Pocket-projectors reach store shelves

UC Davis students are quite accustomed to living in cramped dorms and apartments. Many pass on the thought of purchasing a big screen TV either due to the price or a lack of space. Instead, most try to make the best of what they own.

Using laptops and portable media players are excellent candidates for entertainment but it’s still quite a feat to share a small screen with more than a person or two. Fortunately, 3M has come to the rescue, introducing the MPro120, a pocket-sized battery-powered projector which can turn any empty wall into a big screen.

The MPro120 Pocket Projector is just an inch thick and four inches tall, about the size of a slightly bulky Apple iPhone. Just connect a compatible device such as an iPod Touch, netbook, laptop or any other device capable of outputting video. Turn it on and just as any projector would, the MPro120 will display any video on a screen of 50 inches. This includes iTunes movie downloads, TV shows from Hulu.com and even YouTube clips.

With a battery life of nearly four hours, the pocket projector will easily last through an entire movie before it runs out of juice. Plus, the built-in stereo speakers help complete the entire make-shift theater experience.

The downside? There are quite a few: the quality, brightness and price. While it may project an image the size of a 50 inch TV, the resolution is only a fraction of that found on an expensive HDTV. Although the sensor is perfect for a dark room, it’s still a bit difficult to view comfortably in bright places. And finally, it will run you around $300 to pick one up today.

The 3M MPro120 is an innovative idea and its compact size makes it excellent for cramped living arrangements and travel. However, while it definitely has a “cool factor,” it still could use some work. Unless you have the cash to spend, the rest of us might want to wait for a newer iteration that resolves some issues and becomes more affordable.

SAHAS KATTA can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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