General Imaging ipico WVGA LCoS Projector
  • Performance
  • 2.5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$49 MSRP Discontinued

[Editor's Note: We do not recommend this product as the app is no longer available.]

Overview

The fast evolving pico projector market has produced devices that can help us multi-task through our lives. Having played with several already, I've found that some auxiliary bells and whistles could tempt a gadget lover to excuse low resolution simply because of a novelty attribute, like a fancy carrying case. But General Imaging's iPico hand-held projector, with a supported resolution of 960 X 540 and LCoS display knows exactly what it is: a solid pico projector for use ONLY with the iPhone 3GS, 4S, 4 and the 3rd and 4th generation iPod.

The iPico is a very unassuming projector. At first sight, I flashed back to my original Nokia cell phone. It is 4.44 inches by 1.89 inches by .67 inches and only weighs in at about 3.6 ounces. It easily nestled into the cell phone pocket of my purse. The iPico comes packaged with the projector, a USB cable, and a cleaning cloth. In order to charge, the manufacturer recommends using your iPhone or iPod power adapter. You must push up the iPhone/iPod connector to reveal the micro-USB port, which is under it. After about 2 hours of charging, you are ready to slip your iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S or iPod (3rd and 4th generations) onto the 30 pin connector. Instead of acting like a phone sleeve, such as the Brookstone Pocket Projector for iphone, this pico projector acts more like a podium for your device. It does have two rubber grips to add stability, but I'd exercise caution and refrain from letting clumsy hands near it.

 

Key Features

Since the iPico is specifically designed to be used with your iPhone and iPod, it offers a free and useful app. With it, you are able to access your videos, photos, and YouTube account. Also, you can visit your Facebook page and project your many browsing sessions of favorite websites onto your living room wall. You do need to add the addresses to the available list on the iPico app. I could not display the websites if I simply tried to navigate through Safari on my iPhone menu. I had to utilize the option on the app, which is tedious. By having to list the sites I want to visit, I must pre-plan my trip through the information highway. I prefer to go wherever the road takes me. Who has time to plan out their internet destinations?

The iPico can also be used as a document camera to magnify your important papers if you are in a bind. You simply hold the camera of your iPhone or iPod over the document(I used my cell phone bill) and the projector will enlarge and display it on the wall. I'm reminded of the overhead projectors we had in elementary school, except you can hold this one in your hand and you don't have to wheel it away. The text in the images was clear and easy to read after focusing. At first I scoffed at the magnifying feature, but I have found daily uses for it. My favorite of all the iPico app options is the illustrated battery life meter. Not only does it display the amount of juice left in your projector, but it also shows the charge left in your iPhone/iPod's battery. The graphic resembles green, bubbling battery acid. Always appreciate attention to detail.

The Viewing Experience

In past reviews, I approached projector setup in terms of entertaining my children. This time, I chose to keep the iPico mainly to myself. I used it every night to watch my favorite X-Files episodes through Netflix at 50 diagonal inches. With a resolution of 960 x 540, this projector provided a better quality picture than the Brookstone Pocket Projector for iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy Beam. I was impressed by the sharpness of the little green men.

With the iPico app, you are able to adjust the factory settings for contrast, brightness, and sharpness. I also sampled some nineties music videos through YouTube at almost 96 inches diagonally, which is pushing the manufacturer's suggestion of 50 inches. Sometimes you just have to redraw the boundaries. When watching the image at this large size, it was best to sit as far back as the projector was positioned, which in my case was just a bit over ten feet. After adjusting the focus, the large image was still defined and remarkably watchable, but color saturation and contrast took a beating.

Following in the footsteps of its pico projector brothers, the iPico is rather dim. The viewing is noticeably best when the room is completely dark and when you project the images onto a smooth, white wall. Ideally, we would all use our picos in a bat cave, but light blocking curtains do a superb job. Also, the audio is played through either your iPhone or iPod, so definitely plug in an external speaker to get the party started.

Limitations

Even with a sharp picture quality, the iPico has several limitations. First, after an hour of use, the projector, which is cooled by air flow instead of a noisy fan, becomes hot. The heat from the combination of the projector and iPhone after an episode of X-Files could have warmed my hands in a snowstorm. I didn't experience any negative effects from the heat, but it was definitely concerning. Second, this projector uses a switch that slides in order to focus the image. I am always complaining about the standard focus wheels being too clumsy, but the focus slide is very difficult to use when making slight adjustments. I would take two slides forward and one slide back, making little progress (not unlike my parallel parking). Finally, with a 30 pin connector, the iPico can only be used with the iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, and the 3rd and 4th generation iPods. Those who stood in line for the famed iPhone 5 and new iPods cannot party rock with the iPico. If it does not keep timely pace with the evolution of the partner Apple products, this useful projector will not have a sufficient moment in the sun.

Conclusion

The iPico is a definite competitor in the small world of pico projectors. With its defined picture and simplicity, I would see this device easily fitting into a young adult's backpack. I expect to see it used to display pictures and videos from Spring Break in Cancun. For those just wanting a simple, yet high performing pico projector for on-the-go movies and photos, the iPico, retailing for $130, is a good choice.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our General Imaging ipico projector page.

Comments (10) Post a Comment
Elaine Tait Posted Jan 29, 2013 7:53 PM PST
In the market for a projector for business and pleasure,. this was helpful thank you
TankGirl Posted Aug 31, 2013 10:30 AM PST
The ipico projector is junk. It won't even charge. And there is NO info or help to fix it anywhere!
bre Posted Dec 6, 2013 1:21 PM PST
Works great, just have to follow the procedures exactly.
Woody Posted Feb 10, 2014 3:04 PM PST
Projector came in DOA (sorta), the unit powers on and projects but will not connect to my iphone. the connector ribbon was broken...
kenny Posted Mar 12, 2014 10:14 AM PST
the projector only has enough power to play for 15 minutes after a full charge and while still on charge. As in even on charge it drains 10x faster then it charges.
Rolando castillo Posted Nov 10, 2014 3:14 PM PST
I can't find the iPico app!! Please somebody help
tammy Posted Dec 20, 2014 11:26 AM PST
I can't find the app either!! Is it still even available? I heard it was pulled. Which is very disappointing g if it's true. I can't use this crap without the app. It's useless.
Lynda Williams Posted Mar 22, 2015 9:05 AM PST
I bought the projector and it worked straight out of the box - with no app. For about 6 months (ish?). Then yesterday - no more. My phone and the projector suddenly don't recognize each other. I guess apple doesn't want a cheap alternative now that it's coming out with Apple TV. Whatever the reason, this projector is now JUNK. Enough people have confirmed it. Update your review, Laura Clinton/Projector Central!
Lbb Posted Mar 31, 2015 6:20 PM PST
Just recieved it. Device only plays movies purchased on I TUNES,Personal photos that are in a slide show, possibly Next Flix. That's about it. Will not project Keynote, Pages or Numbers Apps. You need an App that does not exist anymore to project these other apps. They do not tell you this in the description. It also takes a long time to charge. Not worth the money. Please update your review . 0 STARS.
Jazzy J Posted Aug 28, 2015 10:06 AM PST
I purchased this back 2012 for $249. I returned it and re-purchased it for $49 at Lord and Taylor.

I don't have the iPhone 4 so I needed to get the coverter for the iPhone 6. Well, it doesn't work You need an iPhone 4/4S or the older iPod with the same connector (30 pin).

Yea, this is junk but the LED is still strong.

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