848x480 Laser Pico Projector
January 13, 2011
Over time, laser pico projectors have become more fully-featured and less expensive. In September of 2010, Microvision brought us the ShowWX, a 10-lumen model that (at the time) had an MSRP of $549. Now there's the ShowWX+, a new iteration that produces 15 lumens while keeping all of the features that made the ShowWX a hit. This time around, pricing starts at only $450, and street prices have already fallen below this mark. When you want a no-hassle pico projector that works seamlessly with your iPod or other mobile device, the ShowWX+ is a great choice.
The ShowWX+ is an ideal "show and tell" projector, best used to display photos or video from an iPod or similar mobile device. As anyone who has one of these mobile devices will tell you, even the ones with "large" screens are pretty darned small. Replacing a 3.5" display with a 30" projected image is an easy way to up the "wow" factor of your mobile photo and video shows.
The ShowWX+ is designed to be carried in a pocket or bag, and as such does not have any of the traditional placement flexibility options of larger projectors (such as zoom and lens shift). A 30" diagonal image is attainable from 2' 6" throw distance, but in all likelihood you will find yourself hand-holding the projector while you show your pictures--the ShowWX+ has no tripod mount. The 15-lumen maximum output limits image size to roughly 30" in significant ambient light, though larger sizes are certainly possible in darkened environments. 30" does not sound like a huge image, but remember what you're comparing it to--that tiny display on your iPod. Put in those terms, it's a 65-fold increase in total screen area.
Ultra portable. The ShowWX+ is truly a "pocket-sized" projector--rigorous testing on our part indicates that a standard blue jean front pocket will hold the ShowWX+ comfortably. The projector measures only 4.6" long by 2.4" wide by 0.6" thick, making it about the size of a cellular phone or iPod. It weighs only four ounces with the battery installed, so it's lighter than an iPhone despite being slightly larger.
Laser Projection. Laser projection technology means the ShowWX+ is always in focus, no matter where you're projecting. Curved or uneven surfaces such as textured walls are no trouble, either. Laser projection technology also means the projector will not require lamp replacements--laser diodes in general last much longer than high-pressure lamps do, and most are on par with the lifespan of LEDs (which can be upwards of 20,000 hours).
Light output. The ShowWX+ is rated at 15 ANSI lumens, a full 50% more than its predecessor the ShowWX. Our test sample measured 14 lumens in the projector's brightest mode. You can have a bright, vibrant 30" diagonal image with lots of pop, or a dimmer but still manageable 40" diagonal image, both in ambient light. With lower ambient illumination, 50" to 55" diagonals are not out of the question, though strict light control must be observed to avoid lowering contrast significantly.