Like other pico projectors, 3M's MPro150 is small, compact, and stylish. But looks aren't everything. While the $399 MPro150 projects a bright picture and lasts more than 2 hours on a charge, it came up short in other departments.
The 3M MPro150 is similar in shape to its predecessors: the elongated 5.1 x 2.4 x 0.9-inch body is about the same size as two cigar tubes taped together. The entire chassis is coated in a soft rubber finish, which is pleasing to the touch, and the whole unit weighs just 5.6 ounces.
The lens has a small focusing wheel next to it, and on the opposite side of the MPro150 are two inputs: mini-HDMI and mini-USB. Between them is an audio-out jack. Along the right side is a microSD Card slot protected by a rubber cover. The MPro150 also has two 0.5-watt speakers (though you'll want to attach your own), and 1GB of internal memory. The projector supports BMP and JPEG images, H.264 and MPEG-4 video files, and AAC, AMR, and MP3 audio files. It can also display Microsoft Office and PDF files.
Like other pico projectors, the backlit controls on the top of the MPro150 are arranged in a circular D-pad style. To the right of the D-pad are Back and Power buttons.
3M conveniently bundles a small flexible tripod with the projector, but the mounting point seems a bit too far forward; we constantly felt that the projector was in danger of tipping backward.
The MPro150's menu structure is as simplistic as that on the PK301; that's not necessarily a bad thing, but Samsung was able to create a more sophisticated and intuitive interface on its SP-H03.
The MPro150's interface features nine icons laid out in a grid; a gold star in the middle is a shortcut for favorites. Arrayed around it (clockwise from top) are icons for a file browser, PDFs, photos, presentations, settings, spreadsheets, videos, and Word documents. All options lead to the same place, but results are filtered by the type of file you're looking for.
Despite a rated brightness of just 15 lumens, the image from the MPro150 was plenty large and bright. At 3 feet from the screen, the projector beamed out pictures about 30 inches across, which is roughly 7 inches larger than the Samsung SP-H03, and about 2 inches more than the Optoma PK301; however, it only projects in a 4:3 aspect ratio, whereas the Samsung and Optoma machines beam out a 16:9 widescreen format. The focusing wheel on the front next to lens was easy to use for making fine adjustments.
Despite the quality of the image, we were disappointed with several aspects of the MPro150. Our biggest complaint is the 4:3 aspect ratio. While 4:3 is fine for use with older notebooks and business presentations, it's increasingly out of date now that most notebooks have gone to a widescreen format. Worse, the projector squeezes the screen to fit, making on-screen items look distorted. Sadly, the same is true for videos played off a microSD Card. Fortunately, movies played smoothly: The Departed exhibited excellent contrast, deep greens, and vibrant reds.
Unlike the Optoma PK301 and Samsung SP-H03, the MPro150 doesn't include any color adjustment options. There's also no antikeystone feature, so the projector has to be on the same level as the screen.
Battery life was one bright spot: the MPro150 lasted 2 hours and 14 minutes when playing a movie. That's 14 minutes longer than advertised, and about 40 minutes longer than the Samsung SP-H03.
While the 3M MPro150 beams out a nice bright image and its battery lasts more than 2 hours, the inability to show 16:9 files in their proper ratio and lack of image adjustment options make this pico tough to recommend. For $100 less, the Samsung SP-H03 has everything the MPRo150 has to offer and more, even if you have to sacrifice some endurance.