While pico projectors are, by definition, small, many still require you to lug around a power plug. That's something else you've got to fit into your bag. The AAXA P300 pico projector, which has a built-in battery, helps alleviate that issue. Plus, with its microSD card slot and USB port, you don't even need to take a laptop with you to your next presentation. Still, $380 isn't cheap. Find out if this pico is worth the plunge.
Click to EnlargeThe P300 has a simple, clean design. The top of the projector is glossy black plastic, with silver control buttons arranged in a circular pattern in the middle, along with semicircular blue lights. The sides and bottom of the P300 are a glossy white plastic that hides fingerprints well. On the front, two LEDs -- one red, one green -- let you know if the P300's battery is charged.
Despite its size, this projector is not wanting for ports. The left side has a power plug, composite AV jack, microSD card reader and a full-size HDMI port. The back has a VGA port that requires a proprietary adapter, USB and a headphone jack. The right side has a focusing dial for the lens.
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Click to EnlargeThe P300 lacks an adjustable foot, but does have a screw mount in the bottom for a tripod, which is included.
At 5.9 x 3.8 x 1.5 inches and weighing 1.3 pounds, the rectangular P300 is a bit larger and heavier than other pico projectors. For instance, the ViewSonic W200 measures 5.1 x 5 x 1.3 inches and weighs 14.6 ounces. Still, the P300 will easily slip into a messenger bag.
Also included is a small plastic remote with bubblelike buttons for navigating menus and starting presentations. It's nothing special, but this remote gets the job done.
The P300's on-screen interface presents multiple options, but is fairly intuitive. The UI shows six icons on a blue background: Movies, Music, Settings, Photos, Documents and Input. We easily navigated through these menus using the arrow buttons on the top of the projector itself.
We liked that highlighting a particular document -- say, a photo -- displayed a thumbnail of the image itself as well as details about that file. It will even start playing a movie in this thumbnail view, which we thought impressive. The P300 is capable of displaying and playing MP4, MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV, AVI, BMP, JPG, GIF and TXT files.
Click to EnlargeThe P300 has a rated brightness of 300 lumens, which dips to 160 lumens when running on battery power alone. Using an AEMC lightmeter, we measured an average brightness of 91 lux, on a par with the ViewSonic W200 and the AAXA P4-X.
At a distance of 6 feet, the P300 projected an image that was 61 inches wide diagonally, just about the same size as the W200, but a bit larger than the P4-X, whose image was just 44 inches.
We were generally impressed by the P300's performance. Colors were a bit warm for our tastes, though. Whites showed up as pinkish on occasion, and skin tones were on the red side. While watching a 1080p version of "Skyfall," we noted fairly good contrast -- blacks and darker colors, such as deep blues -- were true. However, brighter colors, such as the reds and oranges in explosions, could be more vivid.
The P300 lets you switch between Movie, Presentation or Standard presets, or create your own profile. However, this projector lacks an automatic anti-keystoning feature like the W200; you have to adjust it manually.
Click to EnlargeAAXA says that the P300's optional lithium-Ion battery will provide more than 60 minutes of operation, and that claim generally held true. With the projector on Movie Mode (the brightness is at 48 percent), we made it through one hour and 10 minutes of "Skyfall" playing off a connected USB stick. Still, the AAXA P4-X lasted about 90 minutes on a charge.
The $380 AAXA P300 Pico Projector provides a nice mix of portability and power, combining the best attributes of the Viewsonic W200 and AAXA P4-X. This device projects a bright, colorful image, and a built-in battery lets you use it away from an outlet. However, the P300 is bigger than the above competitors, and it doesn't last as long as a charge as the less expensive $299 P4-X. Overall, though, the P300 is a good all-around pico projector that will help your presentations pop.