Pico Projector Review
August 24, 2010
Placement Flexibility: Pico projectors, including the SP-H03, typically do not have zoom lenses, so image size is directly proportional to the projector's distance from the screen. For example, a 48" image puts the SP-H03 at 66" from the screen, and if that is not a convenient spot to set the projector, then you will have to live with a different image size.
Image Focus: Like most picos, the SP-H03 has a relatively simple optics system that does not deliver as sharp an image focus as larger projectors. Still, a slightly soft focus lends a bit of theater effect to movie viewing that is quite enjoyable. Focus is adjusted by a slider on the left side of the projector.
Audio Quality: The SP-H03's 1-watt speaker may be enough for a very small audience seated close to the projector although the sound is all mid and high frequencies. However, there is an audio output for those times when you need external amplification.
On-Screen Menus: While the menus are easy to get to via the backlit icons on the SP-H03's surface, getting to the function you are after is not particularly intuitive and some practice is needed. A clearer explanation in the included User Guide of how to navigate the menus would be a nice documentation upgrade.
Rainbow Effects: Even though the SP-H03 uses LEDs for illumination and avoids the need for a color wheel, it still has some minor rainbow artifacts in certain fast moving video scenes. Not all viewers will see these artifacts, so a try-before-you-buy approach might be a good idea to see if you are susceptible to rainbow effects.
No Digital Input: Several of its competitors offer a digital input, but the SP-H03 does not. This means that you won't be able to connect DVI or HDMI signals you may have on your computer or DVD player.
If you are a mobile presenter that really likes to travel light or you want to watch movies while traveling with an image bigger than your laptop display, then Samsung's SP-H03 might be the answer. It is compact, light, and puts up a surprisingly good picture for its size. With only 480 lines of vertical resolution, it is more suited to movies and PowerPoint slides than detailed spreadsheets, but battery life is close to two hours, and many image formats can be displayed. Ambient light can be an issue and there is no digital input, but at $299.99, the SP-H03 is a serious contender in the pico projector market.