X

Best Micro Projector

Have you ever found yourself staring at a minuscule TV in the corner of your hotel room and wished for something more? Maybe you travel often for work and are looking for a way to give presentations that won’t break the bank. If either of these people sounds like you, then you might be interested in a micro projector.

Times have changed and now, there are projectors which can easily fit into your pocket whilst also providing a crisp, clear, high-quality image as long as you have a surface for it to project onto. For this reason, they’re perfect for people with busy lifestyles. To save you time, we’ve filtered out the substandard products and created this list to help you figure out which is the best micro projector for you.

Best Micro Projector – Comparison Table

The table below shows all of the projectors we’ll be reviewing today and gives you a quick overview using a couple of relevant specifications. This isn’t the be all and end all, however, since often you’ll find that a product which isn’t so great on paper, exceeds expectations in a real life scenario. Well, here are the best micro projectors out there.

ProjectorBrightness (ANSI Lumens) Maximum Resolution
Crenova XPE46010001920x1080
ELEPHAS Projector26001920x1080
iCodis CB-100S100800x480
ASUS S12001920x1080

Now that you’ve had a quick look at our most recommended products, we’ll dig a little deeper into each of them. We’re going to examine the usefulness and quality of each projector and say where its strengths are, its weaknesses and where it might be most useful, beginning with the Stoga GM60.

1


Crenova XPE460– Best Budget Micro Projector

It used to be that projectors were only for people with lots of money, people who’d grown bored of TVs and wanted something new, but that’s no longer the case. Take this model, for example: it offers 1080p playback with a picture size of up to 130”, for less than a hundred dollars.

We found that the display was a little dim with the lights on, but realistically, you’re unlikely to find a projector capable of handling a bright room in this price range. With the lights out, though, the picture is nice and clear with crisp, well-defined colours. It also includes a remote control for easier use.

There’s a decent choice of inputs: as well as your standard VGA, HDMI and AV-IN cables, you also have the option to play media from an SD card or flash drive. It’s worth noting that if you use the AV cable, you’ll need to either rely on the projectors own very modest speakers or connect your own sound system via the 3.5mm headphones port since the AV port only deals with input, not output.

We’d class this as a mid-sized micro projector: it’s not tiny, but it’s far from being huge, too. It’s 12.4” wide and just 7.5” tall, so you’ll never be in a space too small to use it, which is great news. This small frame also ensures that you can put it in a drawer when not in use, so you don’t even need a permanent location for it. Additionally, it weighs just under 3 pounds and can be used in conjunction with a laptop, so it’s ultra-portable. The recommended distance from your projection surface is between one and four metres, so take this into account when positioning it unless you want an obscured or very dim image.

The only real usability issue we encountered with this projector is its short power cord. Depending on the layout of your room, you may need an extension cable to position it where you want it, but this isn’t a massive problem since most people have a spare just lying around anyway. There’s also the issue of fan noise: it doesn’t take long to heat up, and as a result, the fans start raising in volume. They aren’t loud enough to be distracting, especially if you have a film on, but in an otherwise quiet room, the noise is noticeable.

Overall, this is a great little product for someone looking to dip their toe into the projector market. It’s not going to replace your main TV anytime soon, but as a secondary screen or portable work monitor, it does a fantastic job, especially considering its low price.  

PROS
  • Very inexpensive
  • Wide range of inputs
  • Crisp, clear picture
CONS
  • Short power cable
  • Fans could be quieter
2

ELEPHAS Projector – Best Home Cinema Micro Projector

Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here: smaller projectors mean less power, so we’re not saying you should throw your TV out just yet, but dollar for dollar, the ELEPHAS Multimedia provides the best home cinema experience you can get from a micro projector under $200.

Take screen size: whilst the Stoga offers around 60”, this model can go all the way up to 170”. We wouldn’t recommend this for everyday use, however, since the larger the display, the more washed out the picture becomes. We found that the ideal size lies between 80 and 130”, with the projector about 2.5 metres away from the wall.

When we take into account that the given that the ideal size is so large, the lamp inside has its work cut out for it. The manufacturer estimates that it’ll last around 40,000 hours, so there are no problems in that respect, rather the main issue is that during the day, the display can be rather hard to see. In a dark environment, images appear very sharp with colours that really pop, though, so you might want to consider blackout curtains if you’re interested in using this in the long term.

Again, since the lamp works so hard, this product does heat up after a few hours, causing the fans to get louder. We’d recommend turning it off for a while to let it cool down, which should, in turn, ensure quiet playback. Unless you’re planning a Lord of the Rings marathon, you’ll probably be fine.

The projector itself is 7.4” across, 2.8” deep and 5.9” tall, and weighs around 2.1 pounds, and supports front, rear and even ceiling projection, which is good news if you like watching TV in bed, especially considering that it comes with a remote control. Additionally, you have a multitude of inputs including HDMI and USB ports, VGA, AV and audio out, so you know that no matter what you want to connect, there’s a good chance it’ll be supported.

We think that this projector will appeal most to those who have a limited amount of space or people who move around a lot. For this reason, it’s perfect for students or even in place of a secondary TV for your home. The price is still pretty low, and there are a few downsides, sure, but to improve upon this model, you’ll likely have to spend quite a bit more.  

PROS
  • Very large display
  • Wide range of inputs
  • Front, rear and ceiling projection
CONS
  • Gets hot after a few hours
3

iCodis CB-100S – Most Portable Micro Projector

The other projectors in this list require you to connect them to some kind of input, be it your PC, games console or tablet, but the iCodis CB-100S doesn’t need any of that. Thanks to its native Android operating system, this projector works as a standalone device, not dissimilar to a TV with a Chromecast plugged in, although much, much smaller.

There are some obvious benefits to this where portability is concerned: for example, it’s easier to take on the road with you, since you just have to plug the projector in and you’ll have full access to Youtube, Skype, Netflix and Kodi. Plus, if you do want to connect your mobile device, it’s really simple and can be done via Bluetooth in a matter of seconds. Don’t worry if you don’t have a flat surface for it, either, since it comes with a small tripod to guarantee stability.

Secondly, you’re given the option to play media from whatever you want, either from an online source using the projectors own web browser or from a Micro SD card or USB flash drive. All major image and video formats are accepted too, so you’ll never find yourself struggling to make a presentation work at the last minute. This model also features an internal battery in case you can’t find an outlet, and it lasts for around 90 minutes per charge.

The main drawback to this model is its resolution: whilst its competitors are offering 1080p playback, this projector displays content at just 480p (standard definition), so whilst it’s definitely usable for movies, it’s more suited towards presentations and office use. Projection size is between 40 and 60”, and thankfully, the size and orientation of the screen can be easily tweaked using the buttons on the casing. Despite the low resolution, the colours are striking and well defined, and the picture is easily visible even in semi-bright environments (although of course, for best results, a dark room is encouraged).

We love how small and lightweight this projector is. It’s about the same size as a chunky smartphone (5.7x3x0.6”), so it can fit into your pocket or bag easily and it won’t weigh you down either since it weighs just 0.6 pounds. Whilst it does cost more than some other projectors which have higher image quality, what you’re paying for here is versatility and cost effectiveness. The lamp bulb is estimated to last 30,000 hours, which given iCodis’ own estimates is equivalent to 20,000 full charges of the battery, so you know you won’t have to replace it for a very long time.

The portability of this projector is unmatched by any other in this price bracket, and it’s extraordinarily versatile given its wireless networking compatibility and dedicated operating system. This makes it a great, low-cost option for businesses, or perhaps people who travel to clients advertising their products. Previously, you’d rely wholly on a verbal product description, but with this projector, your sales pitch can take on a whole other dimension.

PROS
  • Very small and lightweight
  • No input device required
  • Easily adjustable display options
CONS
  • 480p max resolution
4

ASUS S1– Best Short Throw Micro Projector

The Asus S1 is a more expensive projector than any other in this list, but with good reason. A higher cost begets higher functionality after all, and we’re pleased to say that this model delivers in spades.

With a 1:1 throw ratio, you can have a screen of up to 100” in size from just 100” away. This simple metric makes it easier to judge and estimate how well the projector will work, even in unfamiliar environments.

 The image is very clear and we were surprised to see that even in dark areas of the screen, the different shades of grey and black were deep and distinguishable, whereas usually, a low-cost projector will struggle to accurately show these kind of colours.

Additionally, the built-in speakers are of a higher quality than usually found in a micro projector. Whilst not incredible, the sound is loud enough to fill a small room without sounding tinny or underwhelming. If you plan to make frequent recreational use of this, we would highly recommend connecting your own speakers, but in the short term, the S1 will do just fine without.

This projector weighs 0.75 pounds and measures 4.3x4x1.2”, which means it’s the perfect example of a Micro projector, size wise. It will fit just about anywhere and can be easily taken with you in the included carry case. Even better, this projector has its own battery which lasts up to three hours on a single charge and can even recharge your phone.

Asus estimate that lamp will last 30,000 hours, which is a pretty good amount of time when you put it into perspective. That’s good for one film a day, for 54 years! Your input options are fairly standard; USB, VGA, Composite and HDMI are all supported, so you can connect to just about anything, be it your TV, Hifi or games console. During average use, the projector creates up to 37dB of noise, which is quieter than a library and isn’t really loud enough to be heard over the audio from the projector’s speakers.  

Realistically, we think that this is the perfect projector for somewhere like an office or classroom, thanks to its excellent, crisp visuals and high versatility. And even if you’re not interested in office work, picture this: your favourite movie on a 100” screen for less than $300. That’s an offer not many could refuse.

PROS
  • Large screen size
  • Very small and lightweight
  • Long lamp life
  • Deep and varied darks
CONS
  • More expensive than similar models
  • WiFi not included

Best Micro Projector - Buyer's Guide

Projectors can be a tricky product to buy since there are so many specifications to compare, and not all of them relevant to you. That’s why we’ve put together this short guide on what to look for when comparing projectors for your home or office.

Brightness

First things first – brightness. Light is measured in lumens, but the standardised measurement for projectors is ANSI lumens, so keep an eye out, since quite often the manufacturer will only list the lumen measurement as it’s higher than the ANSI lumen rating. We know that this can be confusing, so we’ve found a more in-depth explanation for you to read here

Simply put, the higher the value, the brighter the lamp bulb. This is more important than you might think because the brightness of the bulb essentially dictates how large your display can get before it becomes too washed out to see clearly. Additionally, a brighter bulb means that you don’t necessarily need to dim all the lights whenever you want to use the projector, which is always nice.

That said, most projectors, especially relatively low-cost ones, will require some kind of environmental dimming, so if you haven’t already, consider fitting some blinds or blackout curtains for the best possible picture.

Portability

Obviously, since you’re in the market for a micro projector, portability is important to you. What a lot of people don’t realise, however, is that portability is about more than just the size or weight of the product, it’s the versatility to be used in any situation.

For example, can you just take it round to a friend’s house, or does it need a very specifically controlled environment? Some projectors are very fussy about being just the right distance away from the projection surface, so does it require a large room to use?

Say you have to give a presentation, do you have to connect your laptop to it and manually click through each slide, or can you just plug in a flash drive and have it automatically scroll through as you talk? What if your nearest outlet is all the way across the room, is the cable long enough? Maybe it even has a rechargeable battery built in?

These features are what separate the truly great projectors from the generic, and if you find one with this level of versatility, you’ll know that you’re ready for anything.

Image Quality

This is the part everyone is most interested in! The first, and most obvious attribute is resolution. Nowadays, the most common resolution is 1920x1080p, but if you’re looking for a budget projector, it’s possible that the maximum resolution is slightly lower than that (although it very well might accept the 1080p and downscale it).

You also have to consider how resolution affects screen size; the larger the screen, the less defined the image will be. If you have a high resolution, this isn’t a problem, but if your maximum output is 640×480, you might want to limit the size a bit.

Now, most projectors allow you to adjust the size and focus of the image by using either manual or automatic keystone correction. This sounds very technical, but in actually, it’s quite simple: manual correction just means you spin a dial or push a button until the image is at the size and elevation you want, whereas automatic does this on its own.

Conclusion


Every projector on this list would make a fantastic addition to your home or office, but the time has come to pick our favourite, and we’ve decided upon the ELEPHAS. Its high-quality output, large display size and varied projection options are uncharacteristic of a projector in this price bracket, and so it represents the peak of the low to mid projection market. 

Well, we’ve come to the end of our article. We’ve separated the truly great products from the cheap and unworthy, compared, contrasted and summarise in a way that we hope you’ve found helpful. With some luck, you may have found a model that you like, and if so, we ask that you’ll remember us the next time you need purchasing advice. In the meantime, however, thanks for taking the time to read this, and take care.