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Review: That IS a projector in my pocket (3M Micro Professional Projector – MPro110)

Aside from the drool-worthy netbooks at CES in early January, I was astounded by the technology advances in portable projectors. Specifically, pocket-sized projectors made for sharing business presentations, home movies or entertainment, and for mirroring your laptop screen pretty much anywhere you choose.

One such projector, the 3M Micro Professional Projector – model MPro110, has started an amazing opportunityfor 3M in the projector market.

Apart from this device – which I’m going to dissect in a moment – 3M has recently developed a projector engine based on the MPro110 that will fit in nearly any handheld device. This means that projector tech will be in all types of gadgets by the end of 2009.

Cell phones, MP3 players and more will have the ability to share content on any surface and up to 50-inches in size. Very cool.

Back to this unit. The MPro110 is just plain neat. In two hours and three minutes I had it out of the box, charged and mirroring my laptop on the ugly faux wood paneling in my home. Two hours of that time was spent charging the battery, so it really took me a grand total of three minutes to screw the cables into my laptop monitor adapter and start projecting.

Right off the bat, if you’re a Mac user you’re behind the eight ball. The MPro comes with a video cable and a VGA adapter cable. Unless you’ve got the VGA to monitor port adapter from Apple, you’re out of luck.

Similarly, if you haven’t purchased the video cable for your iPhone or iPod, you’re going to be down another $50 before you can share the latest Scam School video podcast or YouTube video from your i-device.

But once that pain is gone, you’re home free. For $300 (street price), you can take this projector anywhere and have some fun.

The battery lasts nearly an hour on a charge or you can run it via the included power adaptor to get more time.Two neat features on power…the projector enters a power-save mode after 30 seconds without a video source connected and sleeps after 60 seconds. When a video source is added, the projector wakes right up.

The monitor has an integrated screw mount in standard 35mm camera size – so you can put the projector on a mini tripod easily.

The battery door screws in place – so there’s no danger of losing little parts. And the body is light, but solid.

As far as image quality goes, it’s good. The focus wheel at the front of the projector is easy to manipulate. Drawback is that your fingers can easily get in the way while you’re focusing.

The only other shortcoming I noticed was brightness. I think the lamp could stand to be brighter, but what do you want from a projector you can fit into your pocket?

Overall, I give the projector major props for being the solution a lot of people are looking for when sharing images and entertainment. It’s a no-brainer purchase for any salesperson who shows presentations to groups of six or less. And it’s fun for practically any age range.

I’m waiting for a couple competing models so I can compare and contrast the 3M’s quality, but so far for $300 I’m projecting a broad smile.

About Jeff Cutler

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