What is technology doing to us? Every day we want to go out and get fit and healthy, we want to eat right and see the world, and we want to catch up with friends in ways that aren’t just a quick What’s up over WhatsApp. The problem is that everyday technology keeps clawing us straight back in determined that we never venture out ever again. This time, it’s marvelous mini projectors which, like Magikarp evolves into Gyarados, have surprised us all with just how incredible the new millennium models are. Long gone are wires, distracting, lethargic whirs of the fan, and all those annoying technical difficulties that your teacher never did figure out. These little devices will fit in the palm of your hand and are great for home theaters, presentations, and education, as well a some more unique ways, too. With that in mind, let us project to you our choices for the best mini projector, and you can clearly see what we mean.
The Best Mini Projectors
The Anker Nebula Capsule mini portable projector is our number one choice for the best you can find. This super lightweight, highly compact, and all-around excellent product is the perfect way to transform that musty old backroom into a home theater that will have the whole neighborhood braying at your door.
With excellent clarity and contrast thanks to the 1000 ANSI lumen level, you can view pictures, videos, and play games in some of the highest quality you’ve ever experienced. Combine this with the built-in 360-degree speakers and you won’t want to watch TV any other way ever again.
Excellent clarity and contrast with 1000 ANSI lumens
Built-in 360 degree speaker
4 hours of continuous playtime
Dedicated app for unlimited control
- Weight1.04 pounds
Looking perhaps the most like your traditional movie projector but without any of the problems associated with ancient models – that we won’t discuss, this is supposed to be a happy place – the LG Minibeam projector has stripped away all of the ugly, frivolous components of the past and revolutionized projector design with this sleek, stylish and incredible modern product.
Using wireless connectivity, it brings projectors marching into the 21st Century and tops it off with HD video capacity of 1280 x 720, as well as Bluetooth audio streaming. The built-in battery can provide over two hours of runtime, which is great for marathoning – although, we suppose it’s called bingeing, now – or for throwing on your favorite movie to relax on the weekends, as long as it’s not the extended Lord of the Rings cut.
HD video capabilities
Bluetooth sound streaming
Up to 550 lumens
- Weight1.43 pounds
The Vankyo Leisure 3 Portable Projector perfectly demonstrates that embracing the past isn’t always such a bad thing. This might not possess the high-tech, futuristic designs of other projectors we’ve picked out, even having actual pushable buttons like it hasn’t realized they went out of style almost a decade ago, but it’s still a very attractive projecting prospect for anyone looking to improve their display game.
Powered by the MStar color engine, the colors have never been more vibrant, and this is technology that has only been released this year, making the Leisure 3 one of the most up-to-date pieces of hardware around. The color engine also provides 60% more brightness than ever before, which is excellent news for everybody, no matter what they want to use it for.
Upgraded color engine provides 60% more brightness
Fan noise suppression system
Wide range of device connectivity including smartphones, consoles, and laptops
Carry bag and tripod included
- ModelLeisure 3
- Weight2.12 pounds
A great little projector that has its own built-in stand that can move either up or down for the best picture, this ViewSonic M1 can be placed anywhere in the room – nearly anywhere, at least – and provide excellent picture quality every time and is ideal for big screen projection. On top of this, the built-in speakers ensure you’re never craning to hear the action, and long-life battery guarantees days of movies, TV, and the occasional dive into the latest console games.
The deal is further sweetened with both an integrated microSD slot and 16GB of internal memory that removes the need for external connections and allows you to keep everything you could ever need right there on the projector. Whether you’re showing holiday videos, your favorite blockbusters, or reminiscing over home movies, you can keep them stored right there.
Small and compact for easy portability and room placement
Integrated microSD slot
16GB internal memory
Up to six hours of independent built-in battery life
- Weight1.52 pounds
Our premium pick for the best pocket projector comes in the small and stylish form of the Optoma ML750. This mini HD projector comes filled with everything little feature you could ever want from a projector, as well as things you may have never before considered. Even though it is tiny – fitting into the palm of your hand – and one of the lightest projectors you can find, it still boasts incredible power and brightness, with models going as high as 1000 lumens.
The HD ready technology makes it ideal for screening all of your favorite videos in the crispest, most high definition possible, but the thing that most caught our eye, and perhaps your too, is the LED light source. That brief sentence might not seem like much, but it means that you’ll never need to replace the lamp, meaning this is a projector that will last you forever.
Palm-sized projector with incredible picture clarity and focus
LED means there’s no need to replace the lamp
Up to 1000 lumens
Lightweight and portable
- Weight12.8 ounces
The ELEPHAS LCD Video Projector is what we consider to be the best small projector in terms of value for money. Purchasing this will not only give your wallet a little bit of breathing room but also provide excellent screening results that might not be too dissimilar from more expensive models.
Featuring high brightness you can rely on it to show up everything you need to in a video and can provide an excellent big screen experience thanks to the possibility of expanding the screen up to 200 inches. Even with this, it still presents a rich, vibrant and natural display, so you can almost feel like you’re right there in the video itself.
High brightness and lumens
Image size expands as far as 200 inches
Rich and natural display
- Weight5 pounds
Like our primate ancestors could be considered the King of the Jungle, this APEMAN DLP Mini Portable Projector could very well be considered the king of the projection industry – even if it doesn’t sound quite as cool. Offering up to 4000 lumens, it’s one of the very brightest we have selected and comes with a host of functions that you’ll go bananas over.
For your convenience, it’s incredibly easy to set up, even an ape could do it, and the multiscreen capabilities allow you to connect via PC, tablet, Blu-Ray player or even Fire Stick to screen your back catalog of favorite sporting victories with ease. Combine this with the Bluetooth Speaker system, and you’re onto a surefire winner.
DLP technology with 4000 lumens
Easy to set up built-in system
Unique Bluetooth speaker function
- Weight1.19 pounds
With the undisputed quality of their photography range, it’s perhaps no surprise that Kodak’s ultra-compact projector is designed with equally high standards in mind. It brings the big screen dreams of the movie theater right into your living room and does so with all the bright lights you’d expect from Tinseltown.
Claiming to be the smallest DLP projector in the entire world, it fits into the palm of your hand, and back of your pocket, without feeling like you’re even holding a projector at all. It even has built-in speakers that will be sure to drown out any popcorn crunching or drink slurping, and there’s also versatile connection possibilities that spread across an array of devices.
Hollywood standard brightness, color accuracy, and picture quality
Smallest DLP Projector in the world fits comfortably in your hand
Versatile connectivity across multiple devices
- Weight10.6 ounces
Containing no less than 27 color-enhancing technologies, the DBPOWER Mini Portable Video Projector should not be discarded so quickly. These technologies combine to bring you incredibly crisp and clear pictures that are 70% brighter and 50% sharper than before. With this, it makes it a go-to for home entertainment that will bring a standing ovation, and that’s even before the show begins.
Along with this, you’ll get as many as 50,000 hours of entertainment, which might just be more than anywhere else, and ensures that reliability and durability that is often left wanting in electronics. As for screen size, you can choose anywhere between 32 inches to 176 inches, and not lose a single iota of clarity.
Contains 27 color enhancing technologies
70% brighter, 50% sharper images
Lumen count of 1800
Connects with computers and smartphones or tablets
- Weight3.04 pounds
Our final mini projector is the AAXA P6 – which makes it better than Ps 1 – 5 – Mini LED Projector. This little guy comes with 600 LED lumens for quality brightness, as well as delivering incredible color technology to make those color essential leap from the screen and into your eyeballs.
It can connect via HDMI cable, via laptop, via console, and via USB, along with many more possibilities. These make it an all-in-one media entertainment system that feels like something out of a sci-fi novel. Its long-lasting battery is begging for you to catch up on your favorite shows, while the LED provides 30,000 hours of entertainment whenever you desire it.
Vibrant color technology
All-in-one media system
Array of connectivity possibilities
High definition native resolution
- BrandAAXA Technologies
- Weight1.2 pounds
Mini Projector Buying Guide and FAQs
Features To Look For In a Mini Projector
If you’re still unsure about which mini pocket projector is the right one for you - because they all look so awesome - here are some things to consider that might sway you one way or another.
Ease of Use - Nobody wants to come home singing about how they’ve bought this awesome new mini projector, invite all their friends, family, old teachers, and boss around to show it off, and then realize they have no idea how to use it. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing? These mini projectors are all relatively easy to use even for people who’ve never seen technology before, but If you’re not the techiest of dudes in the world, then a simple-to-use projector is the one for you. This is also something to think about if you’re buying it as a gift for somebody else.
Resolution - We all know what resolution is. Ranging from 320 to 1080p and then even further to 4K which provide ultra-high definition images, you can display a wide variety of different video qualities on your projector. The higher the resolution, the better the projector will be able to project. This is very important for getting the very most from your videos, ensuring you can play games, watch videos, and even browse in the perfect clarity and sharpness that you’ve come to expect.
Inputs - Do you know how you’re going to project the image? Do you know what device you’re going to connect to the projector? Do you know how? The inputs of your protector are essential in actually making it useful. Otherwise, it just looks like a droid you’d find at any scrapyard in the Star Wars galaxy. Being the 21st century, you can rely on some of the products to connect via Bluetooth, but you don’t always want to rely on Bluetooth, so its important to have a backup. Be sure to check for HDMI input ports, USB ports, micro-USB ports, and even micro-HDMI ports that you can use should Bluetooth fail you, or if you just feel like going old school.
Throw Distance - The throw of the image basically means how far the projection will reach and how wide it will be. This is crucial in finding a projector that will fit inside your screen or wall without losing picture quality, or even parts of the picture itself. With each projector, there is an indication of the throw distance, which might be called the throw ratio, and will help you get a decent idea of where the projector will fit into your home. As a quick frame of references, if the throw ratio is 1.8:1, this means you’ll see an image that is five feet wide when projected on your wall from 9 feet away.
Brightness - The brightness of the projector is achieved through its lumen level and if this level is high, you’ll get a brighter image. Depending on your reasons for buying a projector, you’ll need to consider how bright you need the projector to be. Brighter is better for business scenarios, but for home theater, too much brightness can wash out the colors and eventually hurt everybody’s eyes.
Contrast Ratio - This isn’t something that is majorly important, and for most of you won’t even register when using your projector, but a contrast ratio refers to the difference in light and dark areas that can be produced when watching videos, looking at pictures, or playing games. To get the best picture possible, you might need to do a bit of tweaking to get it perfect, and this could - but probably won’t - vary between videos.
Product Support - Having excellent product support is a must for an electronics product, and finding a projector that offers incredible product support will help you breeze through any issues that could occur when using it. Nobody likes to have to deal with support services, but sometimes there’s no choice, and it’s better to have product support that won’t send you around in circles, keep you on hold for what feels like hours, and is always quick and reliable will save you a lot of stress and headaches.
Usage Tips For Mini Projectors
It’s so exciting that you’ve decided to buy yourself (or someone else) a portable projector. Soon, you’ll be able to host Super Bowl parties, movie nights, Mario Kart tournaments, and even Wrestlemania, if you really want to relive your youth, all without people craning to look small, pathetic pictures on your TV. Before all that though, if you really want to make that purchase go from a great idea to the best idea you’ve ever had (seriously) then check out these helpful usage tips.
1. Learn the Lingo
Lumens? Throw? Project? These are all words that you will do well to understand - if you don’t already - and will allow you to understand advice from the mini projector community (there are dozens of them, we hear). Understanding what each term means will not just make your friends and family look at you like you’re speaking another language, but will also save you hours of time later should something go wrong with your mini projector and the only place you can turn for advice is the internet.
2. The Right Room
Unless you saw Harry Potter and thought his situation at the Dursleys was actually a pretty sweet setup, you’ve probably got a variety of rooms in your home to choose from when it comes to setting up your mini projector. When trying to choose which room you want to convert into a projector room, the one with the widest, tallest wall might be the most appealing, and while this certainly makes sense, you could risk losing brightness, clarity, or sharpness if the projected image needs to stretch too much.
It might also happen that this room isn’t large enough to provide a satisfactory projection experience. The projector might end up too close or too far away, there might be furniture or decor that prevents the perfect projection. Luckily, there’s no time limit on finding the best room, so try a couple out an see how it looks. You’ll soon find that the darker the room, the better.
3. Make the Most of Its Size
Remember the projectors you used to see at school? Those huge, lumbering, relics of technology from decades ago that for some reason were still in use? Your new mini projector is nothing like these - except the actual projecting aspect - and there’s no better way to make realize just how useful and convenient it is than taking advantage of just how small it is.
By fitting in the palm of your hand, you can take this projector anywhere you like. You can move it from room to room in your home, you can take it to friends’ houses, you can take it into the office when you’ve got a big presentation coming up - because we all know the office tech would fail miserably - and with the awesome battery life you can take it to the park and project a showing of some old French film like the hipster you’ve always wanted to be.
Projectors have never possessed such versatility and convenience, so if you just let it sit in one room, only used whenever you come back from vacation, you may as well have bought one of those Stone Age models that your teachers could never really figure out.
4. Screen Or No?
After finally settling on a room to set up your projector - at least for now, anyway - you’ll need to figure out if you want to invest in a screen or simply stick with the wall. Leaving your images to be projected on the wall will save you money, time, and a lot of hassle waiting around for the screen to arrive. You want to start using your projector straight away, after all, so the wall should make do, right?
Eh, yeah but also no. it really depends on the condition of the wall which could have marks or issues that - of course - will only become painfully apparent after you’ve completed your set up. It will also depend on the color of the wall. If it’s white, then you’re onto a winner, but darker colors might interfere with the projected picture, making everything feel a little bit too much like one of those movie theaters, and no one wants that.
This is where a projector screen can come in useful. Designed specifically for this exact purpose, they offer a clean and unmarred surface to project and will save you money on a paint job that the significant other may not be too thrilled about anyway. They also aren’t too expensive and can be folded away for easy storage. If you don’t want to spend money on a screen, then we’re sure a bedsheet could (maybe, perhaps, sort of) do a similar job.
5. Proper Care and Attention
Obviously, you don’t want your projector to suffer any damage, so it’s important that you take as much as you possibly can short of becoming a projector caring obsessive that everyone used to think was pretty cool and easy going but has since gotten a bit weird.
If you’re consistent with your care, it isn’t that laborious of a job. Simply be sure to wipe the lens clean to keep it free from dust if you haven’t used it for a while - although we’re sure you will - and if it comes with a carry case, you can give yourself some extra peace of mind by packing it away after use.
For the best care, you can also place it somewhere it won’t be knocked from its perch. Even with the massive wireless capabilities of these projectors eliminating the risk of wires being tripped over, people can still be careless, so find a solid, stable area to keep it when projecting.
Mini Projector FAQs
Q: What Is A Mini Projector?
A: A mini or miniature projector is a device that you can connect to your computer, tablet, or smartphone to show images or videos on a screen. Much like projectors of the past, it’s used in schools, offices, and at home, but there are some differences.
A mini projector is, of course, smaller, with many modern designs small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. In addition to this, because of the advances of technology and an adoption of wireless control, most of them do not require wires or cables to connect, instead relying on Bluetooth, wifi, or internal storage methods to project whatever you want onto your screen.
Q: What Is The Lamp Life Of A Mini Projector?
A: The lamp life of mini projectors will vary from brand to brand, but you can expect at least 2,000 hours of lamp life from your projector at the very minimum, and it will also depend on how you use it. If you are serious about your projecting hobby, then you can even find projectors with lifespans as long as 5,000 hours, while there are others that boast as much as 20,000.
Q: Can I Connect An iPhone To A Mini Projector?
A: As long as you have a projector that operates alongside an app, or has the input or tools to connect your iPhone, then you absolutely can connect it to a mini projector. The majority of mini projectors will be advanced enough to operate using Bluetooth or wireless technology, and if they don’t then you may still be able to connect using a USB cable. If connecting your iPhone to look at pictures, videos, or even to stream content is a high priority, be sure to check the product you’re buying to make sure it will work.
Q: What Is A Good Lumen Level For A Mini Projector?
A: As mentioned before, the higher the lumen level, the brighter your images will be, so looking for a projector with a high enough lumen level to give you a picture you can actually see is very useful. Despite this, there’s no official ‘best’ lumen level. Instead, there are lumen levels that suit your situation. We said earlier how different scenarios will require different lumens, so consider exactly what you’re using your projector for before rushing out to by the projector with the highest lumen count.
To be on the safe side, though, buying a projector with at least 1000 lumens will give you enough brightness so that you can actually see the image without also washing out other colors that could impact its effectiveness. This will also work in a number of different situations if you’re planning on using it as often as you can.
Q: What Is Lens Shift And Why Would I Want It?
A: A gift from above for the lazy, or at least a gift for those that once they’re sat down means they don’t have to move all that much until the video is over. A lens shift allows you to move the image without physically moving the projector. This gives you the opportunity to move the image until it is in the perfect position and helps to adjust any cut of frames against walls or screens without shifting the whole projector half an inch one way, a quarter inch the other.
It's very useful, if perhaps not always necessary, and these projectors are so light and small that it may not matter anyway. It’s always better to have and not need then to need and not have, though, so it might be worth investigating.