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Buyer Beware: smartphone projectors review

The market for smartphone projectors has exploded in recent years, but are these handheld and mini projectors really as spectacular as the manufacturers claim? There are mini projectors available that create shareable big screen entertainment from the palm of your hand, you just have to avoid the pretenders and the impostors on offer.

Don't settle for a blurry images only visible in the pitch black, don't settle for squinting at your smartphone, get something guaranteed to deliver your entertainment  in big screen style.

The Bargain Bin Smartphone Projector

The smartphone projector can come in many shapes and sizes but when a projector is priced at less than £20, regardless of any other factors, it is guaranteed to disappoint. We've sifted through the reviews on Argos and it's clear this T3K mini video projector doesn't cut it, offering 'blurry', 'dark' and 'distorted' visuals. Don't be fooled by a retro cardboard projector exterior, this type of projector can never match a genuine projector, they don't even offer a brightness rating in lumens! A lumens rating is the way projectors are measured on their brightness  and it is the most basic piece of information you should be searching for when buying any projector, so when a product can not offer that information you should avoid it at all costs.

The screen sizes offered by smartphone projectors of this style never match up to the 120" image sizes on offer from genuine portable projectors. Generally these cheap handheld projectors will create a larger image size than you would get from a phone but the image itself is largely unwatchable due to the low brightness and low resolutions on offer.

Moto Mods

Despite only being available for the Motorola Z family of phones the Moto Mod Projector looked promising, however, when people asked "how bright is the motot mod?" everyone realised its price of around £200 only got them a measly 50 lumens of brightness. Related image

The basic promise of projecting your smartphone screen at a much larger size is delivered by the Moto Mod Projector, except for one crucial difference. You may have a 70" screen but the quality of your phone screen will far outweigh the weak brightness of of the Moto Mod. So once again this feels like settling for something which cannot deliver that promise of a quality image on a cinema size screen. Why not go for a device that is actually fit for purpose and can project 120" images at a brightness that is actually usable?

A Genuine portable projector

The best choice for a handheld smartphone projector is the Pico Genie P200, offering 200 ANSI lumens and 120" image sizes in a tiny handheld device. This has now been replaced by the Acer C200 which offers the same 200 ansi lumens with a massive 4 hour battery! Compared to the other mini projectors mentioned above those specifications may seem excessive and high spec, but they don't come with a high spec price tag. 

With a range of connectivity options the P200  and C200 can also be connected to both apple and android products but why limit yourself, it isn't just for smartphones, use it with your laptop and tablet too. You won't just be buying the ideal projector for your smartphone but the ideal portable multimedia device for all your big screen needs!

A portable projector is a more suitable and versatile option for mirroring your smartphone and other devices, if you're interested then read more about our Top 5 Portable Projectors for 2017.

The verdict

Looking for a smartphone projector can be difficult but don't settle for the second best, choose a projector to fulfil that promise of a bigger screen without sacrificing on quality.

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