Tuesday, July 7, 2015

PC Magazine's Editor's Choice Award

Celluon PicoPro
Full Article


The Celluon PicoPro ($379.99) is one of the most portable projectors on the planet. It weighs just 7 ounces complete with batteries, and it's small enough to fit comfortably in a shirt pocket. It lacks some features that are common for pico projectors, like the ability to show images stored in memory. However, it more than makes up for that by letting you easily project images from a cell phone or tablet, and it offers some neat tricks of its own, including eliminating the need to focus. Most important, it offers enough to make it our Editors' Choice pico projector.

The PicoPro $349.00 at Amazon is the first pico model to use MicroVision's PicoP laser technology since MicroVision stopped making its own projectors. That alone separates it from the competition, which all use an LED light source...

One of the advantages of using a laser as the light source is that you don't have to focus, which is simply in the nature of laser light. Just point the projector at whatever you're using for a screen. You also get remarkably uniform brightness from edge to edge across the screen. I measured the variation at only 6 percent—a difference that's too small to see.

Another plus for the projector is that it stays cool enough so it doesn't need a fan. That makes it as noise-free as you can get and saves on power, which extends battery life. Celluon rates the battery at more than 2 hours when you connect it wirelessly and more than 3 hours if you connect it by cable.

Setup is easy. Make the connection and point the projector at whatever you're using for a screen. One minor issue is that if you put the projector flat on a desktop or other surface, and it's not right at the edge, the bottom part of the image will hit the desktop instead of making it to the screen. The obvious fix is to use the stand that comes with the projector, but it works just as well to put the projector near the edge of the surface it's on.

Brightness and Image Quality
Celluon rates the PicoPro at 32 lumens, and I measured it at 29. According to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), 30 lumens is bright enough for extended viewing for a 21- to 29-inch (diagonal) image in theater-dark lighting, assuming a 1.0 gain screen and a 16:9 aspect ratio. For moderate ambient light, it's bright enough for a 14- to 15-inch (diagonal) image.

MICROVISION 40 Lumen Display Technology Assessment Unit

The complication here, as Celluon is quick to point out, is that some research indicates that people perceive reflected laser light as brighter than light from other kinds of sources with the same measured brightness. Celluon says that according to MicroVision, the perceived brightness is roughly equivalent to a 50- to 60-lumen measured brightness with standard projectors.

For testing with a PC, I followed Celluon's recommendation to use a 1,280-by-720 resolution. The projector handled our standard suite of DisplayMate tests reasonably well. Colors were a little off in some cases—with a candy-apple red and kelly green for example—but they were suitably vibrant and eye-catching. I also saw some reddish tinges in dark gray areas in some images, a problem that also showed up in a black-and-white movie clip.

Both black text on white and white text on black are easily readable at sizes as small as 6 points. However, some color combinations are much harder to read, because of ringing around each character, a problem that showed up with text on the Windows Desktop and with dialog boxes. All told, the image quality for data is easily good enough for PowerPoint presentations or for typical phone apps with large-size text. It's not suitable for working with a spreadsheet or word-processing document for very long.

The combination makes it an excellent traveling companion, highly attractive for most purposes, and our Editors' Choice pico projector.

No comments:

Post a Comment