Review Contents
Performance
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Business
Celluon PicoPro Projector Celluon PicoPro
(add to Compare List)
Go to My Compare List

80000:1 Contrast Ratio
32 Lumens
Street Price: n/a
$349 MSRP

Celluon PicoPro Projector Review

Allan Abbott, September 9, 2015

If you've ever dreamed of having a battery-powered projector about the size and weight of your smartphone that could interface to your phone, tablet, or laptop, your dream has come true. Celluon is offering its new 1920x720 PicoPro laser projector at price of $349 on outlets such as Amazon. Illumination is provided by five lasers, and no focusing is needed regardless of projection size. This projector is not appropriate for classroom or boardroom presentations and is of limited use in bright rooms because it is rated at only 32 lumens although its contrast ratio is rated at 80,000:1. But there is anecdotal evidence, backed by some actual science, that the perceived brightness of the PicoPro is higher than its lumen rating (more on that later).

Prime applications for the PicoPro are one-on-one Powerpoint presentations and tutoring. Businessmen and teachers will appreciate the ease of slipping the PicoPro into their laptop case, briefcase, or shirt pocket knowing that they have several hours of projection time available before recharging the battery. The PicoPro can project on just about any surface, but a pop-up screen provides the best contrast, color saturation, and black level.

Lasers do a good job of projecting onto all sorts of surfaces, but those surfaces generate differing amounts of laser speckle. The PicoPro has a fairly soft focus to minimize this effect, but that cuts both ways: video and photo content looks terrific, but alphanumeric content is not sharp and clear. The takeaway here is that you won't want to use the PicoPro for a spreadsheet or document presentation unless the fonts are quite large. There are no image adjustments available on the PicoPro, but fortunately the factory settings are pretty good in terms of color balance and saturation. Besides, this is not a home theater product so some image compromises are expected.

The shirt pocket PicoPro is going to spawn a raft of applications unserved by current pico projectors. Its battery lasts for about two hours when wirelessly coupled to a Miracast or DNLA compatible device and for about three hours when directly connected to an HDMI or MHL compatible source. When you have access to an AC outlet, the supplied charger will recharge a depleted battery in a few hours and power the PicoPro during the charging cycle. In addition, a stand is supplied that cradles the PicoPro when used for an extended period.

Viewing Experience

When you match the image size to the ambient light conditions, the PicoPro puts up a vibrant, colorful image. Focus is a little soft which gives video a film-like quality, but that focus is retained regardless of how far the projector is from the projection surface. That surface can range from hallway walls to doors, sheets, ceilings, and traditional screens.

Thanks to the nature of laser light, there is little color shift due to the surface color, but the amount of laser speckle varies widely with surface smoothness and reflectivity. Metal surfaces produce the most speckle and traditional screens the least, but there is a simple solution to the speckle issue: sit slightly off-center from the PicoPro's centerline. Most of the speckle is reflected perpendicular to the projection surface, so sitting as little as 30° to the side reduces the speckle effect but does not impact perceived image brightness.

In our sample unit, there was a slight red emphasis to the image, but it was minor and skin tones were quite natural. Saturation was also a bit on the high side, but it served to give the image depth when it was affected by ambient light. One item that is adequate only in the quietest surroundings is the audio output. Even at full volume, it is quieter than a smartphone speaker, so it is desirable to attach an external speaker via the audio output port especially if the PicoPro is playing to an audience of more than one.

Everyone's tolerance for image quality varies, but our rough estimations of image diagonal for satisfactory image brightness, contrast, and black level are as follows:

Darkened room - 96"
Dimly lit room - 48"
Indirect sunlit room - 36"
Direct sunlit room - 24"

These diagonals were determined using a 1:1 gain pop-up screen, so the above estimates will decrease if projecting on surfaces like colored walls, painted brick, or bed sheets.

Review Contents: Viewing Experience Set Up Uses and Features Performance
  Conclusion

Reader Comments(6 comments)

Posted Sep 4, 2016 11:03 PM

By Kamahl Goodarz

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Don't buy this projector. Sure it uses it uses laser's, but who cares? Dark scene's are too dark and with no way if adjusting contrast brightness or anything you are stuck with what you get I had hoped this would be a good replacement projector for my BenQ w1080st or even my aaxa k101 but even the smaller aaxa looks better in dark scene's. I would definitely not bother with buying one again and stick to a dlp with higher lumins like to aaxa-p700, oh well live and learn

Posted Feb 17, 2016 10:01 AM

By Scott

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I've owned a PicoAir (same projector less the HDMI slot)since it came out in April 2015 and use it daily. I've ruined the charger cord twice (maybe by using it on other devices but also ben the plug) and Celluon's staff has been excellent to work with. I contacted them through their website both times and they've responded very well. They only charged my $5 for replacement charger. I love the picture, I stream Netflix on my ceiling and wall instead of using a TV in my bedroom and bluetooth audio to a soundbar.

Posted Jan 29, 2016 6:07 AM

By Adam Hennick

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Having purchased this product in November, it broke almost immediately and I reached out to the company via email and a number of phone calls and never heard back. Given that Sony makes a product with almost the exact same features for the same price, I would recommend the Sony product as I'm sure they have some semblance of customer service. Having purchased the NeoJDX Vision as a replacement and same price point(and writing off the celluon),and time to reflect on both products, the Vision is so much better (although it doesn't have autofocus) and think that the Celluon is too dim even in dark rooms. You need more lumens and would only recommend in excess of 100. There is no comparison of these two products in picture quality and customer service.

Posted Nov 23, 2015 7:09 AM

By Zoot

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Note that the semiconductor lasers have relatively short life expectancy unlike LED light sources in other pico projectors. You can typically expect 20,000 hours out of LEDs, but the Sony laser module is only rated for 2,000 hours, substantially less than even traditional halogen lamps which are usually good for 5,000-10,000 hours.

So the laser is great for intermittent use, but not so much for any sort of always-on or several hours per day application.

Posted Sep 30, 2015 1:06 PM

By Dan L.

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I hope to get one for Christmas this year. From my understanding Sony makes the Laser Display engine for this using MicroVision MEMS Laser tech. It is also my understanding that Sony will have there own version, The MPCL-1 that also includes keystone correction. It will be released in October 2015. It will also have an aluminum body and I believe will have both wireless and wired HDMI connection. That is the one I want.

Posted Sep 11, 2015 6:46 AM

By davidm

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Thanks for the review. I gather one of the main problems (aside from low brightness) is there's no offset/keystone at all so it must be positioned directly in front of the surface. Apparently the upcoming Sony MPCL1 has keystone correction.

Post a comment

Commenting on this article is easy and does not require any registration. Your email address is necessary for you to activate your comment once it has been submitted. It will not be shown to other site viewers. ProjectorCentral reserves the right to remove any comment at any time for any reason. Foul language is not permitted, nor are personal attacks. No HTML allowed. All comments should remain on topic.

Name:

Email Address:(used only to confirm your comment)

Your Comment:

(Enter the numbers as they appear to the left)