Handheld 3M digital projector offers glimpse of the future

Sep 17, 2009 By Victor Godinez

You probably shouldn't buy the MPro120 handheld digital projector from 3M. But you should definitely be excited about it.

Right now, handheld projectors are useful to only a small slice of the gadget-buying population -- say, traveling workers who give lots of presentations to small groups and don't want to lug around a heavy traditional projector.

But the technology is improving rapidly and will eventually give us all 50-inch high-def televisions we can tote in our pockets.

Last year, I tested the Aiptek PocketCinema, which used 3M's first-generation "pico projector" technology.

The MPro120 uses the second generation, and it shows.

While the resolution is the same (640x480), the image is brighter and sharper.

The MPro120 connects to game consoles, DVD players, iPods, computers and just about anything else with a video output connection.

Setup is easy, and the device ships with just about every connector, power plug and cable adapter you'll ever need.

It is missing any kind of onboard or expandable memory, though, so you can't store videos directly on the projector (whereas the PocketCinema had both 1 gig of built-in memory and a ).

Once you're up and running, the image expands nicely up to 40 inches or so.

3M claims you can go up to 50 inches, but that's going to be too blurry for most people.

The projector also has built-in speakers that are a step above tinny, but it would have been nice for the MPro120 to include a headphone jack in case you wanted to use this device to watch movies on an airplane, for example.

The biggest drawback to the projector, though, is that the technology seems to be evolving so quickly that it's hard to recommend spending $349 on the MPro120.

HD versions of these mini projectors are probably coming next year, and after that, hopefully, we'll start seeing these projectors integrated directly into MP3 players, cellphones and portable game systems.

Nikon, for example, recently unveiled its $429 Coolpix S1000pj, a point-and-shoot digital camera with a built-in projector.

And more products like that are undoubtedly around the corner.

Still, if you need something like the MPro120, the device is solid and quiet and spits out a more than serviceable image.

Just don't be surprised if you find yourself opening your wallet again next year for the new and improved version.

Price: $349

Pros: Image quality is much improved from last year's technology and is decent up to 40 inches or so.

Cons: No onboard memory, memory card slot or headphone jack. Image resolution is still low.

Bottom line: It's expensive and it's missing some features, but the MPro120 works well now and is a tantalizing glimpse of the future.

(c) 2009, The Dallas Morning News.
Visit The Dallas Morning News on the World Wide Web at www.dallasnews.com
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: FINsix small-size laptop adapter uses special power platform

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

3M Launches First Pocket Projector

Sep 15, 2008

3M will launch their MPro110 mini projector later this month. With its composite video input, you can use it for presentations, playing games, or watching movies. You can even connect you iPod to the projector ...

Mitsubishi Launches Mini DLP Pocket Projector

Feb 10, 2005

Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America’s Presentation Products Division, the industry leader in home entertainment projector technology and innovation, today introduced its PocketProjector™, one of the world’s smallest ...

Samsung MBP200 Pico Projector Enhances Mobile Experience

Jan 09, 2009

Samsung today announced a new mobile phone accessory, the award-winning MBP200 Pico Projector. The Samsung MBP200 is the ultimate wireless accessory, offering advanced features designed to enhance the mobile ...

Epson Develops Postcard-Sized Mini-Projector

Sep 05, 2005

Epson announced that it had succeeded in developing a prototype postcard-sized mini-projector using an LED light source. With a footprint of just 13.8 by 10.3 centimeters (just smaller than a sheet of A6 paper) ...

A projector the size of a sugar cube

Sep 12, 2006

No larger than a sugar cube, the video projector is ready to hand at all times. Instead of the conventional microarrays, it contains just a single mirror which can be rotated around two axes. This makes it ...

Recommended for you

Study: Samsung phone durable, but iPhone has edge

Apr 14, 2014

Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone is more durable than last year's model and other leading Android phones, but the iPhone 5s outperformed all of them in part because of its smaller size, a new study finds.

Invention loves collaboration at Milan show

Apr 14, 2014

Collaboration drove invention during Milan's annual International Furniture Show and collateral design week events, yielding the promise of homes without mobile phone chargers, and with more ergonomic seating, ...

Amazon 'to release smartphone later this year'

Apr 12, 2014

Amazon is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of 2014, thrusting itself into a market already crowded with Apple and Samsung models, The Wall Street Journal reported.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Sep 17, 2009
Awesome. Not quite good enough for me to buy yet (I'd require it to be able to do at least 1280x768 to act as an impromptu monitor for my Media player. Hopefully that kind of thing at a reasonable price isn't too far off:).

More news stories

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

New US-Spanish firm says targets rich mobile ad market

Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica and US investment giant Blackstone launched a mobile telephone advertising venture on Wednesday, challenging internet giants such as Google and Facebook in a multi-billion-dollar ...

Unlocking secrets of new solar material

(Phys.org) —A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...