Highly Rated Projectors
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Intended Use:
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Microvision SHOWWX Laser Pico Projector Microvision SHOWWX Laser Pico
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Street Price: n/a
Lumens:10
Weight: 0.3 lbs
Resolution:848x480
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:n/a
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:1 year
Connectors:  Composite, USB
Video Formats:  480i, 480p,

Microvision ShowWX
848x480 Laser Pico Projector

Bill Livolsi, September 14, 2010

Limitations

No internal storage. One of the hot ideas making its way into projectors these days is PC-free projection. Taken one step further, some pico projectors have onboard memory or MicroSD memory card slots. On these projectors, you load the documents you'd like to use, and the projector decodes and displays them internally. The ShowWX does not have this capability, which means you will always need to have a source connected in order to project. Presenters looking for the ultimate in portability might look elsewhere for just this reason.

No tripod mount. Incorporating a screw mount for a miniature tripod is a great convenience feature, but the ShowWX does not have one. This means you're forced to hold the projector or set it down on the table. The projection angle is well suited to this - the bottom edge of the image is at the same height as the lens centerline, so the whole image will appear above the table - but a tripod mount would increase flexibility and make the ShowWX more versatile. Tripods also make small projectors like the ShowWX harder to "muscle around." Sometimes, since the projector is so light, tugging on the cord can move it around on the table.

Pincushion distortion. The ShowWX's projected image showed some signs of pincushion distortion, where the sides of the image bow inwards. While it is not likely to be a problem when viewing photographs or video, it is especially evident when using Excel spreadsheets or other highly linear documents. Even some text documents can show evidence of bowing. If your application is highly dependent on exact geometry, this projector might not be for you.

Shimmer. The ShowWX, like some other laser projectors, has a shimmery, glittery quality to the image, especially in fields of solid color or white. The whole image appears to sparkle at times. This is one of those artifacts that affects different people in different ways; some folks don't mind the shimmer, while your humble reviewer finds it incredibly distracting. During a 10-minute sales pitch, the audience will probably ignore the effect, but a two-hour quarterly meeting might be a different story. If in doubt, find a retailer that stocks the ShowWX and takes returns--just in case.

Difficult menu system. With several image options and even three different lamp settings, the ShowWX has a complicated menu system for a pico projector. Normally, we are all in favor of more options--more options mean more people can customize the projector so it's just the way they like it. However, there are a few things working against the ShowWX in this category.

For one, the menu is somewhat complex, with several nested options. Secondly, you're navigating this menu system using three buttons: up, down, and Menu. Menu also serves as Enter, which can get confusing. Third, some of the options available do not change much. The three brightness modes (high, medium, and low) have limited effect on a 10-lumen projector, and there's no real reason to switch away from the default High brightness mode. Lower brightness modes will land you another ten to fifteen minutes of battery life, but at the cost of three to five lumens. There are some color modes, and the brightest one (Brilliant) is selected by default. Standard mode has slightly better shadow detail, but in a room with ambient light the difference is almost nonexistent. Inverted mode is handy for text documents in dark rooms, since it makes black text white and white backgrounds black. In short, this is one occasion where a manufacturer could have done with fewer options rather than more.

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Reader Comments(6 comments)

Posted Dec 15, 2010 6:21:20 AM

By Hernan

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Hi, I have the ShowWX, actually in Oz it's called Uniden. The Vga dock came included in the box as well. The vga dock has a tripod mount, you can still use it just don't push it all the way back, then close the cover. Only thing is that the cable will be hanging off it. I love it, it cost me AU$299. Only downside is that you cannot charge the unit as it's being used. Cheers

Posted Oct 27, 2010 6:05:27 PM

By Bruce Berryhill

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Well the whole idea of projecting images or text may be moot if OLED roll-up type screens ever come out. Just unroll the screen when you need to run a video, then roll it back up when you are done :)

Posted Sep 21, 2010 10:07:03 AM

By Dgadensg

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
When you compare the L1 with the ShowWX you stated that the L1 does not have a onboard tripod mount screw, but it a tripod mount is included, i think, to be fair, that you should mention that there is actually a tripod VGA dock for the ShowWX as well. Though, this is an extra accesory accessory that is not included.

you can find it here: http://www.commxperts.com/khxc/ecom-prodshow/VGADOCK.html

Only downside is that the dock can only be used for VGA connections, which after my opinion is a mistake by Microvision.

Posted Sep 17, 2010 10:57:28 AM

By Evan Powell, Editor

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Paul, the L1 is rated at 20 lumens, and the ShowWX is rated at 10. We tested both and found our L1 sample putting out 18 lumens, and our ShowWX sample putting out 9 lumens. Based on the meter readings, the reviewer is correct in stating that the L1 is twice as bright as the ShowWX.

Posted Sep 15, 2010 10:54:48 AM

By Paul Anderson

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"the L1 is twice as bright as the ShowWX."

How do you guys figure that? Even if the L1 were capable of 20 lumens (which other reviews and my own use have shown is not the case), it still wouldn't be "twice as bright" as the ShowWX since the human visual response to an increase in lumens is logarithmic, not linear.

I owned both at one point in time (I sold the L1 and kept the ShowWX), and showing the same content side-by-side, the L1 appears only slightly brighter than the ShowWX.

The PK201, by contrast, actually appears to deliver on its 20 lumen output spec, and it is comfortable to view at 100 inches, unlike either the ShowWX or the L1.

If you happen to have both, display a similar sized image from the PK201 and the L1, and see if you think the L1's 20 lumen spec stands up.

Posted Sep 15, 2010 10:03:25 AM

By Nabi

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Don't know about 10 lumens--my Acer K11 with 200 just makes it. The Acer, at 400 bucks is cheaper, too. Portables, I think, is the last resort of personal projectors. The big screen TV is coming on too strong.

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