The LCOS-based Ray pocket projector from Ray Displays offers a VGA (640 x 480) resolution, a 7 to 10 lumen brightness rating, and a lower price than the competition, at $200 street (the projector is currently available only at Fry's). The low price goes hand in hand with minimal features, however. The projector doesn't include such conveniences as the ability to read files from an internal memory or memory cards, for example. It also lacks any way to connect to a computer. On the other hand, it comes with an assortment of cables that connect to a variety of video devices, making it a potentially good companion for cell phones, cameras, iPods, and the like.
Low Price for VGA resolution The projector's low price is its strongest feature. Not only is this one of the least expensive projectors available, it combines the low price with full VGA (640 by 480) resolution. Most other similarly priced projectors are half VGA (480 x 320).
Rainbow Free. Unlike most pocket projectors, the Ray projector doesn't use a sequential red-green-blue LED light source for its primary colors. Instead, it uses a white LED along with red, green, and blue filters on the LCOS chip. Sequential light sources depend on the human visual system to integrate the colors over time, which can lead to light areas on the screen breaking up into little red-green-blue rainbows if you move your eye or an object moves on screen. Using a white LED and filters to show red, green, and blue simultaneously eliminates any possibility of this color breakup.
Good Battery Life. Ray Displays rates the battery life at a reasonably long 2 hours. Should the battery go dead, you can still use the projector by plugging in the 4-ounce power block. Unfortunately, you can't replace the battery. Once it dies, you have to rely on the power block until you've had a chance to recharge the battery with the projector off.
Good Connectivity for Video Sources. Although the Ray projector has no way to plug into a computer (unless you have a composite video output on the PC), and it offers only one connector -- a 2.5-mm miniplug audio-video input -- it comes with cables and adaptors that will let you connect to a variety of video sources.
Three of the four cables offer connectors that will, between them, plug into an iPod, Zune, Archos, Cowon, and Zen Vision, among other choices. The fourth ends in a set of RCA plugs that can connect to any equipment that uses RCA jacks for composite video and stereo audio output.
In addition, Ray Displays supplies an RCA-coupler -- three gender changers tied together -- so you can plug the cable from the projector into one side, and another cable going to a video source into the other. The coupler is particularly handy for video sources like cameras, which have non-standard video connectors and typically come with their own cable to plug into the camera on one end and an RCA video input on the other.
Includes Tripod for Easily Adjustable Image Height. Adjusting image height is a potential problem for pocket projectors. The Ray projector addresses the issue by coming with a small tripod with 4-inch flexible legs. The tripod screws into the bottom of the projector and makes it easy to aim the projector up or down, as needed.
Reasonably Small. Some pocket projectors are bigger than others. The Ray projector is on the small end of the scale, at .7- x 2.3- x 4.4-inches and 5.5 ounces -- about the size and weight of a smartphone.
Good brightness uniformity. Most pocket projectors have a problem maintaining uniform brightness across the entire screen. The Ray projector did unusually well on this score, with a 76% brightness uniformity on our tests. This translates to showing no obvious hot or cool spots even on a solid white screen.
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