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What is the Pico Projector and How to Choose One?

Also, know as mobile or handheld projectors, pico projectors are small devices that are used to project images from devices such as tablets, camera, smartphones, and notebooks onto a wall or any other flat and clear surface.

These devices are very small, thus, easy to carry, but still take up the role of the traditional big projectors for filming and presentations. They are capable of projecting images up to 100” in size, but are in most cases lower in resolution and brightness as compared to the big projectors.

There are various types and models of pico projectors. The Best Pico Projector is one that meets your needs efficiently and is affordable. We will look at the different types to see the range that you can select from.

How Pico Projectors Work

Projector Buying Guide

Pico projectors work with three main technologies. These technologies include LCoS, DLP, and LBS.

LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon)

LCoS projectors utilize to manage the amount of light getting into each pixel using a small liquid-crystal display. Colors from this technology are controlled by color-filter (CF-LCoS). This device uses three subpixels. Each of these subpixels displays its own color.

They are aided by a Field-Sequential-Color (FSC) that has a color filter and a quick LCD.  Images are usually split using the three subpixels and then refreshed using the FSC for each color. The light source for this pico projector can either be a diffused laser or an LED device.

DLP (Digital Light Processing)

This technology uses tiny mirrors embedded on a chip that guides the light towards the target. The mirrors check the light every pixel on the targeted picture receives.

The mirrors exist in an on and off state and refresh multiple times every second. When the mirrors are on, the pixel displays the extent to which the mirrors are on.

Such projectors also have a color wheel that is placed between the mirrors and the source of light. The wheel splits up the light into the three primary colors red blue and green While the mirrors control each of the three light sources for a specific pixel.

LBS (Laser-Beam-Steering)

LBS pico projectors use a directed laser beam to project images just a single pixel at a time. It has three different lasers each with a single-color red, blue and green, and you have to set each of these lasers at its set brightness level.

The colors from these lasers are then brought together using optics and projected by a mirror. You should scan the image at a fast rate to avoid seeing the single pixel design on the final display.

LBS projectors’ images are focused even when projected on uneven surfaces and consume less power. They are also a bit smaller than other projectors hence easy to carry around.

However, they can be quite expensive considering that they rely on a laser which is expensive. They also produce speckles that display some tiny black dots on the projected image especially on static images and can be damaging to the eyes in some cases. You should put this into consideration when selecting a pico projector.

Now let’s see the different types of these devices.

Models/Types of Pico Projectors

Projector buying guide

Pico projectors can be classified into four basic types. These are USB pico projectors, standalone models, media player, and embedded models.

USB Pico Projectors

These projectors are usually connected to devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops among others. They come without a battery and, thus, relies on the peripheral devices for power. You can go for these for short presentations where you do not have a power source to recharge your device

Standalone Models

These pico projectors do not require a peripheral device for power, but you still need to connect them to those devices using USB or HDMI cables to display the content from those devices. They have their own batteries.

Media Player

These pico projectors have an internal memory with ports for USB devices and micro SD cards. You can access content from a peripheral device without having to connect physically to it. Basically, you simply copy content in an SD card or a flash disk which you then connect to the projector.

Embedded Models

Embedded pico projectors are fixed inside mobile devices such as smartphones and digital cameras. With this projector, you simply display content using either your phone or your digital camera. Smartphones that have such projectors embedded in them are called projector phones.

What to Consider When Buying a Pico Projector

Apart from your preferred brand, there are other factors that you should consider when buying a pico projector. Currently, brands of pico projectors in the market include 3M, Philips, Samsung, Optoma, AAXA, and Aiptek.

Other factors to consider include brightness, whether or not they are embedded, the projector’s technology, size and contrast ratio. Each brand has a variety of its own pico projectors. You should do your research based on the mentioned factors and your needs to determine the type and model that will suit those needs. Take your time to go through these devices to get real value for your money.