Category Archives: Micro Projector

Update on micro projector technology

Save the Chalk and Markers, the TouchJet Pond is Here

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With the way the world is advancing these days, it’s no surprise that technology continues to expand its reach. TouchJet made a huge leap in the technological realm recently, introducing their ‘Pond’ product, a portable pico projector that has the ability to turn any flat surface into an interactive Android touchscreen. This can have huge implications for business professionals and families alike, as it eliminates the need to invest in large projector screens or interactive whiteboards, which usually cost around the 3k mark. The TouchJet Pond is set to cost roughly $760.  TouchJet has raised nearly $900,000 in pre-sales through the crowd-funding site IndieGoGo in 2014.

How Does It Work?

So, what makes the TouchJet Pond unique? For starters, it has an inbuilt system running Android 4.4, making the interface very familiar for Android users. More importantly, TouchJet aims to remove the need for an HDMI adapter, as they utilize a microUSB port for ease of connection with any Android smartphone. It comes packed with a WVGA resolution (854×480), measuring at 3 x 11 x 10cm, and weighing just 300g. It comes complete with two styluses, components that make possible a virtual touch screen.

Upon projecting the desired content, pressing the stylus onto the projection surface activates the IR transmitter, which then gets decoded and turns the signal into a touch input. Calibrating the receiver using a pre-installed app makes the taps on the projection feel very responsive. Additionally, using other apps that rely on touches (i.e. whiteboard or drawing software) gives users the feel of actually writing.

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Now, it’s important to mention how the interactive features actually operates. The IR receiver relies on line of sight, so users must be cautious to not stand directly in front of the projection source when writing/drawing on the surface. Unfortunately, this means users must stand off to the side, which might create an uncomfortably awkward situation. This can be a slight setback, but another feature overshadows this aspect. If the projection surface is a textured wall, users can still utilize the interactive feature without having contorted lines by pressing a button on the stylus. Users will then be able to hover right above the projection surface without touching it.
The Pond features an 80 Lumen LCD lamp, which is not really the most impressive feature. However, TouchJet claims to have placed the product at varying distances from different surfaces and were able to nail down adequate image qualities. They do recommend, however, that users choose a flat, white surface to optimize image quality. It boasts a 20,000 hour lamp life, about four times that of many traditional lamp projectors. There is an economy mode that makes it capable to run for up to two hours. It’s important to note that the brightness level goes down to about 50 Lumens in this setting.
A Bluetooth remote controls the onscreen cursor, while the IR remote emulates keystrokes. Users can also control the Pond using their own Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. You will also have the option to connect a regular USB keyboard or mouse into the microUSB port through an included microUSB to female USB adapter.
Additional features are built-in WiFi, Bluetooth connectivity, a microUSB port, miniHDMI, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The internal speakers are not very powerful, so users are advised to acquire a separate Bluetooth speaker.

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What To Take Away

All in all, the TouchJet Pond is a great alternative to traditional interactive whiteboard systems. However, its limitations come in the form of the lack of brightness, fair resolution, and the limitations of its IR system. However, it is a perfect portable tool for business professionals and families seeking a great interactive multimedia experience. Although it is a revolutionary product that is taking steps in the right direction, it remains to be seen whether or not other electronics powerhouses will follow in their footsteps.

Asus’ E1Z Pico Projector Promises No More HDMI Adapters

Do you ever find yourself annoyed with the fact that you have to buy additional accessories and complementary tools to maximize the use of a product? For example, purchasing a projector doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you can open it right out of the box and display whatever you want. Often times consumers will find that they need additional cables and adapters to display a projection from their electronic devices. Sure, projectors these days come in compact sizes and are very portable, but the fact that the inputs require users to have an adapter of some sort readily available poses a red flag for some. Most pico projectors today have HDMI inputs, which then require adapters if users are to display multimedia content from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. In a way, this can defeat the purpose of convenience, and ultimately introduces a problem with the product’s pitch.

It seems as though Asus understands this issue, as they recently introduced their latest product–the E1Z, an LED projector that links to an Android device solely through a microUSB connection. They’re calling this “the world’s first.”

 

What To Expect

Interestingly, Asus has not yet revealed intricate specs such as the brightness, resolution, and the product’s availability. What we do know is that it boasts a 100% NTSC color gamut and a full RGB color spectrum support, both of which should create a vivider video-watching and game-playing experience. It can also serve as a 6,000 mAh charge station, as it has a rechargeable battery. The E1Z will most likely be around $200, as informed by Engadget.

The real question here lies in how the E1Z compares to its competitors. Yes, it does feature a microUSB connection, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a revolutionary product. Sure, it provides users with an easy connection method, but users can get a substantially better experience with a different product using an HDMI adapter.

Assuming the E1Z is sold at $200, Asus looks to be putting out an affordable and easy-to-use projector for the traveling family or the entertainment enthusiast. It’ll definitely be a product worth experimenting with. Whether or not other competitor companies will follow in Asus’ direction of developing an adapter-free projector remains to be seen!

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Beam, a projector that you won’t even know is there.

We’re always checking out kickstarter and indiegogo for cool new projector technology looking for funding.  Recently a projector showed up that is definitely out of the ordinary.

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The Beam, an android powered pico projector disguised as a lightbulb.  If you didn’t know what this product was you would almost look right past it.

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The creators of beam skipped the usual battery requirement that is expected of most picos and instead gave it the ability to be screwed in and powered to any regular light bulb socket.  This gives the unit a constant 120v power source that doesn’t leave the user wishing that they were more mobile.  This goes well with the basic idea of the beam as the unit is meant to be stationary and almost forgotten like a light bulb is.  One of the main ways that they get away with this is the application that integrates with the android OS installed on the Beam.

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As you can see, the beam has access to most of the same apps that you can get on any android device via the android market.  But more importantly you can see the app that integrates directly with the projector.

The projector works mostly through if/and statements just like in programming which allows you to make different scenarios that almost make it so that you don’t have to interface with the projector.

You can give it scenarios where there are certain people in the house (determined through bluetooth), certain times, etc that allow the projector to display relevant information without you even telling it to.

As shown in the image above, the beam also includes “LED mode” which lets the beam act as a normal light bulb and not interfere with your home’s lighting scheme.

Currently there are not specs released on the beam but as the unit is very small the performance is not amazing as you would expect from a lightbulb sized unit.

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The usage for a unit of this power would most likely be for personal use in the dark or for information displays in offices, however we still think its really cool and also very honest of the company to show the true performance of a unit this size.

When more information on the beam is released we will update with another post on its full potential but until then check out their kickstarter page and consider backing this project to help make sure that it sees the light of day.

 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/beamlabsinc/beam-the-smart-projector-that-fits-in-any-light-so?ref=nav_search

 

Pico Projector Market to be worth $9.32B by 2020

In a new market research report by MarketsandMarkets, the pico projector market is estimated to reach $9.32B by 2020, growing at a rate of 39.82% from 2014 to 2020.

The market is growing steadily due to increased demand for these products, the implementation we’ve seen in the past year in tablets and smartphones are driving growth, including new products from the usual AAXA, 3M, etc.

Another area of the market that pico projectors have found themselves in is aerospace, defense, automotive (Heads-Up Displays), business, education, healthcare, and even retail.

The major constraints right now on the pico projector market are a few things, brightness and safety, safety being mainly concerned with laser-based projectors.

We’re excited for the market to grow even more, we’ll always be here to bring you the latest in pico projector news.

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Altec Lansing makes a projector that looks kind of familiar.

Altec Lansing has been around for a very long time (79 years to be exact) and we’re sure that almost everyone has had one of their speaker products at some point whether they were purchased at a store, included with a computer, or even put into a car stereo system.  This is why we were surprised when we caught wind that the same company was going to be releasing a pico projector, and one with a mono 1w speaker at that.  Today we’re going to be doing some coverage on this projector and giving you all the details about if this unit is worth it.

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As you can see, the projector is very plain.  It’s a small white unit with buttons on the side which is a design we’ve seen from many other pico projector manufacturers.  A great example is the AAXA Technologies LED pico:

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Code named the PJD-5134 the Altec Lansing made projector does have some impressive specifications for its size, despite its likelihood to the LED pico.  It sports a 135 lumen optical engine, 4000 MhA battery capable of 60 minutes, and a resolution of 854×480 which is actually starting to be considered low for pico projectors although at it’s small size we cannot complain.

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Speaking of its small size, as you can see from the image above, the PJD-5134 is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, which also means that it will fit nicely into pockets, purses, briefcases, and laptop cases just as well.

Currently however all of these great features come at a pretty high cost of $449.  This is a price that we definitely think is going to need to come down for anyone to actually pick this product up off the shelf.  Especially when you can get up to 550 lumens off other models for that price.

We haven’t been able to get one of these units in yet to test but it’s definitely something that we’re looking to do in the future if possible. For now you can check it out for yourself by ordering over at Amazon.com, we’ll post a link below to the listing.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S1K3A7G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00S1K3A7G&linkCode=as2&tag=picoprojector-20&linkId=IITYJUWWZAH3C3DF

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Projector Showdown: AAXA P300 vs Incredisonic PMJ-400

Incredisonic recently released a new projector on the market, the PMJ-400.  We don’t blame you if you haven’t heard of this brand of projectors before, although they’ve been manufacturing different electronics for awhile this is actually their first projector ever, and we have to say that it is a pretty good start.  To see how Incredisonics first ever projector compares to the rest of the market we have decided to do a showdown between it and one of the more popular pico projectors that has been on the market for some time now, the AAXA P300.  Both projectors are similar in size, specs, and features so we’re really interested in how this is going to go down, we’re going to be covering everything from brightness to boot-up time and also a detailed spec by spec break down to completely show how each of these projectors compare.

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Specs:

PMJ-400 P300
Lumens 400 300
Light Source LED LED
Native Resolution 1280×800 1280×800
Max Resolution 1920×1080 1920×1080
Max Image Size 1920×1080 120 Inch
Contrast Ratio 2000:1 2000:1
Audio 1 x 3w Mono Speaker 2 x 1w Stereo Speakers
Weight 1.5 Lbs 1.3 Lbs
Size 5.90″(L) x 4.25″(W) x 1.77″(H) 5.90″(L) x 3.8″(W) x 1.5″(H)
Optional Battery No Yes
Focus Manual Manual
Keystone Yes (Automatic) Yes (Manual)
Inputs HDMI, VGA, Composite, 3.5mm Audio Out, USB HDMI, Mini-VGA, Composite, 3.5mm Audio Out, USB, SD Card
Price  $499.95  $419.00

So as you can see, these projectors are very similar in almost every aspect, it looks like the incredisonic is claiming a slightly higher lumen count than the AAXA and the P300 is claiming better sound and a smaller package.  Specs aren’t everything though, we wanted to see how these two units really performed so we brought one of each in and put them head to head in a test to see which unit actually looked better.

Comparison:

The first thing that we noticed right out of the box about the two units is how equal in size they are.  When set next to each other its almost hard to determine which unit is actually smaller however from the spec sheet we know that the AAXA is negligibly smaller.  Another thing we noticed was weight difference.  You wouldn’t think that .2 of a pound would make a large difference in how heavy the unit feels but we found that it really does when its in your hand.  Is it going to stop you from throwing either one in your bag and taking it with you?  Definitely not and we doubt you would notice the difference however when you’re holding each one the incredisonic is definitely heavier.  As far as cosmetic details go we really liked both designs, the black on white P300 has a certain classy-ness to it while the gold on black design of the incredisonic paired well with each other,  both have glossy tops and similar button layouts.

Both units included the cables we needed to hook it up to basically anything we needed minus an HDMI cable, however it is very common for projectors not to include an HDMI cable now-a-days so thats not something that bothered us.  We wanted to see exactly how the picture of these two units compared so we put them on their tripods and loaded up the new Star Wars trailer onto USB sticks and set them to see just what they looked like.

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As you can see, although these projectors are close in specifications, they do not even come close to producing the same image.

Before anyone says that that the projectors are at different angles, we would like to state that they are actually at exactly the same distance from the wall in this image.  The AAXA P300 has a slightly better throw ratio which allows it to create a larger image at the same distance as the PMJ-400.

In addition, the color temperature on the PMJ-400 seems to have bit too much green in it which is especially noticeable in the skin tones of the actor and in the sand.  Now, to be fair, these tests were conducted straight out of the box with no calibration, we’re sure that the Incredisonic could look better given some adjustments but we were impressed that the AAXA “just worked” right out of the box.  The Contrast ratio seems to be very similar and we’re thinking that both units are correct in their claim of 2000:1.

The sound quality of the units are almost identical, the AAXA has two 1 watt speakers which do offer high quality audio but at a low volume and the incredisonic has one 3 watt speaker that allows for slightly higher volume but reduced audio quality.  All in all wed say that the audio for either unit is not a selling point.

Lastly, the brightness, even on the menu it’s clear that these two units are very, very close in brightness.  We actually already know that the P300’s claim at 300 lumens is accurate as we have previously reviewed this unit and put it up to the light meter test, that being said we’re pretty sure that the incredisonic’s claim of 400 lumens can’t be fully correct.  When you put two projectors with different brightness-es next to each other the difference between the two becomes very obvious, as you can see in the picture the brightness looks almost the same between the two units.  Since we have confirmed the brightness of the P300 we can safely assume that the PMJ-400 is actually closer to 300 lumens than it is 400.

Other than that the units were both very easy to use and had similar start-up times of about 7-10 seconds which is very impressive, our only gripe was that the PMJ-400 does not have a dedicated “back” button for use in the media player and menus, this was easy to work around by using the remote or navigating to the menu and then out of it but we thought having the button would have been a nice touch.

We made a video comparing the video quality of both units so that you can see them in action both with a live action video and animation for yourself.


Pros and Cons:

PMJ-400:

Pros:

– Higher Volume

– Focus knob instead of wheel

-Automatic Keystone

Cons:

– Color Temperature needs to be adjusted out of the box

– Brightness is lower than expected

– Lower audio quality

– No SD card support

P300:

Pros:

-Better audio quality

-Color temperatures are realistic out of the box

-Has a “back” button for ease of use

-Supports SD Cards

Cons:

-Quieter audio

-Manual Keystone

Summary:

After reviewing both of these projectors we have to say that we can’t find a whole lot that is different about them.  The AAXA does seem to have a slightly better image quality and a better throw ratio but the PMJ-400 is not bad by any means.  The PMJ-400 does feature full-sized inputs which is nice but since AAXA includes all needed cables to use the projector we didn’t find the smaller ports on the P300 to be an issue.  The sound quality, build quality, weight, and size of the units all seem to be almost identical.

We think the biggest con here is that the PMJ-400 comes in at $80 over the P300, and with the brightness being almost identical we don’t if it would be worth the price.  Don’t get us wrong, for incredisonic’s first venture into the market of projectors it was a great first try and we’re excited to see what they come out with in the future although we do think that for this product to be able to compete in the market it definitely needs to be priced lower.

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ZTE SPro2 Pico Projector offered exclusively on AT&T

ZTE has been a staple of CES over the past few years, slowly iterating on it’s hotspot-projector combo options always showing up.  The SPro2 is their latest iteration and it brings a number of improvements to the device.  They’ve upped pretty much every spec you can find on the device, it offers 200 Lumens, with a 1280×720 resolution.  The battery is a 6,300 mAH battery, which should provide a lot of room for keeping it charged for hours at a time.  The hotspot built-in is slightly improved as well, offering 4G LTE connectivity with support for up to 10 WiFi devices.

A device like this is a lifesaver for business customers, giving them the freedom and flexibility to do a presentation anywhere, anytime.  The 200 lumens should be bright enough for a small presentation in a moderately lit room, while the Android system onboard and LTE connectivity give it flexibility to download presentations and play them back with ease.

The Android system is a fairly standard system, it has Google Play built-in meaning you can download any app you might have on your phone or tablet, offering TONS of options for playing back content.

The SPro2 also has an HDMI input for when you need a full sized laptop to do a presentation from.  The hotspot built-in is a great tool for anyone on the go as it gives you connectivity in almost any situation.

AT&T hasn’t announced pricing or availability for this yet but we expect it to be within $400-$550 and available probably Q2 of 2015.

We think this will be a solid device, but only if it lives up to the brightness and feature set they claim, we’ll get our hands on one as soon as their available.

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ODIN, a bluetooth speaker? a pico projector? Both? lets find out.

Audio/Visual presentations in the past were things that you not only needed large bulky equipment for but also something that had a very limited use and needed someone to run while the presenter was up giving the presentation.  More recently things like Bluetooth remotes and smart mice have allowed presenters to at least control the input source for the presentation remotely reducing the need for a person sitting at a desk running the whole thing.  The ODIN smart projector however takes these problems and provides a solution to every one of them in a compact, battery powered package that can easily be taken anywhere you need to go to make your presentation.

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The first thing we’d like to point out is that the ODIN is not the first android powered Pico projector, in fact it’s far from it.  There have been a handful of android powered Pico projectors that have been offered in multiple levels of brightness and portability.   Some of the more notable ones would be the AAXA LED Android which is a unit that sports the highest brightness by far at 550 lumens but does lack a battery and therefore is not as portable, the FAVI A3-Wifi which does have a battery and is ultraportable, however is LCOS and only runs at 30 lumens therefor making it very dim, and lastly the “Lightplay” smart Pico projector which is only slightly brighter than the A3 at 50 lumens, but has a larger body.  All of these smart projectors give you a similar experience where you can use the projector to download apps from the google play store, connect a mouse or keyboard, and has things like Bluetooth and WIFI connectivity.  Another thing they all have in common is that they tend to sport slower hardware similar to older tablets, making the android experience a bit laggy on all of the models we have tried out.

So, what makes the ODIN different?  Well first of all, the ODIN uses DLP technology from Texas Instruments just like the LED android from AAXA.  This is generally considered a higher quality imaging source than LCOS because it is very sharp and has a good vibration reduction which allows the image to stay sharp even if there are vibrations around the projector and also help keep moving images more in focus.  Most of the time DLP is used in larger projectors just due to the size of the imaging unit and due to the fact that LCOS is cheaper and easier to accomplish in small applications, using DLP in a extremely mobile projector like the ODIN is nice because it still gives you that awesome picture experience that DLP offers but in a small easy to carry, battery powered package.

Another thing that is really cool about the ODIN is it’s built in stand.  This stand allows you to basically have the ODIN at any angle when you are using it, you can stand it up vertically, or even just adjust the height of the image while it’s horizontal.  Although a stand on a projector also is not news they are generally small screw like units that you need to manually adjust to get the image at the right level position.  With the ODIN there is no adjusting of feet or anything like that, you simply lift the projector to where you need it and that’s it.  Although the stand that it offers is impressive, one major downside to the ODIN is the lack of a 1/4” screw mount on the bottom for hooking it up to a projector.  I know you may be thinking why would you need a tripod mount on a projector that already has such a nice stand and our answer to that is no matter how good the stand is on the projector, odds are you’re going to run into a situation during its usage where you need to put it in a position that the built in stand can’t support and you’ll be wishing you could just hook it up to a tripod and go.

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The ODIN also claims to be even more multi-functional by declaring that it is also a Bluetooth speaker.  While we do understand that the functionality is there for it to act as one we’re more interested in the actual quality of the sound.  With two 4 watt speakers and no sub we’re wondering if the ODIN is really going to sound better than a cellphone when playing music.  Either way it’s definitely a cool feature and innovative use of the Bluetooth functionality in the projector but it’s definitely not going to offer anywhere near the same sound quality as the beats pill or something of the sorts.

As for the specs of the projector, they are really nothing too special, it has a Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 running at 1.6GHz and 2GB of DDR memory which again is a lot less than even the common cellphone has.  Obviously we haven’t tested this to confirm but we feel it’s going to require a light android build for it to remain snappy and functional to offer an enjoyable android experience.  Even if it is laggy however having the android OS built into the projector does bring about some awesome possibilities.  People who use computers lightly or just for office work may find that a product like this could literally replace their computer and allow them to have a functional CPU that they can take anywhere and display much larger than any laptop you could buy.  Here is a full list of the specs that the projector offers so that you can compare them with other models for yourself:

OPTICAL TECHNOLOGY

  • Display Technology: 0.3″ DMD (Direct Micromirror Display)
  • Light Source: LED (RGB)
  • Resolution: WVGA (854 x 480)
  • Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
  • Throw Ratio: 1.66:1 (meter)
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • LED Life: 20,000 hours
  • 115 Lumens ANSI
  • Size: 25″ @ 1 yard to Infinity
  • Manual focus

INTERNALS

  • Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9, 1.6GHz
  • Android Operating System 4.4 KitKat
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • Wi-Fi (B/G/N)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 16GB Internal Memory

All of the technical stuff aside, the ODIN seems like a great product that is definitely going to make room for its self in the Pico market.  The price-point may be a bit high at $525 for pre-order and $675 once it’s fully in production so we’re curious to see how many people will actually go out and buy one of these.  Especially when you can get a model like the LED android for only $449 and while you may be sacrificing sound quality and battery power you would be getting a unit over 5 times brighter.  Once the ODIN is out we will most likely be doing a full review on it so stay tuned to see more on this awesome product.

 

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DLP 0.47″ TRP Full-HD chip on the horizon, what does this mean for picos?

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When it comes to pico projectors, Texas Instrument’s DLP technology dominates the market.  Although technologies like LCOS and Laser are still available, most major companies are making the move over to DLP due to reduced cost, increased image quality, and increased brightness.  As far as pico projectors go Texas instruments uses the same type of chip used in their cinema projectors just scaled down majorly to fit into a pico projector, this architecture is called TRP.   TRP has been around for a while but for a good amount of time now has only been capable of producing a 720p image, which needed to be scaled if the projector was going to produce a 1080p image.  The new TRP Full-HD chip can display 1080p natively without any scaling and is still the same size as the older chip.  To give you an idea of what kind of sizes we are talking about, here is a TRP chip next to a DLP chip for a cinema projector:

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And to give you even more size comparison, here is the same chip next to some everyday objects:

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The 0.47” TRP full HD chip doesn’t only bring new image resolutions to the game, it also can work up to 100 percent brighter and up to 50 percent more power efficient than its predecessor.  Talk about a jump in specs the new chip is already lined up to be the main chip used in all pico projectors by 2015.  Currently TI has a proprietary optical engine that includes the TRP Full-HD chip available but as with all of TI’s other optical engines; it does come at an increased price.

Third party companies are already starting to produce optical engines using the new chip and are all slated to start rolling out some time in 2015.  For the average user or small company, the chip will start being available on the TI store in smaller evaluation quantities and in larger quantities from TI authorized dealers in early 2015 which means that by 2016 we’re most likely going to see a jump in pico projectors from lower resolutions to mostly 1080p.

Now for the detailed stuff, the .47-inch chip sports a 1920×1080 array of aluminum mirrors in what’s called an “orthogonal layout” which is a fancy way of saying that all of the mirrors are at right angles to each-other.  On a flat surface, each mirror has a tilt range of 5.4 microns; this small movement is what allows the chip to control the color of the pixels in the image.  The movement of the mirrors are controlled by electrical signals and move on tiny hinges and yokes that allow the 5.4 microns of movement, with small cushions on the edges to protect them:

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The chip features side illumination for efficiency in brightness and to reduce the physical size of the chip.  All of the mirrors are polarized, which allows for less glare and better light management. There is also a 32-bit SubLVDS data bus available to the imaging unit for fast transfer speeds.  It’s really crazy to think that all of these features are packed into tiny mirrors that individually are less than the size of a human hair.

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So as you can see, Texas instruments has taken all factors into account with this chip and improved it in ways that we didn’t even know were possible.  We’re really excited to see what kinds of products this chip can help make and also where this will take the Pico projector market.  This also opens up the door to even higher definition chips that are clearly in the future for Texas instruments.  It most likely won’t be long before we see the first 2k or 4k pico projector chip on its way out of production from TI, but until then, enjoy the new line of smaller, brighter, and more efficient 1080p pico projectors that are on their way out of development.

New Projector Tablet – Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 Review

Recently, Lenovo released the newest member of the Yoga Tablet line, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro.  A new type of tablet targeted at professionals on the move that need to be able to set up and give a presentation quickly and effectively.  There are a few major differences with this tablet that make it stand out from the other ones on the market currently.  The first, and one of the main marketing points on the tablet for Lenovo is the integrated Pico Projector, the tablet has a round base where the battery, projector, and power button are located, and this round part also has additional functionality as the stand for the projector when it is in stand up mode.  The tablet also sports a HUGE 13” screen at an awesome resolution for HD viewing, this screen is so big that it almost feels like you’re using a touch screen desktop.  The aluminum body of the tablet only helps to make the product feel solid and well made, however with this comes a lot of additional weight.  All of these features add up to make a solid product that could help most professionals (or even those who just want a sweet tablet) get things done faster and more effectively, so without further ado let’s get onto the review of this unusual tablet.
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Size and Usability:

With a screen clocking in at 13.3” no one can call this tablet small, in fact as far as tablets go this thing is a behemoth clad in an aluminum body that brings the weight of the device to a whopping 2 pounds which for a handheld device can start to get heavy after a while.  The huge screen allows for a huge keyboard, which really helps when using the tablet, it’s so big that it almost feels like using a normal keyboard on a desktop or laptop and it’s crisp resolution of 2560 x 1440 allows for a clear image no matter what size image you are viewing.  It’s an IPS display to boot which means it’s got a good response time and good color temperatures, the touch sensing technology is capacitive which means you get a nice smooth glass feel to the screen and that there is a much lower chance of scratching the screen.

The body of the tablet is designed very well, the cylindrical hinge at the bottom of the unit is the heaviest part of the unit and is generally the surface that the tablet will sit on while in use.  The hinge used is made of aluminum and is very rigid to the body of the tablet, this makes it very hard to move but is also a good thing because when the tablet is sitting up straight it allows for easy typing and no movement of the tablet when the screen is touched (a common issue with stand cases for tablets).

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One thing we’d like to point out is that this is no Nexus 7, you aren’t going to be using this with one hand, in fact you’ll probably be cradling it in one arm while using it due to its large size and weight, we found it very uncomfortable to hold in a standing position for more than 5 minutes at a time, at that point we found ourselves opening up the stand and setting this beast down.

The sound is an 8w UBL speaker located on the back of the projector which produces great sound, actually the best we’ve ever heard out of a tablet, for the first time ever bass tones are audible and the treble is clear and crisp.  This may be due to the massive amount of space that Lenovo was allotted to fit a speaker however we were impressed by its quality and volume, it’s definitely something that could produce enough sound for several people to hear while watching a video on the built in projector.  As for the projector, we’re going to be talking about that later in the review for several reasons, mainly though we felt that it just deserved its own section for good and bad reasons.

Projector

Now for the most juicy part of the review, the part that most people interested in the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro came here to read about, and the part that Lenovo probably doesn’t want the most true coverage on; The projector.

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It is one of the first mobile products we’ve seen that has a usable built in projector.  With all of the older mobile products with projection there was always the issue of positioning.  How do you use the phone to present and also have the projector in the right position and in focus?  This was especially true because there was just no way that you were fitting a tripod mount on a phone or a tablet.  This is where that sturdy stand on the bottom of the Lenovo tablet comes in.  By using the tablet in stand mode you are able to adjust the horizontal keystone of the projection by adjusting the stand, given that you are using a flat surface to project from this should allow you to get a good usable image out of the tablet, it is also very easy to use while it is in this position as it allows the user to sit and basically use the tablet normally without sacrificing the image quality.

Now for the bad parts, first let’s talk about the brightness.  The projector is dim to say the least, at 50 lumens it creates a dim image even in completely dark conditions, although it does beat the Lumi-tab’s 35 lumen projector, a 50 lumen projector would be barely visible in a lit room.  The focus mechanism on the projector is a small slider on the back of the unit near the lens of the projector, the slider is semi-stiff and hard to do small movements with and thus is hard to get the perfect focus, and we found it easier to physically move the whole tablet back and forth to get the correct focus.

Even when fully focused the projector doesn’t produce the clearest of images which could be due to the fact that when you hold the tablet the lens naturally touches your skin and gets smudges on it, but even when clean viewing text and web pages seemed to have a slight pixilation to the image which made text somewhat hard to read.  When viewing a movie the projector looked just fine, except on dark scenes where the brightness of the projector came into play and it became hard to differentiate objects in the shadows.  Lastly, the projector can only be used while the tablet is in a horizontal position, which means you aren’t going to be holding it while projecting like they showed in the promotional videos for the tablet.  Although we’re sure that most users are going to be using it on a table anyways it should be that big of a deal, but we did feel a bit cheated when we held it up to project onto a wall and the projection was completely sideways.

Projection Comparison

For a comparison, we set the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro up against an AAXA Technologies P3-X Pico Projector to test the brightness, sharpness and ease of use. In this demonstration, we have hooked up the AAXA P3-X to an iPhone 6 using an Apple digital AV adapter and an HDMI to mini HDMI cable. We will post a video later demonstrating the difference between the two, but we did take a couple of images which show a pretty stark difference.

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As you can see, the 70 lumen AAXA Technologies P3-X (left side) outshined the tablet pretty convincingly. Additionally,  the difficulty in focusing the tablet makes a dedicated micro-projector a much better option for  projection needs.

That’s about all we have to say bad about the projector in the in Yoga Tablet Pro 2,  it’s definitely a product that you could use for personal viewing and for a quick set-up for a business presentation, but we wouldn’t recommend it for much else. 

Specs

In this section we’ll go over the direct specs of the projector just so that you have a reference when you’re looking at this tablet vs others.

Processor: Intel® Atom™ Z3745 Processor

RAM: 2GB LPDDR3

Storage: 32GB internal, up to 64GB SD card for additional storage.

Sensors: G-Sensor, e-Compass, Ambient Light, Hall, and Vibration.

Cameras: Rear 8MP F2.2 with Auto focus, Front 1.6 MP HD

Wireless: Wifi 802.11 a/b/g/n MiMo 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Dual Band, Bluetooth 4.0

Ports: Micro USB, 3.5 Audio Jack, Micro SD Card

Battery: 9600 mAh (up to 15 hours use time)

Screen: 13.3” 2560×1440 IPS display, Capacitive Touch, 10-point multi-touch

Sound: 2x Front Chamber speakers, 1x JBL subwoofer with Dolby audio, Wolfson Master Hi-Fi Codec

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat

Weight: 2.09 lbs

As you can see it’s got pretty average specs as far as high end tablets go, but it’s definitely a lot more powerful than your average sub $200 tablet.

 

Results

In conclusion, the Yoga Tablet Pro 2 is definitely a cool product that deserves its place in Lenovo’s line-up as one of their main tablets, although unique with its projector we honestly just found it to be such a low quality projector that it wasn’t really usable in a professional situation, we’d still recommend that you go the route of just getting a Pico Projector and hooking it up to a cheap tablet or laptop if you’re looking for a portable projection solution. The results will be a lot better and it will still most likely be cheaper than this tablet/projector combo.  But if you’re just looking for a big tablet to maybe replace a laptop or just something to easily set up and project movies for a couple of friends or yourself then this tablet will fit the mold, it’s definitely not something to immediately pass up as a multimedia tablet but may be something to overlook if you’re looking for a projector.