VGA Pico Projector for Entertainment
October 29, 2010
Video frame rate. As mentioned previously, the E1 has a strange problem where video files appear to have their frame rate lowered, causing a choppy, stuttering appearance. This occurred on both AVI and MPG files, so it is doubtful that it is due to a file type problem. We thought this might be due to the processing power required to properly handle high-resolution video files, but even native 640x480 resolution video clips still displayed the same stuttering frame rate. This is a major hang-up if you want to use the E1 to watch feature films, since the low frame rate can be distracting.
Format compatibility. Possibly the greatest non-hardware advancement made in pico projectors is the ability to display content without the use of an external device. To this end, many projectors now include the ability to display text documents, PDF files, and Microsoft Office documents in addition to photos and videos. The Favi E1 can handle photos and video, but not any of these other documents, which limits its use as a portable presentation projector. If you were thinking about purchasing one as a dual-use product for this purpose, you may wish to reconsider.
Non-adjustable color. Most inexpensive projectors have decent color, but almost all need to be adjusted after purchase to bring performance in line with standards. This is nothing new. But when a projector lacks the ability to customize color settings, it becomes a game of "what you see is what you get." The E1, like the vast majority of pico projectors, has no color control. Granted, the stock calibration isn't bad--there's no obvious push towards green, for example, and overall the picture is actually balanced very well for such an inexpensive projector. A slight push towards blue means that color temperature is higher than some might prefer, but overall it is not a serious flaw. If you use the E1 in ambient incandescent light, as many people undoubtedly will, the blue tint will actually help to compensate for the yellow cast given by that type of lighting.
The Favi E1 is an interesting little projector - a pico designed for home entertainment, rather than just adapted for that purpose by the user. It excels at the display of photography and short video clips, though the lowering of a video's frame rate is a concern. It is the sort of thing one must judge for themselves. If it doesn't bother you, the E1 is a great value, and its long battery life makes it the traveler's best friend. If it does bother you, though, it is impossible to ignore. It is frustrating, because without this flaw the E1 would be nearly ideal as a portable movie projector. It is still a great product to carry in a purse or pocket, and photography looks wonderful on a 20" diagonal image. It's certainly an improvement over the screen on your cell phone when it comes to showing pictures to more than one person at a time. And with street prices under $300, it's not a huge investment, either, though you may draw huge enjoyment from it.