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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.

Make Your Pico Projector Wireless With Chromecast

 

Pico projectors are small and plugging in a bunch of wires to just makes it hard to keep steady if you’re using a tabletop tripod.  So why not make it wireless?

This device uses your local WiFi connection to send audio and video securely from one device to another. Chromecast will basically create its own network with your WiFi to securely connect to your devices.
How to use Chromecast
 
Connect your Chromecast to your pico projector via the HDMI port. 
Download the Chromecast mobile application on your android/iOS devices or the desktop application.
Lastly, launch the application and enter your WiFi information.
Once you’ve completed these easy steps you can start mirroring your devices on your projector!
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Brookstone’s HDMI Pocket Projector Review

 

 

IMG_0255Will Brookstone’s HDMI Pocket Projector be in Santa’s bag this season or end up a stone coal lump?

After eating this year’s Thanksgiving turkey, our food comas didn’t stop us from checking out the Black Friday Sales in the early hours of the morning. So at 6:00am Friday, we got our hands on the Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector ($299.99). Now we’ve already got a slew of projectors here that we use to compare and test the new guys, so today we’re going to compare the Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector’s performance with the AAXA P4-X, since they are some of the most popular ones today. Keep in mind that all three of these projectors have built-in batteries, which is what we’re going to run these on. They’re suppose to be mobile so thats how we’re going to test’em!

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Unboxing The Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector

Opening the packaging you get 3 boxes inside which contain:

  1. The HDMI Pocket Projector
  2. An A/C charger
  3. 2 A/C Prong Adapters (U.S. and Euro)
  4. An HDMI Cable
  5. Two Adapters (Mini HDMI and Micro USB)
  6. Instruction Manual
  7. Travel Bag

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What Goes Where?

Video: The Brookstone is outfitted with an HDMI port for its only video output. But if you need a Mini-HDMI or Micro USB port you’re going to have to utilize those included adapters. Now the Brookstone projector only plays from the laptop of device thats plugged in. There isn’t an onboard media-player in the Brookstone but the AAXA P4-X does.The P4-X also has a memory card reader or USB reader (MicroSD/Full Sized USB).

Sound: You can get sound straight from the units themselves from their built-in speaker, which are better than most. Meaning you won’t need a hearing aide to hear it, but don’t count on putting on a show for everyone in your living room unless its absolutely quiet. But theres hope for you, both the P4-X and the Brookstone do have 3.5mm audio output jacks to plug in an external speaker system.

Bonus Feature: The USB 5V out power port has nothing to do with the performance of the Brookstone projector other than it’ll kill your battery power if you decide to charge other device. But its a cool side feature to be able to charge your phone or something with it!

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Lights….Projector…Action!

Starting with the lights on against the AAXA P4-X, its not too noticeable but the brightness on the Brookstone is a bit lighter. So theres a light faded look to it. But not very notice in bright conditions. The color on the AAXA is more vibrant compared to the Brookstone.

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What we wish is that more pico projectors in the market had onboard media players. At first we thought that the Brookstone HDMI could be used that way because it has a USB Port but the port is only for charging. The AAXA P4-X actually does have this feature which makes it truly portable giving the user the ability to play view files and movies straight from a USB Memory Stick or even a MicroUSB card up to 32GB, which is pretty cool when your our and about. We think feature is a more useful than the ability to charge an extra device. Althought the charging port is an excellent feature for the traveler the USB port on the Brookstone could have been put to better use.

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Here is the onboard media player on the AAXA P4-X

Lights Out!

Hitting the light switch you will notice the difference in color. The AAXA P4-X’s native resolution is 858 x 480 which is comparable to the Brookstone at 858×480. Keep in mind that these projectors are only about 6 feet from the wall to see the best possible resolution.

Brookstone says the projector accepts a 1080p signal, but the signal gets downcoverted to the projector’s native resolution of 858×480 pixels. This basically means the wording on the box is misleading (“Projects up to 1080p HD images up to 60 inches diagonal”). So it takes a Blu-ray picture and downconverts it to slightly better than DVD quality (480p is 720×480). Not bad but HD is HD and this is not HD.

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Let The Show Begin….

The differences in just having a still image isn’t noticeable. So lets get to movie and play something to really see the differences, if any,  between these projectors. How will the Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector compare to the AAXA P4-X?

So why do we see a slight difference here right? Well, simply put the AAXA just has a better optical engine. So if you’re never able to find “Where’s Waldo” you can still spot the differences between these two projectors. You can clearly see the brightness and vibrant color between the 95 lumen P4-X and 85 lumen Brookstone HDMI. So the difference here is about 10 lumens.

The Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector (on the right) has its good points, like the USB battery charger to charge extra devices(very useful for travelers), the U.S./Euro adapters (Useful for the International traveler), and it’s slim size which makes it pretty easy to carry around. Something to keep in mind is that mobility may be at the list for most people; but the projection quality (Brightness/Color) should still be the reason why you buy a projector in the first place.

 

The Comparison Chart

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AAXA Pico Projectors now available to work with Samsung S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2


AAXA Technologies released earlier this week that they are now compatible with the new Samsung phones, SIII and Galaxy Note 2. The cable allows Samsung users to plug in their phones to a TV or a projector via the AAXA MHL Cable. This cable allows users to stream their movie content, game content, and presentations directly onto their pico projector/ TV. Doing so, users can now enjoy their entertainment on a big screen display.

You can find the press release here: http://aaxatech.com/news/MHL_cable_news.html

Tustin, CA February 6, 2013

AAXA Technologies, the leading manufacturer of Pico projectors, is pleased to announce the release of our Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 cables. The new Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note 2 adapter connects directly into the Samsung 11 pin micro USB input allowing these devices to seamlessly connect to AAXA’s M2, P3, P4X, P300 and LED Showtime series pico and micro projectors

Perfect Compatibility with Samsung S3 / Note 2 and AAXA Picos

The AAXA MHL Cable for Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note 2 utilizes a high definition 1280×720 pixel resolution in order to deliver a crisp, vibrant image from your phone to your AAXA pico projector. Using this cable, AAXA pico projectors can now project a variety of HD content straight from your phone. The cable allows users to be truly mobile as the only accessories needed are your smartphone and pico projector.

MHL Capabilities
The AAXA MHL cable measures 6.5′ in length and connects to the full sized HDMI ports found on the M2, P3, P300 and Showtime, as well as the mini-HDMI port found on the P4X. The 11-pin MHL port of Samsung phones allows full mirroring capabilities to the projector, meaning anything you see on your phone, you’ll be able to enjoy on a big screen projection. All your favorite Android games can be enjoyed with a projector, including Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, and Temple Run. Business professionals will be able to stay effective on the road with the AAXA MHL cable. When paired with a smartphone and projector, the MHL cable allows users to use their Android productivity suite to its full potential.

About AAXA Technologies

AAXA Technologies Inc was founded in 2008 as a manufacturer of a new class of projector known as “micro” projectors and “pico” projectors. Our core technology is based on small LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) and DLP (Digital Light Processing) imagers mated to LED (light emitting diode) and Laser light-sources. This technology makes possible the manufacturing of micro projectors and pico sized projectors. In 2010 AAXA launched the world’s first laser pico projector and today remains a leader in mini-projector technology. AAXA manufacturers the majority of its products in China, with core technological development occurring both in the Silicon Valley, California and China.

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Round 1: Optoma ML500 Review

In the next following week, we will be rounding off four new pico/micro projectors that have hit the market recently. We will be taking a look at the Optoma ML500, Vivitek Q2, AAXA LED Showtime 3D, and the 3M MP410. All these come in at similar sizes, cost, and performance. So, let’s see which one actually does best when we test them side by side.

For our first review, we will be looking at the Optoma ML500. This projector comes in at a street price of above $500 depending where you look. It is a bit pricey for a so called pico projector since it does cost almost the same as a traditional projector. The difference between the ML500 and a traditional projector is that it uses LED light bulbs instead of a regular optical lamp which in return saves you money and time on not having to get your lamp replaced. The ML 500 can be used up to 20,000+ hours and has a lumen count of 500.

The Optoma ML500 has a resolution of 1280 x 800 WXGA using DLP’s latest engine. It weighs in at 2.5 pounds and measures to be 8.7 x 6.7 x 1.7 inches. Optoma offers all type of media connectivity to the ML500. It supports VGA, HDMI, USB, S-video, and even a SD card slot. This allows you to plug in any media device that you want to use and have it projected on a big screen.

As for brightness, the ML500 is rated at 500 lumens therefore it is one of the highest rated pico projectors. Most pico projectors come in at 300 lumens or below. The ML500 image quality was very easy to see in a dim light room. However, color contrast took a hit with its brightness. When playing a video, the ML500 really lacked in its image quality. At times, there would be a rainbow of some sort that would tinker through the projected image. Besides the rainbow effect, the ML500 produced a decent image size and quality that shouldn’t disrupt any viewers while watching a movie or presentation.

In conclusion, the ML500 looked great at first. It was easy to use, light weight, and has many great connectivity. For a business traveler the ML500 is a great product to bring along side to travel with.

Look out for our upcoming reviews:

CES 2013: Pico Projector questions answered

Your CES 2013 questions answered: 3D TV, pico projectors and fitness forks

by Lauren O’Neil Posted: January 7, 2013 7:55 PM Last Updated: January 8, 2013 8:57 AM Read 1comments1

 CES is a press and industry only conference, but we’re giving you a chance to learn exactly what you want to know from the heart of the action this week. (Reuters)Peter Nowak is at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week to give you a sneak peak into the future of home entertainment, communication technology, and gadgets designed to change the world as we know it.

Only industry professionals and accredited media are admitted into the trade show itself, but we’re giving CBC community members a chance to go beyond the mainstream coverage and ask a few questions of their own.

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General Imaging’s iPico targets Apple Users

We see more and more a redefined role for the pico projector as more manufacturers step up with their imaginative application for this technology. The iPico projector from General Imaging is not the first iPhone projector but it makes for a sleek and well rounded addition to the club started by Brookstone’s iPhone projector,  the Pop Video Projector,  and the Mili Pro V2 to name a few.

General Imaging’s ipico is a sleek hand-held, projector that sports a patented pop-up connector which will transform your iPhone or iPod touch into an instant social media tool wherever you are. Almost universal iPhone or iPod connectivity advances the iPico over its Brookstone forbears but likely, the brightness is going to be in the 15 -20 lumen range along with most other iPhone projectors with the exception of the updated 35 lumen Sanwa 400-PRJ011.  The ipico is capable of projecting a maximum screen size of 50″, where it will come in white this holiday season for $129.99 a pop making it one of the most affordable iPhone pico projectors we have seen to date.

 

Sanwa’s iPhone projector gets an Update!

Japanese Electronics manufacturer, Sanwa has revamped the PRJ011 iPhone charging sleeve-cum-pico-projector. The new PRJ016 packs a 1,850mAh battery that can recharge your handset up to 80 percent and also power the projection mode if you want to enjoy a movie, or a spreadsheet, blown onto your wall. The 35 lumens DLP device has three times the brightness of its predecessor, can project for 120 minutes on a full tank and has a maximum display size of 60-inches, focusing from a distance of up to six feet. It’s available in Japan starting today, with pricing set at ¥23,800 ($305). More and more are we seeing traction on the iPhone sleeve.

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AAXA P4 – X : Editor’s Choice for PC Mag

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Pico Projector AAXA P4 - X

The P4 – X has been released as a replacement to the P4, and seems to be gaining considerable fanfare. Considering that the original P4 that did it all (Windows CE, PDF viewer as well as productivity suite with Office, Excel, and Powerpoint) has now been slimmed down from everything from features to pricing, we never would have guessed that in doing so it would have become a contender for best multimedia pico projector. We’re currently waiting on a demo unit to test out the newly added HDMI as well as the improvised features such as low fan noise and better button response.

PC Mag did a review piece on the the exceptional new pocket projector:

“…It’s both highly portable and highly capable, with a bright image, good image quality, lots of connection options, and the ability to read files from memory, a combination that makes it Editors’ Choice.”

A couple of talking points the reviewer found where the brightness, while low in lumen count, displayed vibrant and sharp pictures in agreeable settings while keeping the ‘rainbow effect’ that DLP imagers posses to a minimum. Lauded for it’s light weight and easy set up, the expandable memory as well as quick set up time pushed this projector past the Optoma PK 301 (which is also $400 street price) in terms of features, pricing, and over all quality.

We’re excited to put this projector through the gauntlet and look forward to putting a review in front of you.

[Via PC Mag]

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Intersil India bets big on Pico Projectors

Intersil-India now has expanded their office to serve the future expansion of Intersil India. The new 18000 square feet office can house close to 100 engineers. It houses development office, marketing and product test lab. A former employee at Texas Instruments, Ramanujam Thodur is the Managing Director of Intersil India.

Intersil is pinning high hope on pico projector. Where Intersil has developed pico projector technology using green laser with auto focus feature. Main stream availability of pico projector is expected in 2015, as per Susan. Intersil bets that its pico projector technology is more reliable and less expensive compared to the present pico-projector technology.

Intersil follows what called asset-lite, an other name for fab-lite where it gets its power management ICs fabricated by semiconductor foundry service providers. However it has strong manufacturing expertise in bringing high-rel chips to withstand harsh weather conditions in applications such as aero-space and military.

Intersil’s op-amps and other analog front end chips are used widely in India for the performance as well as cost advantage. Who knows, maybe by 2015 this can be a game changer for the US market. Only time will tell.