Portable Pico Projectors
Pico projectors come in all shapes and sizes, with some even available as modular attachments for your smartphone. They exist to fill the niche for those who want the ability to project content directly from their phone or tablet to make it easier to share photos or watch movies with friends. Our top recommendation is the LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector because it uses a reliable and efficient LED lamp to cast up to 100-inch diagonal projections and can connect to virtually any media playing device you own — all while remaining portable enough to take with you wherever you go.
Best Overall: LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector
LG’s portable projector lets you cast a screen up to 100 inches to replicate a movie theater experience in your home, at the office, or wherever else the mood strikes you.
The LED lamp offers brightness of 550 lumens when plugged in and 160 lumens running off the battery. The built-in wireless mirroring function works with Android smartphones and tablets, and there’s also HDMI or AV composite inputs for connecting computers, along with direct input for an over-the-air antenna or cable.
Alternatively, you can use the USB port for flash drives loaded with media files. While the built-in speakers are good enough for private viewing, you’ll want to make use of the Bluetooth support for audio output for watching with bigger groups.
- 2.5 hours with internal battery
- Clean and sleek design
- Protective carrying pouch
- HDMI, Digital TV Tuner, Composite (AV) and RGB inputs
- Wirelessly connects to Android devices and Bluetooth devices
- 550 Lumens won’t cut it in well-lit rooms.
- Power switch location is less than ideal
- Built-in speaker is underwhelming
A portable projector you can rely on
LG has produced a projector that can be connected to practically any device you own via wireless or wired connections.
Best Value: VAMVO Mini Projector
Measuring in at just 3 inches by 5.8 inches, this projector from VAMVO is compact enough to fit in your front pocket (if you have a proper pocket, that is). It’s capable of projecting up to 130 inches diagonally and features some smart design choices.
The on/off switch is built into the lens cover so that the lamp is always protected when not in use, and the input ports are located on the side for easier access. This projector features a 5,200mAh internal battery and ships with a remote control and mini tripod. Like a lot of the projectors on this list, you’ll want to connect another speaker to it, since the built-in one is underwhelming and sounds tinny. However, there’s no wireless connectivity.
- 1800 Lumens LED lamp is plenty bright
- Lightweight and easy to travel with
- Ingenious power switch design protects lamp when not in use
- Inputs for HDMI, USB, and microSD
- Includes remote control and mini tripod
- No wireless connectivity
- No keystone correction
- Built-in speaker sound is tinny
Best bang for your buck
When you compare the features and prices of the projectors on our list, VAMVO simply offers the best value for a pocket-friendly projector.
Best Short Throw: ASUS S1 LED Pocket Projector
This pocket projector from ASUS is small and mighty, and with a 6,000mAh rechargeable battery, it also doubles as a power bank to keep your mobile devices charged.
It uses advanced DLP technology and short-throw projection to create a bright 41-inch screen from just one meter away or up to a 100-inch screen from 3 meters away in a darker room. There’s an HDMI/MHL port in the back that lets you plug in your laptop or video game console, while MHL includes native support for most Samsung and Apple devices. One of the biggest downsides, howeer, is that it has no wireless connectivity or Bluetooth audio support.
- Compact size with huge internal battery
- Palm-sized and lightweight
- Easy to set up and use
- Doubles as a power bank
- Requires a dark room for larger screen sizes
- No wireless connectivity or Bluetooth audio support
Best Short Throw
Short-throw projector with a big battery
ASUS offers a light and compact projector that’s easy to set up and use from a short distance. The massive internal battery can also charge your phone.
Best Built-in Sound: Anker Nebula Capsule II
From Anker comes the Nebula Capsule II, a portable projector that is one of the more unique projectors on the list. While it’s not as easy to slip into your pocket, it is still compact and comparable to a can of soda.
As the name suggests, the Nebula Capsule II is the second in the line of can-sized projectors that have been designed with a sturdy base and include a 360-degree speaker. This one runs on Android 9.0, which means you get access to most of your favorite streaming apps like YouTube, Hulu, and Twitch, along with Google Assistant and Chromecast capabilities baked right in. Beyond the inclusion of built-in Android software, there’s also HDMI input as well as a USB dongle for loading up your favorite media on a flash drive.
- Award-winning design looks cool as hell
- Runs on Android 9.0
- 360-degree sound is impressive for size
- Super easy to set up and use
- Up to 4 hours of video playback
- Doubles as a speaker
- Some issues with app availability on Google Play Store
- Might not be as portable as other options
- Expensive compared to older option
Best Built-in Sound
A can-sized projector for any situation
The cylinder design here is unique compared to the other products on our list. It looks downright futuristic sitting on your coffee table.
Best for Portability: Kodak Ultra Mini Portable Projector
Kodak offers a palm-sized projector that is capable of projecting an image up to 100 inches diagonally at 1080p HD quality. You’re free to plug in a microSD or USB drive filled with media or plug in your preferred video game console, PC, or anything else that uses HDMI.
Along with an on-board media player and built-in speakers, you get a 3.5mm input jack for plugging in headphones or your own set of speakers. There’s a standard tripod mount on the bottom and the whole thing is powered by an internal battery that delivers up to two hours and is rechargeable via microUSB.
- Ultra compact size
- Includes on-board media player
- Vertical keystone correction lets you cast onto any surface
- 25 Ansi lumens brightness is lacking
- No HD resolution
- No wireless connectivity
Best for Portability
A supremely portable projector
Measuring in at just 3 square inches, this is the most compact projector that’s also available at a great price.
Best All-In-One: AAXA Technologies P300 Pico Projector
The AAXA P300 is a fully capable projector that includes a built-in media player and convenient controls right on top. It uses a 500 LED Lumen optical engine to deliver a native 1280×800 HD resolution at up to 120 inches diagonally. The lithium-ion battery gets you over an hour of presentation time running, while the included power supply is available for movie binging.
You’re able to connect virtually any device using the HDMI, VGA, microSD, composite AV, and a USB port that can read flash drives and external hard drives via the media player. In that way, it really provides all you need from a portable projector with the flexibility to run media off a laptop or more portable storage devices. It would also function well as a more permanent projector left plugged in at home.
- Portable and professional design
- LED lamp is more efficient with no warm up time
- Easy to set up and use anywhere
- Up to 120-inch projections
- Battery life is not as long as others
- Brightness goes down while running on battery
- No Keystone adjustment
A complete package
The P300 offers everything needed to pull off an effortless business presentation and then transition to a movie theater experience at home.
Pico projectors are not for everyone, but once you’ve gotten a taste of life with one, it’s pretty hard to turn back. They let you conveniently share photos at a backyard party or let you save a rainy camping trip with an impromptu movie night projected right onto the side of your tent. Depending on the portability of the one you buy, you could easily keep it in any bag and be ready to project your laptop for any occasion.
The LG projector is our top pick, but we’d be remiss without giving a closing nod to the Anker Nebula Capsule II which is an obvious stand out around these parts because it runs on Android, meaning you can stream content from your favorite apps with just a Wi-Fi connection or cast from your phone using Chromecast.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Marc Lagace is the Apps and Games Editor at Android Central. He’s been a gamer for most of his life and actually took a university course on Video Game Theory — which he aced! You can reach out to him on Twitter @spacelagace.
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