appears to be lighting “leaks” on the left side.
Currently, Innovation has 3 new projectors in their line-up. Both the Lumiere and Q5 are super lightweight at only 0.14 kg, however, we will not discuss them as they have the same resolution as my current projector, and still have no wireless connectivity. Nevertheless, they are really small and truly pocket size (fits in your pocket unless your pocket is too small) for those that find this more important than anything else. They can also be played via USB or Micro SD Card.
The Innovative K5S is where the specifications get interesting.
It has a resolution of 1280×720 pixels, wireless connection, 1,200 lumens and a 6000mAH battery that last 2 hours on a single charge. It also has a feature called the Auto Keystone Correction that automatically adjusts skewed images.
However, we are not sure if the “focus control” means “autofocus”.
The size of the K5S is also larger with a weight of 0.31kg, and does not look like a “pocket” size, but there are no specifications on the website to verify at this time of writing.
The Sony MP-CL1A mobile projector appears during an online search. What caught our attention is the 1920 x 720 HD resolution, and also the bluetooth connection which we soon figured out that it is only for the audio. This makes sense since bluetooth earphones are getting common these days.
Other than the usual HDMI connection, it also supports WIFI 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 GHz/5 GHz), Screen mirroring (Miracast®). The projection is 40 inches at 1.15m, which is impressive. When compared to the K5S, it only has 32 lumens on average and 10,000 hours laser diode life (K5S stated 30,000 hours). It comes with a 5,000 mAH battery and yet weigh only 210 grams.
So far, the specifications seem promising except the 35 lumens brightness which is only one third of the K4 projector. This seems to be the primary complaints of most users that have used the product. The K4 was 100 lumens and in my opinion, it has barely make the mark. We are not going to risk our money on a 35 lumens projector unless we can find a demo unit in the stores to verify the brightness. It would have been a perfect mobile projector if the lumens can be at least 100.