Portable and tiny projectors, a.k.a. pico projectors, are nothing new, but very few will be able to boast of a slim physique while still promising unmatched quality and clarity. And yet that is exactly what Sony‘s MPCL1 promises to bring. Almost as big as the biggest smartphone, this pico projector offers the high resolution, portability, and brightness that very few of its kind can. And its all thanks to a well known technology called “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. In other words, lasers.
Most projects use LEDs or even older DLP technology to project images unto any surface. Lasers, however, bring multiple benefits, starting with the smaller and quieter components that makes it possible to sneak the projector into your pocket in a hurry. That said, you are unlikely to stash it in there immediately after use, for the sake of your hips or posterior.
The laser is also partly credited for the projector’s capability to focus itself. Simply move the projector closer or nearer to the target surface and let the PicoP laser-beam scanning system from MicroVision do the rest of the work. No more need for separate focus controls. Sony claims the MPCL1 can project a 40-inch image from four feet away, and 120 inches from 12 feet.
That image has a max resolution of 1920×720. That might not sound all that much in today’s age of Full HD screens and content, but when you consider that most pico projectors max out at 800×480, you’ll be thankful you even get HD quality. The brightness, however, might be worrying. Only 32 lumens. In comparison, DLPs boast 200 to 500 ranges. Supposedly, lasers, again, allow for a lower lumens rating but still bright intensity, though we still have to see how that translates into actual use.
The MPCL1 laser pico projector goes on retail starting October on Amazon. Sony has yet to put a price tag on it though estimated price is around $350.