The 8 Best Portable Mini Projectors

Sep 30, 2020

Category: Tech

Once limited to specialized devices intended for use in movie theater and classroom settings, projectors are becoming increasingly common for home applications. For even though the television remains the definitive choice for screen-side entertainment, projectors give you something even your most capable TV can’t — a truly cinematic experience, no matter where you are.

Ultimately, it comes down to the choice of medium, because no screen can replicate the unique feel of a projected image. Whether it’s the magic of watching the picture come to life or just the pride in owning a home theater setup, there’s no denying the appeal of these media players. And with today’s mini projectors offering unrivaled portability, set up and tear down are easier than ever. So even if you can’t commit to a setup full-time, a mini projector makes for a capable in-home option that packs away once the flick is over. No matter if you’re presenting a key business pitch or scratching your movie buff itch, these projectors are sure to deliver. Have a read to see what we’ve picked for the best portable mini projectors.

What's In The Box

Important Features To Consider

Brightness: Your projector’s brightness is one of the main determinants of its overall image quality. Rated in lumens, brightness affects not only how vivid the image will be, but also how large of a screen you can reasonably use. Projectors boasting bulbs with more lumens will be usable in a wider variety of lighting conditions, with the added benefit of having a much larger viewable screen size.

Throw: Throw describes the distance between the projector lens and the displayed picture. As such, a projector’s throw ratio has a big effect on the screen size and image quality. For instance, a projector with a 2:1 throw ratio requires 2 feet of space from the screen for every 1 foot of image width.

Connectivity: Once limited to basic audio-video inputs, most projectors these days come with a variety of connectivity options. Whether in-built or dongle-based, your projector’s connectivity plays a big role in where and how it can be used. When choosing a projector best suited to your needs, it’s important to consider if what kind of hardware you’ll be using and how you plan to organize your setup.

Battery: Some portable projectors come with an internal battery for on-the-go convenience. However, projector battery life can vary widely, with some offering barely enough for a full-length flick and others providing hours of entertainment. If you don’t want to be tethered to an outlet, opt for a model that comes with a battery sufficient for your showings.

Kodak Luma 150

Billed as one of the smallest digital light processing (DLP) projectors in the world, the Kodak Luma 150 packs a lot of performance into a pocket-sized package. Featuring simple touch controls and near-universal device compatibility, this little projector is a breeze to set up. So whether you’re prepping for a meeting or kicking back for movie night, you can spare your audience the unwanted weight. Its 16:9 projection screen expands up to 120″, meaning you can watch HD videos, show off photos, or view slides in crisp detail. And when it comes to media sourcing, the Luma 150 can play files from microSD cards, via its USB and HDMI ports, or wirelessly courtesy of Airplay or Miracast. Top it off with a built-in speaker and a 3.5mm audio jack, and you have an option that can go it alone or pair with some external hardware for a capable mini projector companion.

Wireless Connectivity: Yes
Battery Life: 2.5 Hours
Max Screen Size: 120″
Throw Ratio: 2.2

Purchase: $220

Optomo LV130

With a slight increase in size comes a large leap in performance. Housed inside the Optoma LV130’s palm-sized form factor is a generous 6,700mAH battery that provides up to 4.5 hours of view time, meaning you can make it through the lengthiest of flicks with no worry of it dying on you. What’s more is that with a 300-lumen lamp, the LV130 can handle an even wider range of ambient lighting. So even if you don’t have theater-level conditions, you can still expect solid image quality. And with a 100,000:1 contrast ratio, the LV130 ensures crisp colors and dark blacks in even the darkest of scenes. The HDMI input includes MHL 2.2 compatibility, enabling use with notebooks, mobile devices, and gaming consoles. But that’s not all — it also comes with a USB port for wireless streaming power or convenient charging capability. As an added bonus, the LV130 incorporates features like energy-saving technology and Quick Resume, offering extended bulb life as well as fuss-free operation.

Wireless Connectivity: No
Battery Life: 4.5 Hours
Max Screen Size: 80″
Throw Ratio: 1.1

Purchase: $261

Viewsonic M1

With its integrated smart stand providing 360 degrees of articulation, the Viewsonic M1 can be placed in a number of different positions at nearly any angle. But that’s not all — the stand also doubles as a lens cover that automatically turns the projector off when in the closed position. However, once the lens is uncovered, the M1 powers up at full brightness for almost instantaneous showing. To put it another way — no more killing time while the bulb warms up. When it comes to audio, the Viewsonic M1 includes a pair of built-in Harman Kardon speakers for rich, room-filling sound. So whether you’re playing music or movies, at home or on the go, this little projector delivers superior performance come playtime. Unlike these other options, the Viewsonic M1 comes with a short-throw lens, allowing for clear, large images, even in tight or confined spaces. Boasting a slew of versatile connectivity options — including a MicroSD card slot, USB Type-A, and USB Type-C — the M1 makes a capable projector for work or for play.

Wireless Connectivity: Yes
Battery Life: 4-6 hours
Max Screen Size: 100″
Throw Ratio: 1.2

Purchase: $300

Sony MP-CD1

Featuring a form factor about the size of an iPhone and weighing just seven ounces, the Sony MP-CD1 is as portable a mini projector as you could hope for. In spite of its tiny design, it comes with a bright 105-lumen lens allowing for superior screen quality — no matter if you’re a business professional, a gamer, or a movie fan. The MP-CD1 also includes automatic keystone correction, meaning it can be placed directly on a table and project a full-size display without the need for a tripod. And with its Dynamic Mode, the MP-CD1 automatically enhances the image’s color brightness and saturation for that same high-quality picture you expect from Sony. Its 5,000mAh battery gives up to two hours of life — good enough for most full-length movies, but you’ll need the plug for those longer epics. Oh, and should your phone (or one of your other electronic devices) happen to die, the MP-CD1 can act as a portable power bank.

Wireless Connectivity: With optional dongle
Battery Life: 2 hours
Max Screen Size: 120″
Throw Ratio: 1.3

Purchase: $322

Anker Nebula Apollo

This tower-shaped projector houses a host of multimedia capabilities making it an excellent pick for those who like to entertain. For instance, it comes loaded with an Android 7.1 operating system, allowing you to download and stream YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu directly with no need for an additional source device. In order to handle its in-built smart capabilities, the Apollo eschews its control buttons in favor of some seamless touch controls for easy menu navigation and entertainment browsing. If that’s not enough, Anker also offers an app called Nebula Capture for phone-based connectivity and control. But the cherry on top has to be the Apollo’s ability to double as a fully-functioning 6-watt speaker. Whether you’re showing your favorite flick or blasting a carefully curated playlist, this little projector is sure to make you the life of the party.

Wireless Connectivity: Yes
Battery Life: 4 hours
Max Screen Size: 100″
Throw Ratio: 1.3

Purchase: $350

AAXA P7

It may fit in the palm of your hand, but the AAXA P7 sports some stunning image quality. Where most other offerings in this class max out around 800 by 480 pixels, this little projector comes with Native 1080p FULL HD Resolution (1920 by 1080) for a premium onscreen picture. It also features one of the brighter bulbs amongst these other offerings, with a brightness rated to 450 lumens running off the battery and a whopping 600 lumens when running off a DC power supply. So even if you’re dealing with some less-than-ideal theater conditions, there’s nothing stopping this pico projector from playing clear, colorful videos. When it comes to compatibility, the AAXA P7 features an Onboard Media Player with USB and TF card ports, as well as HDMI, mini-VGA, and AV inputs for a portable all-in-one experience. Add in a remote for easy operation and this cube-shaped competitor makes for a solid option — whether you’re delivering a presentation or screening a late-night showing.

Wireless Connectivity: No
Battery Life: 1.5 hours
Max Screen Size: 120″
Throw Ratio: 1.2

Purchase: $400

Epson VS355

Although it comes in as one of the weightier options on the list at 5.5lbs, the Epson VS355 more than makes up for its heft with its superior performance qualities. Take its bright bulb, for example. Rated to 3,300 lumens of color and white brightness, the VS355 can project vivid images in even the most well-lit of rooms. And with High Color Brightness and Wide Color Gamut technologies, this projector delivers incredible color accuracy. The VS355 also happens to have the largest projected screen size on the list, with a viewable display maxing out at 320″ — nearly three times as large as its competitors’ estimates. In other words, if you’re giving a big-ticket presentation or showing a star-studded film, and you want to make an impact, this is the projector for you. Additionally, the VS355 comes with password protection, so you can power it up and leave it be without worry of your onscreen entertainment going awry.

Wireless Connectivity: No
Battery Life: N/A
Max Screen Size: 320″
Throw Ratio: 1.38-1.68

Purchase: $460

LG PH550

One of the most well-rounded mini projectors on the market, the LG PH550 skews more towards portable big screen than it does pocket-sized media player. Loaded with connectivity options, it comes readily compatible with a wide range of media devices. For instance, thanks to its built-in TV tuner and coax connector, you can watch your favorite shows and sports in real-time. It also supports Bluetooth audio output for wireless connectivity with soundbars, portable speakers, and headphones. But that’s not all — with the PH550’s Wi-Fi mirroring functioning, you can stream content from your smartphone or tablet without the need for bulky hardware or tethering cables. And with five customizable color preset modes — including Standard, Vivid, Cinema, Sport, and Game — you can easily dial in the on-screen image no matter what you’re watching. Because let’s face it, no one wants to spoil the experience with a subpar screening.

Wireless Connectivity: Yes
Battery Life: 2.5 hours
Max Screen Size: 100″
Throw Ratio: 1.39

Purchase: $500

The 12 Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers

Looking for travel-ready audio hardware to boost your mini projector’s sound quality? Have a look at our best portable Bluetooth speakers to build out your go-anywhere entertainment setup.

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