Small projector packs a big punch

Sony's MP-CL1, housed in a matt aluminium casing, weighs about 200g. But despite its diminutive size, the pico projector is powerful enough to throw a bright image onto most walls, both in indoor and outdoor settings. It comes with laser beam scannin
Sony's MP-CL1, housed in a matt aluminium casing, weighs about 200g. But despite its diminutive size, the pico projector is powerful enough to throw a bright image onto most walls, both in indoor and outdoor settings. It comes with laser beam scanning technology.PHOTO: SONY

Sony's MP-CL1 is easy to use although you may need a backup power source

Sony's first foray into the handheld projector market, the MP-CL1, is a gorgeous and sleek affair that packs a big punch despite its small size.

The projector, which is housed in a matt aluminium casing, weighs about 200g. It feels about the same size and weight as an external hard disk drive, and can fit into any bag or even a large pocket.

But despite its diminutive size, the pico projector is powerful enough to throw a bright image onto most walls, both in indoor and outdoor settings.

It can be hooked up to a laptop via an HDMI cable, or to tablets and smartphones via an MHL cable. If you do not have such connections handy, the projector can also be linked up over Wi-Fi.

Setting up the MP-CL1 was a breeze, and required barely any configuration. I just plugged in a cable, selected a source, and was good to go. While the projector has only a mini-HDMI port, it also comes with an HDMI to mini-HDMI converter, so I did not need to source for that converter myself.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $549

    RESOLUTION: 1,920 by 720 pixels

    CONTRAST RATIO: 80,000:1

    ASPECT RATIO: 16:9

    BRIGHTNESS: 32 ANSI Lumens

    SIZE: 149.5 by 77 by 13mm

    WEIGHT: 210g

    BATTERY CAPACITY: 3,400mAh

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Getting a sharp image is also simple. The MP-CL1 comes with laser beam scanning technology which allows the projector to auto focus, even if the distance between the screen and the machine changes.

There is an accessible switch on the right side of the projector for manual keystone correction, to keep the screen uniformly shaped.

I used the projector to watch movies and television shows in 1,920 by 720-pixel high definition on both walls and ceilings.

It comes with a stand that can be angled in two directions: horizontally towards a wall, or vertically pointing towards the ceiling, which is great for lazy folks like me who like watching shows in bed.

I threw the image about 2m away, and found that, at that distance, the video was crisp and bright. This is despite it being day outside and with light leaking through the curtains, making my room bright enough to navigate easily.

The specifications of the projector claim that it can project a screen size of 120 inches at 3.45m away, but I was not able to find a large enough smooth surface to test that on.

During the review, the 3,400mAh battery lasted just over two hours on a single charge. So if you are planning on watching a long movie, do prepare a backup power source. The projector draws power via a micro USB port, so it can be easily connected to a laptop or power bank to charge.

• Conclusion: Sony's first pico projector is a powerful, easy-to-use affair housed in a very portable, handy package.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2015, with the headline 'Small projector packs a big punch'. Print Edition | Subscribe