There’s no better enviroment to watch a movie than on the big screen at the cinema – but imagine that big screen experience at home? Or even in the garden?
You can definitely get the cinema experience at home with a mini portable projector – and on a budget too!
There’s no need to spend thousands when just a few hundred will get you a great projector.
Let’s have a look first of all at what you need:
Best Portable Projector Buyer’s Guide
LCD or LED Projector?
A few years ago, home projectors used bulbs as a light source.
They were pretty expensive to replace (like $200-$400) and usually only lasted 2000-4000 hours.
Although you still get bulb projectors these days, LED bulbs are fairly common, especially in the lower end of the price scale. The LED projectors have a bulb rating of typically 30000 hours. That’s a lot of movies! These bulbs will last the lifetime of the projector and aren’t really designed for end user replacement, however that’s what you want.
I used to have a bulb projector and did stress about the hours I was putting on it. Now I have an LED projector, I have no worries!
So really, You are wanting to make sure it’s an LED.
Next up is whether you want a LCD or DLP Projector.
LCD projectors basically use a small LCD screen which the light passes through. DLP projectors use a chip, which has millions of tiny mirrors which reflect the light to the lense or block the light.
DLP projectors are far superior to LCD projectors.
Native Resolution: HD videos are the norm nowadays and you need a product that can support this. BUT beware – a lot of projectors advertise that they are 1080P when this really means they support a 1080P input and the native resolution of the projector is much lower. On our best portable projector round-up below, we’ll make sure to let you know the projectors native resolution.
Brightness: Probably the most critical specification is the projector brightness. This is usually measured in Lumens, with higher being brighter. Most of the portable projectors use LED lamps, with Lumens starting from 30. For each of our best mini projector picks below, we’ll list the lamp output in lumens.
UPDATED: 2nd August 2017
This is NOW our top pick for the best portable projector – The Nebula Mars Portable Cinema
The Nebulas Mars Portable cinema really is the very best for portable cinema. It’s slightly larger than most of the other portable projectors, but when you see the features, it’s definitely in a class of it’s own;
- The Nebula is very bright at 3,000 lumens – it can project an excellent picture up to 150 inches in diameter.
- The massive battery life – A 19,500mAh battery can power the Nebula Mars for 3 hours straight.
- Excellent Speakers. Most small projectors have tiny, tinny speakers. Not the Nebula Mars Portable Projector – It has twin (Stereo!) 10 Watt JBL speakers for surprisingly awesome audio.
- The Nebula Mars Portable Cinema can connect connect wireless to both Android and and Iphones so no need for clumsy cables.
Our Top Ten Pick of the rest of the Bunch:
Best Portable Projector #1 iCODIS CB-300 Pico Projector 3D HD Video with DLP 1800 Lumen
The key to buying the best portable projector for a laptop is finding something that can offer you a compact design that offers the added benefit of allowing you to watch an entire movie without having to recharge. One of the main benefits of this projector is that you are going to get 90 minutes of battery life after a complete charge, which is enough to watch an entire football match or maybe even a movie.
Apart from the excellent battery life, you are going to love how portable this projector is. It is absolutely tiny and can fit in any backpack with ease.
It is almost small enough to carry around in your pocket!
This makes it perfect for occasions where you might need it for a picnic or a party.
Showing home movies outside where there is no electricity is certainly going to be something you will have no trouble with.
One drawback for this product is that you don’t get a very good overall design. This makes it difficult to pair this projector with certain design schemes which would be a disadvantage for many people.
This product is perfect for someone looking for long battery life and portability at an affordable price, especially people with kids who want to be able to keep their children entertained at any time without having to give them a tablet or smartphone.
Native Resolution: 1280×720 (720P)
If you truly want as much portability as possible, you are not going to be able to do better than this product. It fits into your palm and can comfortably fit into a jacket pocket too if you want. This makes it great for carrying around with you in case you need it.
A mini portable projector obviously needs to be light or else carrying it around is going to be quite difficult. This projector weighs less than a pound, so taking it everywhere with you is certainly not going to be an issue at all. In fact, with this projector, you are barely even going to notice that you are carrying something with you.
With smaller projectors, one thing that you often have to go without is high-quality playback. This is because these projectors are often too small to fit all of the intricate parts that enable high-definition playback. With this projector, however, you would be able to play all of your movies in glorious 1080p, which is definitely going to boost your overall experience with the product. Having an item that can allow you to watch movies in high definition is definitely something worth buying as soon as possible.
If there is one major drawback for this product, it is that it fails to provide the durability necessary to use it for the long term. One drop and this product might stop working entirely, which makes it a poor choice for clumsy people or those who have children.
This is the best HDMI projector under 100 dollars which provides extremely high-quality video.
Native Resolution: 854×480 (WXGA)
A portable projector can get quite small, but have you ever heard of something that can fit in your pant pocket? This projector is actually small enough to allow this to happen. It is a cube with dimensions of 2 inches in each direction, small enough to barely take up any space at all.
In spite of the tiny size of this product, you are still going to get a lot of benefit from using it in a variety of ways. The screen magnifies to about 120 inches, which is twice as big as even the biggest televisions you might have seen on the market. This allows you to get a truly cinematic experience with this product, which is the end result of a truly ingenious and compact design.
You are not going to have to worry about charging this product either, as it can last you a great amount of time. This projector guarantees the bulb for over 120,000 hours of playback. That amounts to thousands upon thousands of movies that can be watched before this projector before the bulb starts to fail.
One major issue with this product is that the video quality tends to diminish when you magnify to the maximum size. This is to be expected; after all, you are magnifying the video playback to a size that is larger than most TVs out there.
This is the best micro projector for people who want to have large viewings without having to carry around a lot of heavy equipment.
Native Resolution: 854×480 (WXGA)
The thing about this product that makes it unique is the high-quality color contrast that you are going to get. If there is one thing that acts as a setback when it comes to projectors, it is the quality of the colors you are going to see.
Projectors are just not equipped with the kind of technology that would allow them to show vibrant, true colors and you would certainly not expect anything of this nature from a tiny, portable projector at all. In spite of all of this, Philips has managed to create a product that does not compromise on the quality of the video that you are watching.
Another thing about this product that makes it a great purchase is the simplicity of its interface. This is a portable product, and it does not need to have a bunch of fancy and unnecessary ports. All that it needs is a single HDMI port, and this is exactly what you are going to get here. This projector is compatible with pretty much any laptop you might have and can also be connected to tablets and the like with the aid of a converter.
In spite of the fact that this product is actually quite light, it isn’t very well suited to portability because of its shape. The awkward shape makes this product pretty much impossible to fit into your pocket.
If you want video quality and compatibility, you are going to love this product. It is particularly useful for people who are not all that great with technology and need something simple and easy to use.
Native Resolution: 854×480 (WXGA)
The main benefit of using this projector is that you would not need any wires of any kind. Apple has started to delve into the world of wireless broadcasting to portable devices, so if you have an Apple product, you would definitely want the best pocket projector that can allow you to avail this technology.
This projector can be connected through this wireless technology, thereby allowing you to simply set it up wherever it gives you the best result and enable you to watch without fear of wires getting in the way. You are not even going to have to connect it to a charger. This product comes with a great battery that you can use for pretty much all of your needs; you would be able to watch something for up to two whole hours before the battery needs recharging again. This is what makes this product truly fantastic and elevates it above the crowd.
With two hours of battery time, you would be able to watch sports games and most movies that come out these days. Hence, you will be able to acquire a truly wireless experience, which most companies these days are simply not able to provide.
As this is a wireless projector, a lot of components have been added that end up making this product quite weighty. Hence, it is not suitable for a number of people if they prefer a more portable option.
A projector like this is very well suited for someone who is looking for convenience above all else. The lack of wires makes it great for someone who desires a neat and tidy layout for their viewing pleasure.
Native Resolution: 854×480 (WXGA)
If there is one thing that would stop a projector from being truly pocketable, it is the fact that it mostly comes in a cube shape. This is a huge disadvantage because it means that a lot of the portability that you might be looking for would disappear.
The main benefit of this product comes from the fact that it is flat. Hence, you can slip it in between books or next to your laptop. The flat design of this product makes it truly brilliant as far as portability is concerned. However, does it measure up in terms of quality and functionality?
You would be pleased to learn that this is a great product that provides brilliant visuals. You can expand the visuals you are transmitting to the size of a large TV, up to sixty inches of screen, on whatever surface you are projecting on. This is enough to get the maximum amount of detail you are going to need, and the video quality would not drop in any way while you are using this product.
One of the major drawbacks of this product is that you don’t get a lot of durability. The slim design may make this product very portable, but it comes with the disadvantage of preventing the product from being able to take any damage.
If you want a product that is as portable as can be, this projector is a perfect solution for you! It is great for students who need to carry around a light product to show their projects to people.
Native Resolution: 640×360 (WXGA)
Just because you are getting a portable projector does not mean that you should have to compromise on quality. The Pico Projector is a brilliant example of a projector that is not just portable but also offers extremely high-quality playback. If you want the best visuals possible in a portable projector, this product is really the best of the best.
The HD playback that this projector offers is so good that it would look absolutely cinematic. You certainly get a wide screen with up to 120 inches of expansion possible, which is large enough to look like it could be projected on a small cinema screen.
However, apart from the quality of the playback that you are going to see with this product, another thing that you are going to love is how stylish this product is. The company has not compromised on style in any way and instead, it has provided you with an extremely high-quality projector that looks absolutely amazing along with being very functional. Hence, in pretty much every respect, this product offers amazing visuals, including the visuals that it gives you with its extremely aesthetic design.
Once again, because the expansion of the video input is so drastic, video quality often drops with the video result often seeming a little grainy because of the depreciation in quality.
The benefits of this product will be most appreciated by someone with a family or large group of friends, as the large screen this product has to offer will ensure everyone gets a good seat.
Native Resolution: 854×480 (480P)
If there is one thing that this projector offers that is unparalleled in the market, it’s the audio quality. Often, when you buy a projector, you are going to have to buy a set of speakers with it too. This is because these projectors don’t come with a built-in sound system and with portable projectors, it is even more uncommon because they tend to be so much smaller than the regular-sized variety, leaving far less room for other accessories. That won’t be the case with this projector.
With this product, you are going to get some pretty incredible sound quality. There are three speakers built in, so as long as you have this product, you would have pretty much everything you might need in order to get the maximum entertainment possible. You can have your own private viewing sessions with a group of close friends in the comfort of your home without needing any other product, which can actually save you a great deal of money in the long run since you would not have to buy anything extra or unnecessary.
You get a lot of customization with focus as well. Out-of-focus videos can be a real annoyance, but with this product, you can avoid these problems altogether. Instead of having to adjust the resolution every time there is a problem, you can set the focus and the device would maintain it without fail.
If you are looking for a budget projector, this product is really not for you. It has pretty much been designed to cater to the group of people that wants to spend more to get more, and the price is prohibitively high.
This is a high-end product that is intended for people looking for the most sophisticated device on the market.
Native Resolution: 480×320 (HVGA)
This is one of the few products on the market that actually offers you the highest levels of portability possible. It is a little larger than other portable projectors on the market, but it is flat, and that helps it take up a lot less space when you are storing it in your bag.
You get some pretty solid speakers with this device. They are definitely good enough to allow you to have your own little viewing sessions with all of your friends. This is useful because it limits the number of things you would have to carry around with you in order to make projecting on the go an easy experience.
You can get quite a wide screen while you are using this device. It has been designed to offer up to sixty inches of projection, which is more than enough to give you the most enjoyable viewing experience possible. While this is not the sort of product that you generally buy for the quality of the video, you are actually getting some pretty incredible video quality as far as the price is concerned, which can aid in your overall viewing experience. The cinematic nature that the display of this device provides is really high quality and makes the price at which it is offered a true bargain.
If you are clumsy, this product is not going to last very long with you at all because it is extremely fragile and will not be able to take any kind of rough treatment whatsoever. The video quality, while high, often reduces at higher screen sizes.
This is an excellent choice for the budget-conscious shopper who wants functionality and style at an affordable price.
Native Resolution: 960×540 (qHD)
If you want a product that provides you with the maximum amount of functionality, this product is exactly what you are looking for. The level of video quality that it provides is beyond question, and it can really allow you to get in tune with the various services you have subscribed to so far. This is because the device has internet compatibility and to top it all off, it supports Android as well!
What you essentially have here is a small, portable smart TV that you can take out at any moment and get some truly amazing results. You can even check social media using this product, which is something that a lot of other projectors are not able to do.
You get the option of connecting this product to a wide variety of devices as well. It can support any kind of device from a laptop to a tablet to even a smartphone. This is a huge advantage because it reduces the number of things that you are going to have to carry around with you while you are going from one place to the next. If you want to be prepared to use your projector when needed, a smartphone is all that you are going to need.
The remote controls on this device are very useful. They allow you to enjoy your movie or TV show from the comfort of your chair; you won’t have to get up time and time again in order to adjust the volume or change the settings.
This is not a cheap product, which means that a lot of people will not be able to afford it. In addition to the high price, you are not getting the amount of aesthetic appeal that you deserve, considering the price that you are paying for this product. The internet connectivity also means that this product is not going to have a very long battery life, which means that you are essentially going to have to keep it connected all the time.
This is the best portable projector because it is perfect for people who are looking for something with all the bells and whistles.