3M MPro150 Pocket Projector review
The quality is as you'd expect, but the battery and internal storage make it an intriguing travel companion
Review Date: 12 Apr 2010
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £302 (£355 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Projectors don’t come much smaller than 3M’s MPro150. Weighing just 160g and measuring 60 x 125 x 24mm (WDH), it more than lives up to its Pocket Projector title. If you were expecting the petite dimensions to leave it lacking in features, though, you’re in for a surprise.
It’s a versatile little devil, accepting both D-SUB and composite video inputs while squeezing in a 3.5mm audio input for the integrated speakers, a mini-USB connection and a socket for the 5V wall-wart power supply.
Unlike most pocket projectors, the MPro150 isn’t entirely dependent upon a nearby mains socket. A 2,200mAh battery lets it venture away from the mains for a couple of hours, and for those that spend more time on the move than in the office there's an optional car charger accessory too.
Unplug every cable from its rear and the MPro150 has another trick up its sleeve. The 1GB of onboard memory and supplied 2GB microSD card allow it to both store and display a variety of documents, images, music and video files, all without the aid of a PC. The major Microsoft Office formats are supported – DOC, XLS, PPT – as well as Adobe PDF files, JPEG, MP3 and even basic MPEG videos.
The user interface is pleasingly simple, but the controls do leave a little to be desired. The directional pad on the top of the projector isn't ideal, combining somewhat fiddly keys with a tendency for every button press to jump the projected image around on the wall. Had 3M thought to include a remote control, it would have improved matters immeasurably. As you might expect, the integrated speakers are poor by any standards, creating a tinny, ear-piercing racket that would be bettered by most laptops.
For such a tiny device the feature set is impressive, but there are substantial limitations. The LED bulb offers long life – 3M claims over 20,000 hours of runtime – but it only musters 15 lumens of brightness. The 640 x 480 resolution is a major compromise, too, but it’s still surprisingly capable in the right conditions.
You’ll definitely need a darkened room to project images up to the claimed 50in diagonal, but just closing the blinds in one of our meeting rooms and turning the lights off was enough for a modest 20in image with reasonable quality. Colours have punch, and although scaling a 1,024 x 768 desktop to the projector’s native resolution left things looking blocky, it was still good enough to keep our PowerPoint presentation legible.
It won't have even the cheapest of standard projectors worried then, but given the MPro150’s lofty ambitions, 3M deserves credit for turning the pico projector from a mere curio into a viable business tool. The asking price is bordering upon the obscene – current US pricing suggests a straight 1:1 dollar to pound conversion – but there's no denying the appeal in swapping a heavy laptop bag for just 160g of kit.
Author: Sasha Muller
15 Lumens? Surely, even Jade Goodie was brighter than that?
By PaulOckenden on 14 Apr 2010
Surname in above comment deliberately incorrect to avoid people googling that name.
But my point stands. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candle (and various other web sources) a typical candle produces 13 lumens of visible light. And 15 lumens is optically indistinguishable from 13 (you really need to double it to see a difference). So this is essentially a projector with the brightness of a single candle.
Given that most LED torches are WAY brighter than this, I wonder what's gone wrong in pico-projector land. Am I missing something?
By PaulOckenden on 14 Apr 2010
it's gotta be the watts
not the lumens. My 3W server-rack LED torch gets too hot to hold by the head after 5-10 minutes. I guess we should just hold out for the Mag-Lite pocket projector add-on...
By Steve_Cassidy on 15 Apr 2010
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