The 8 Best Mini Projectors to Buy in 2017

Watch movies and give presentations with these portable mini projectors

Vivitek Qumi Q6-BU Q6
Courtesy of Amazon.com
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Remember projectors? Those clunky devices your teacher would use to share slides with the class? Well a new class of smaller, smarter devices has moved in that make projecting movies, photos and presentations a breeze. They come in a range of sizes, from pico to palmtop and up, and offer variety of features that make them perfect for home theater enthusiasts, on-the-go business presenters and more. Read through the list below to find the best mini projector for your needs.

Measuring 3.86 x 3.86 x .87 inches and weighing 1.2 pounds, the Apeman has 120 minutes of battery life courtesy of a 3400mAh battery. It's capable of projecting a screen size up to 100 inches on a wall. The 854 x 480 resolution isn’t quite Full HD quality, but video playback still looks fantastic. The inclusion of dual speakers adds to the audio-visual mix, while noticeably low fan noise allows you to solely concentrate on immersing yourself in whatever is on the screen. The 25,000 hours of LED life allows for 1,000 days of 24-hour video playback before the bulb will burn out. Adding HDMI cable and MHL support allows the Apeman to connect directly to a laptop, smartphone or tablet for easy plug and play use.

With a native resolution of only 800 x 480, the Elephas 1200 lumens LED mini portable projector might not be the best small projector you can buy, but it’s certainly the best budget one. It can scale up to full HD, but you’ll lose some quality as its not the native resolution.

On a positive note, this projector has great connectivity options: It has two USB ports (including a 5V port), one HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio port, an AV port and an SD card slot. Considering the price point, it has pretty decent speakers, too, but if you’re able, we’d recommend hooking up dedicated speakers via the audio jack. It’s also surprisingly quiet, which makes watching movies much easier. If you’re wary of buying a budget device, its 12-month warranty and two-month hassle-free return/replace policy should let you rest easy.

Honestly, could there be a cuter projector? The tiny RIF6 CUBE is a silver 2- x 2- x 1.9-inch cube that weighs just five ounces, so it easily slips into your bag. (The cube shape, however, makes it not so pocket-friendly.) On one side it has a USB Micro-B port for charging, a power button and a headphone jack. On the opposite side, it has a microSD card slot, a mini HDMI port and a tiny focus wheel. It produces a brightness of 50 lumens and a native resolution of 854 x 480 pixels, which is pretty common for pico projectors.

It would be hard to find a projector that Amazon reviewers are more in love with. “Super dope,” “a surprise in a box” and “phenomenal” are just a few of the phrases used to describe it. Still, the RIF6 CUBE does have some faults: it doesn’t connect wirelessly and video quality could be better. But if you’ve got design in mind, this projector is the way to go.

Sure, it's expensive, but the Optoma ML750ST is well worth its steep price tag. The LED projector boasts a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and can upscale video content to 1080i. With 700 lumens, it yields high color accuracy and produces a beautiful, bright picture.

The ML750ST’s short throw ratio of 0.8:1 is also to thank for its impressive image quality. While many projectors need a 1.2:1 to 1.5:1 ratio to project a large picture, the ML750ST can sit rather close.

The ML750ST has run-of-the-mill connectivity options, including an HDMI port, a USB port, a 3.5mm audio output and a microSD slot. Its integrated document reader makes it a great pick for business applications, though. You can project PDFs, DOCs and more from a USB thumb drive, so you don’t need to hook it up to a laptop. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an internal battery, so you need to stay within reach of a power outlet, but when used in an office setting, that shouldn’t be a problem.

When it comes to projectors, contrast ration is a major factor. If it’s too low, it will be hard to see the screen, even in dark environments. The P300 is one of the brightest pico projectors on the market, with 400 lumens and a solid 813:1 contrast ratio. The P300 also has a short throw distance. You can place the projector as close as four feet from the screen and still get a decently large and bright picture. This makes it a great projector for business and gaming alike.

The P300 has a removeable battery pack that lasts about an hour. It’s not quite long enough to watch a full movie, but if you carry a spare battery, you’ll be fine. Alternatively, you can keep it plugged in via HDMI. On top of that, it also has connectivity options for VGA, Composite A/V connections, plus microSD and USB readers. Unlike most other small projectors, the P300 comes with a remote, which lets you adjust volume and switch inputs, among other things.

The ZTE Spro 2 measures 5.2 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches in size and weighs just 1.2 pounds, making it an ideal size for traveling. Small stature aside, the ZTE is full of features, including a five-inch touchscreen with 720p, 2.5 hours of battery life and a 4000:1 contrast ratio for a highly detailed picture. The ZTE supports anywhere between a 20 to 120-inch or a nearly 10-foot viewable screen with DLP (digital light processing). The ZTE doesn’t require any wires, allowing content to be accessed via HDMI, USB, or microSD memory card, as well as support for both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The projector also has JBL speakers that offer great sound quality.

LG Electronic’s PH550 Minibeam projector is a standout choice for portable projectors with excellent connectivity options. The 4.3 x 6.9 x 1.7-inch projector weighs 1.43 pounds and has a built-in mirroring function that allows it to connect to a smartphone or tablet for projection, but it can also display movies, pictures or even documents directly from a USB drive.

 While the wireless options require an Android device or Windows operating system hardware, (Apple is limited by design), additional options include Bluetooth streaming for sound directly to a Bluetooth-compatible sound system (home theater setup, headphones or even a soundbar) for an all-around projecting experience. The 2.5 hours of battery life for viewing is paired with 30,000 hours of total life on the LG’s LED lamp, adding up to more than 10 years of use even if the projector is utilized for eight hours every day. The native 1280 x 720 resolution and 100,000:1 contrast ratio outclasses nearly all middle-of-the-road portable projectors.

If you’re after a projector with a best-in-class throw, look no further than the ASUS S1. The throw ratio, also known as the distance from the projector’s lens to the screen, is 1:1, so you can get a large picture without needing to sit the device too far away. It’s very compact, measuring just 4 x 4.3 x 1.2 inches and weighing .75 pounds, and it’s housed in an aluminum chassis with a sleek concentric-circle finish.

It packs 200 lumens, has 854 x 480 native resolution and a screen size of up to 100 inches. Because of its limited brightness, some Amazon reviewers complain that the image can appear washed out and the text can be difficult to read. Still, the S1’s 6,000 mAh built-in rechargeable battery can deliver up to three hours of use, which gives it a major advantage over other pico projectors. 

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