VGA Pico Projector for Entertainment
October 29, 2010
The idea of using a pico projector as a portable video machine is not new. The Favi E1-LED-PICO (henceforth referred to as the E1) is a new VGA pico projector designed for entertainment use. In addition to a solid picture, there are plenty of features and accessories that ensure ease of use--like disposable batteries, an SD card slot, and an international A/C adapter, among others. True, it has a few limitations--low video frame rate being chief among them, followed by low lumen output. But getting a decent, portable video image on a wall or screen for less than $300 is nothing to sneeze at.
Applications / Best Uses
The E1 is a great little projector when you want to show something to a small group of people. Those photos you took on your cell phone and want to show off? Even the largest phone screens are tiny compared to the image you can project with the E1. You can put up a 10" diagonal image in very bright indoor light, or a 25" diagonal image in moderate ambient light (say, a 100W lamp a few feet away). For bigger images, you'll want better light control, but the Favi E1 isn't really meant to produce a big picture. It is meant to produce a picture that's big in comparison to other mobile devices.
While photos look great, you might be surprised to learn that video is not the E1's strong suit. Both MPEG and AVI files showed a sharp decrease in frame rate, to the point where watching became distracting--especially during action sequences. While this stuttering might be acceptable if you are showing someone a quick clip of your cat doing something amusing, it would almost certainly grate by the end of a two-hour feature film.
Of course, the E1 is able to do all of the traditional pico projector tasks, as well, like displaying text documents and spreadsheets and PDF files. The only condition is that it does not support these file types natively; you'll have to run everything through Favi's conversion software, which as anyone who's ever used such will tell you is a nuisance. Having to convert your documents means you'll use the projector less for this type of presentation, if only because it's an extra step that must be undertaken.