3.5 star rating

Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector Review

Pros: Small attractive design; Built-in battery; HDMI cable adapters included
Cons: Limited menu options; No low-battery warning
The Verdict: The Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector makes it easy to present or watch movies from your tablet or smartphone.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

Brookstone HDMI Pocket ProjectorNow that tablets and smartphones are major tools in a road warrior's arsenal, it's time that projector companies recognize this fact. With a built-in battery and included micro- and mini-HDMI adapters--and an HDMI cable--the $299 Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector will connect to any device with those ports, so you can leave that laptop at home. Read on to find out if this pico projector should come along for the ride.

Article Continued Below

Design

Small and square, the Brookstone projector measures just 3.9 x 3.8 x 0.9 inches, and weighs a scant 8 ounces. It's even smaller than the Acer C120 projector (4.7 x 3.2 x 1 inches), though both weigh about the same.

In addition to its small size, we like the overall look of the Brookstone projector. The top of the device is a metallic gray plastic that does a fair job of hiding fingerprints. A small touch-sensitive circle lights up, along with volume controls on either side when the projector is turned on.

The black sides and bottom are vented; along the right is an on/off switch, and the back has a full-size HDMI port, USB, power and an audio jack. The left side has a small scroll wheel for adjusting the focus.

Included with the Brookstone projector is an HDMI cable--a rarity for projectors--as well as microHDMI and miniHDMI adapters, so you can use this device with tablets that have those smaller connectors. iPad users, however, will need to purchase a $40 adapter.

Unfortuantely, the projector only accepts input via HDMI, so you can't use it with just a USB stick or microSD card, as with the Aaxa P4-X.

Interface

Brookstone HDMI Pocket ProjectorThe Brookstone's on-screen interface is pretty minimalist, and is closer to the nonexistent one on the C120 than that on the P4-X. When the projector is on, pressing the circle lets you switch between two modes, Standard for video, and Presentation for text. And that's it. The touch button was fairly responsive, as were the two volume controls.

When looking at a document, Presentation mode increased the contrast so that black text stood out more, but the difference between it and Standard mode were minimal at best. However, when watching a trailer for "The Hobbit," Standard mode displayed colors more evenly, and performed better in darker scenes. For example, a dwarf that would be swallowed up by darkness in Presentation mode could be clearly seen in Standard.

Performance

Brookstone HDMI Pocket ProjectorInside the Brookstone projector is a DLP LED lamp rated at 85 lumens, almost identical to that in the Aaxa P4-X. Using an AEMC lightmeter, we measured an average brightness of 82 lux at a distance of six feet. That's below the Aaxa (89) lumens, as well as the Acer C120 (94 lux) and the Asus W200 (98 lux). It was also uneven: The middle of the image was a bright 132 lux, but the upper left corner was just 32 lux.

At six feet, the Brookstone projector beamed a 50-inch image, compared with 44 inches for the P4-X and 49 inches for the C120. Colors were fairly balanced, too. The grass of the Shire in a trailer for "The Hobbit" looked pleasingly green and lush, as were the reds and oranges in the fires of Mordor.

When connected to our original iPad running iOS 5, the projector would only display a YouTube clip after it had started streaming, and would only show photos stored on our iPad when we started a slideshow. However, when we hooked it up to our iPhone, which had been upgraded to iOS 6, the home screen, as well as any app we opened, was projected onto our wall.

While not impressive by any means, the dual 1-watt speakers in the projector kicked out fairly loud audio for something their size. We could easily hear that sonorous song in the trailer for "The Hobbit," but it was quite tinny.

Heat and Noise

Unlike many projectors this size, the Brookstone device remained relatively cool. After 15 minutes, the hottest spot, on the top near the lens, was 96 degrees Fahrenheit. That's nearly 20 degrees cooler than the P4-X. Even better, the fan, while noticeable, wasn't overly loud.

Battery Life

Brookstone claims the 3800 mAh battery in its projector should last 2 hours on a charge, and in practice, it lived up to that claim. That's about 30 minutes longer than the Aaxa P4-X. However, there's absolutely no warning when the battery is running low, which is a drag.

Verdict

Brookstone HDMI Pocket ProjectorYes, you could use a phone or tablet with other projectors such as the Aaxa P4-X. But, the full-size HDMI port as well as the included HDMI cable and adapters that come with the $299 Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector make it that much more convenient to use with your mobile device. While we wish we could adjust more settings, and had more inputs like the Aaxa P4-X, we like that the Brookstone projector lasts longer on a charge and runs cooler (and quieter). All told, those who plan to use their phone or tablet to give a presentation or watch a movie in their off-hours will like the Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector.

Tags: Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector, HD Pico Projectors, Pico Projectors, Projector, ultraportable projectors, reviews

Technical Specifications
Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector
http://www.brookstone.com/


Projector Resolution
Contrast Ratio
BrightnessAddNewOpt
Video InputsHDMI
Image Engine
Remote Control Features
Cool Down Time
Speakers
Color System
Zoom Focus
Projector Technology
Size3.9" w x 3.8" d x .89" h
Weight.5 lbs
AUTHOR BIO
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor
Michael A. Prospero has overseen reviews on Laptopmag.com since 2007, focusing on producing the most thorough and authoritative mobile product reviews. After receiving his Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia in 2003, Mike worked at Fast Company. Prior to that, he worked at The Times of Trenton, George and AlleyCat News.
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor on
Twitter Google+
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE