New Pocket Projectors From 3M Pump Up The Lumens

CES is just the event for little items like these: gadgets, pure and simple. Pico-projectors (or mini, micro, pocket, or what have you projectors) are among the few gadgets I really enjoy seeing incremental improvements in, and look forward to CES every year for those improvements. This year hasn’t disappointed: we saw Optoma’s new gear last night, Microvision has a new one coming tomorrow, and 3M has just brought theirs out as well.

There are two new projectors: the MP220, next in series of hot dog bun-shaped pico projectors, and the boxier MP410.

The MP220 is a bright 50 lumens, twice as bright as the last one I reviewed (the MP160), and competitive with the new ones from Optoma and others. It has a 1024×600 resolution, a revised design (wisely revised, I think), and they claim it will last for two hours. The price has also gotten a bump: a daunting $479. At that point you start running into “real” projectors as competition, at least in price.

Then there’s the MP410, a more stationary solution but still battery-powered. It’s significantly larger – 4″x4″x1″, and heavier (a shade under a pound), but it pumps out 300 lumens at 1280×768, which is enough to play your HD games and movies, though I wouldn’t trust its online decoders to do the job — better to plug in your laptop or iPod. It has VGA and HDMI inputs, and will run you $699.

My only question with these things is whether they’ll run into the same problem as the AAXA P4 I just reviewed: noise. Such bright bulbs and heavy-duty processing, these things get hot right quick and have to spin their fan at high speed. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to check these out, so watch for our review in the coming months.