A very portable PC projector
There used to be a standing joke about how little you’d need to spend to pay for a trip to the cinema and a packet of fags. Now you can get a cinema in a box the size of a fag packet, and for less than you might expect. The PicoPix uses an LED instead of an incandescent bulb, cutting out most of the bulk, heat and cost of a traditional projector. And, unlike the deadly weed, it doesn’t come with a Government health warning.
The target audience is business travellers with presentations to make, but it’s also a useful way to watch videos at home or away. Cheaper and far smaller than a 40-inch TV set, it’ll create a usable image at that size on a wall a metre or so away. Turn the lights out and you can stretch the picture to 60 inches, but beyond that it gets too faint.
The main cost of owning a projector used to be in replacing the bulbs. The LED isn’t replaceable – when it wears out, you throw the whole thing away. It’s rated for 30,000 hours, or eight hours a day for 10 years. Unlike machines of yore, the PicoPix doesn’t get burning hot and its internal fan makes only a quiet whine.
What’s the catch? Resolution. A Full HD TV displays 1920×1080 pixels. We’re already moving towards 4K, four times more. The PicoPix PPX4010 is limited to 854×480, similar to a DVD player. That’s poor for detailed PowerPoint slides, but for films and TV, it’s not so bad: projection blurs the pixels, so unless you’re picky about sharpness, you may not see a problem.
There’s no Wi-Fi, so you’ll need to take an HDMI cable directly from your PC or Mac to the PicoPix, or use a suitable adapter with a mobile device. You can also add an Apple TV (from £59) or a Google Chromecast (£30) to get a signal wirelessly.
The rival Pico Genie M100 projector supports Miracast and DLNA wireless transmission, but that can be fiddly and doesn’t work with iPhones and iPads. More importantly, the Pico Genie has a speaker and a headphone jack. The PicoPix PPX4010 doesn’t handle sound at all, leaving you to listen to your computer’s internal audio or attach a speaker directly to it.
VERDICTThe PPX4010 works acceptably for such a handy device, but the low resolution, limited brightness and lack of audio make it less than ideal.
SPECIFICATIONS100-lumen LED • 854×480-pixel resolution • 500-5,000mm projection distance • Mini HDMI input • 68x66x22mm (WxDxH) • 83g.