The second generation of "pocket projector" has arrived. Being twice as bright and better featured than the first generation of pocket projectors makes them ideal for use with a small audience. In terms of size, weight, and performance, they fill a need between the pico projectors and the portable projectors. While these projectors are truly small, the name pocket projector is a bit deceiving, as only a clown could put one of these in his pocket.
To help put these projectors in perspective, here are a few pocket projectors that currently define this new breed. You'll notice that they are small, light, and bright enough for a small audience.
One of the first "second generation" pocket projectors to reach the market was the Toshiba TDP-F10 LED Projector. It is smaller and lighter than a portable projector and about 10 times brighter than a pico projector. Native resolution is 800 x 600 and it can handle up to 1280 x 1024.
While setting up the Toshiba TDP-F10, I immediately attracted the attention of my kids. Being kid size and child's play to setup, they thought it was meant for them. Ah, but there is more to this light breathing dragon than meets the eye of a child. This could be a salesman's closer in this very tough economy.
Features - It's compact size and light weight (1.4 lbs) allows the Toshiba TDP-F10 to travel well. Its thickness (2.2 inches) makes it a little tricky to store in a standard laptop case but it will fit nicely in any backpack computer case or tilt-n-go case.
Simple Setup - The Toshiba TDP-F10 is a no-nonsense projector that does all of the essential functions and it's a breeze to setup. Establishing a computer connection, showing video, and running a presentation with an SD card was easy and I was able to do all three in fewer than 5 minutes.
Brightness - The best way to describe the Toshiba TDP-F10 is that it's bright enough to deliver your presentation to a group of 10 - 15 people and it's bright relative to its' size. We tested it using a laptop in a room with medium ambient light and a 48" diagonal image.
SD/USB Input - The Toshiba TDP-F10 is designed for the traveling presenter. It has a computer input, composite video in and most importantly, an SD-Card/USB input. Using the SD-Card/USB and built-in player software allows a presenter to store their slide show on an SD-card or key drive and leave their computer at the office. Simply open your PowerPoint presentation and save it in a JPEG format and copy the images to a key drive or an SD card. Pop it into the TDP-F10 and power it on. Use the supplied remote to navigate through your slideshow. You cannot change the order of your slides or edit them, but you can move back and forth through your presentation.
Video - the Toshiba TDP-F10 has a composite video input and with an optional VGA to component cable, the TDP-F10 will support HDTV sources up to 1080i.
Quiet - As a pocket projector, the Toshiba TDP-F10 is quiet with a noise level similar to an external hard drive.
LED Light Source - It's not stated anywhere in the user manual, but based on information about the LED module, the Toshiba TDP-F10 light source is expected to last up to 20,000 hours. If you've ever had a lamp fail before or during a presentation, you'll appreciate this feature.
Resolution - although the TDP-F10 can handle up to 1024 x 768 resolutions, its native resolution is SVGA (800 x 600). For the best image, set your computer to output SVGA. You can use the higher resolution, but text will lose its sharpness.
Remote - in a darkened room it's difficult to see the Toshiba TDP-F10 remote buttons. I fumbled quite a bit with the small, credit card size remote in low light conditions.
Carry Case - the included case with the Toshiba TDP-F10 provides protection for scratches, but little else.
Summary - Fifteen years ago, you could really "Wow!" your audience by showing up with a 20 pound overhead projector and active matrix flat panel display - the Toshiba TDP-F10 will bring some of that "Wow!" back to your audience and your presentation. It doesn't have a zoom and the resolution is limited but if your content is effective and tested, the compact Toshiba TDP-F10 will deliver.
The TDP-F10 is ideal for a traveling presenter who wants a projector that is simple to setup and offers a reliable light source. With the SD-card reader and remote, you can leave your laptop at home. It would also fit nicely in a small conference room because it's bright enough to display your information and quiet enough to not notice it.