It’s a marvellous thing, turning the wall of your home into a movie screen.
The sci-fi author Ray Bradbury wrote about families entertaining themselves with video walls in his classic novel of 1953, Fahrenheit 451, and lots of people have looked back on this as a prediction of flat screen TVs. In our eyes, he was thinking one step ahead, to the sort of experience made possible by projectors.
Portable projectors are becoming increasingly affordable and popular, providing the capability to project from various media sources – including wi-fi- or DDMI-connected devices, SD cards and USB sticks – onto a wall, screen, floor or ceiling.
People are using this tech in lots of different ways, from screening Netflix binges at home to airing business presentations on the go. Whatever the application, the aim is always a good viewing experience via an unbeatably space-efficient, portable device – and that’s exactly what you get with the projectors reviewed in this article.
These models do have their differences, especially in terms of media input compatibility, special features, size and image quality. In our view, even the most basic amongst them provide a great experience – it’s just a matter of which bells and whistles you require. Make sure the brightness, image size, dimensions and capabilities of the projector match up to your vision.
Optoma – ML750ST
Best for: all-round quality and ease-of-use
We were really impressed by this neat little projector from Optoma. It creates a great picture, is easy to use and is profoundly portable too, measuring just H5.7 x W11.25 x D12.3cm. Zip it up in its carry case, pop it into your backpack, and off you go.
From the moment we plugged it in, we knew this projector was a winner. It took well under a minute to plug it into our laptop via an HDMI and project a high-quality image onto the wall. Bringing that image into focus was a cinch, too, using the focus adjuster on the lens.
An excellent projector, HD and 3D ready, that’s easy to use and take on the move.
£509.99 | John Lewis | Buy it now
Sony – LSPX-P1
Best for: luxe style
Sony’s HD, 720p, ultra short throw laser projector, the LSPX-P1, is a hugely impressive piece of hardware that provides a totally distinct experience from the other projectors we’ve encountered.
We particularly enjoyed using it to project video onto the floor right in-front of where it was stood – a great feature for those looking to gather around a family film or work project on the go.
From its outstanding projection to its luxe, textured finish, the LSPX-P1 is the last word end in high end portable projectors. If money is no object, we reckon you ought to buy one.
£899.95 | John Lewis | Buy it now
Philips – Picopix 3417 Wireless
Best for: good quality at a great price
Philips’ teeny-tiny Picopix 3417 is a minor miracle, capable of quality projection despite being smaller than a computer mouse. It measures H68 x W66 x D22mm, and weighs just 87g – about as much as a cockatiel. The question with this projector is not so much whether it’s portable, but rather, whether you’ll be able to find it in your bag when you need to get it out.
The Picopix 3417 can’t match Sony’s and Optoma’s projectors for projection quality, but then again it is far more affordable, and represents a great opportunity for all sorts of people to experience good quality projection at a great price.
£249.99 | Currys | Buy it now
Asus – S1 Mini Projector
Best for: Wire-free movie sessions
The Asus S1 is a perfectly simple and effective choice for those who prize efficiency over luxury. It projects in standard definition rather than HD, and with a 41-inch image at a distance of 1 meter, it might be best described as a substitute for a television, rather than a cinematic experience or conferencing tool like some of our other projectors.
We think the S1 is going to appeal especially to those who want wireless projection, wherever they are. With 3 hours of battery life, there’s more than enough time to watch your favourite film without plugging in (unless you’re a Lord of the Rings fan!)
£269.99 | Curry’s | Buy it now
LG – PH550G
Best for: cinematic quality on the go
LG’s outstanding, HD ready mini projector the PH550G is surely one of the best-looking models out there – and it also provides an impressive amount of visual bang for your buck. Emitting a solid 420 lumens and with a screen size of up to 100 inches, it creates the home cinema type experience many customers crave.
The PH550G connects to Android devices or speakers via Bluetooth, and features a handy USB input – so you can simply insert a USB stick and load up videos, images or documents in the space of seconds.
£429.99 | Curry’s | Buy it now
Espon – EB-X41 Smart HD Ready Office Projector
Best for: projection for professionals
Imagine you’re in a boardroom, you’ve put together a career-defining presentation, and you’re about to pitch it to a group of people wearing pricy suits and “impress me” expressions. The EB-X41 is absolutely the projector you’d want to have at your side.
At 3,600 lumens, it creates a clear image whether you’re in a dark room or a well-lit one; and with a maximum image size of 300 inches, it’s more than capable of providing watchable playback for large groups of people.
The only potential snag is its size. At H82 x W302 x D237mm, it just about counts as “portable” – but not to quite the same extent as the smaller projectors we’ve featured.
£359.99 | Curry’s | Buy it now
RIF6 – Cube Mini Projector
Best for: sheer tininess
As the image below ably demonstrates, the RIF6 Cube Mini Projector fits in the palm of your hand – with plenty of room to spare. At two inches across, it’s the very smallest of our featured projectors, but nonetheless manages to provide a good standard of projection. With a relatively low brightness of 50 lumens, it is unquestionably built for use in dark rooms – so draw the curtains before you turn it on.
The RIF6 Cube Mini Projector comes with a flexible tripod, a heaven-sent accessory that spares the user from the usual trials and tribulations of pointing the projector in just the right direction.
£259.99 | Curry’s | But it now
There are higher-end models out there, but in our view, it’s the Optoma ML750ST that offers the best balance of price and performance. It’s smart, easy-to-use, and most importantly provides an exceptional quality of projection.