Best smartphone projectors: We’ve put together a list of the best pico projectors to pair with your smartphone for the perfect mobile cinematic experience.
With the rise of streaming and on-the-go video consumption in general, it’s no wonder that smartphone screens have become nothing short of incredible; packing in as many pixels as that 50-inch TV on your wall and now even supporting cinema-grade imaging technologies. Despite all of that innovation, though, they’re still tiny.
Sometimes you want a big-screened experience with presence, sometimes you want to recreate that cinematic feel at home or even when you’re out and about, and that’s where a pico projector comes in.
We’ve started building a list of the best pico projectors we’ve tested, so you can pick a pocket pal to pair with your phone.
Asus ZenBeam E1 – £230
The Asus ZenBeam is the largest projector in our lineup, although that isn’t saying much and what’s more its size isn’t without added value. Packing in a capacious 6000mAh battery it’s got more than enough juice for your average feature film (Asus quotes 5-hours of use per charge, although that’s a little generous based on our testing) and when you’re not using it as a projector the ZenBeam can actually double as a power bank. The included protective leatherette pouch even features a cutout so you can plug a device in to charge without having to pull the whole thing out of your bag.
As for the projector’s actual hardware, the E1 can produce up to a 120-inch image at a maximum WVGA (854×480) resolution from its 150-lumen LED-based DLP system, with manual focus adjustment and automatic keystone correction built in. It also sports a 3.5mm jack for headphones or external speakers, an HDMI-in with MHL support that accepts sources at up to 1080p HD resolution, an integrated speaker and a tripod thread on its underside, which is invaluable when it comes to mounting it in a convenient place.
Biggest weakness: Lacklustre maximum brightness | Biggest strength: Smart hardware implementation
You can buy the Asus ZenBeam E1 on Amazon UK right here.
Aiptek MobileCinema i70 – £238
German manufacturer Aiptek gave us its MobileCinema i70 last year and it wowed us with its killer connectivity chops. This pint-sized WiFi-enabled projector supports both iOS and Android, as well as a host of other devices thanks to both AirPlay and Miracast functionality. It’s also an incredibly slim package at just 1.7cm tall and yet it can push out a WVGA resolution image at up to 80-inches.
It shares in the ZenBeam’s power bank functionality, but with a smaller 2300mAh battery inside, we’d stick to using it as a pocket projector. We just wish it offered some form of keystone correction and came with more mounting options.
You can buy the Aiptek MobileCinema i70 on Amazon UK here.
Biggest weakness: No keystone correction or mounting options | Biggest strength: Seamless wireless connectivity
Moto Insta-Share – £250
Samsung is the brand arguably best known for integrating a projector directly into a smartphone with its Galaxy Beam devices, but Lenovo also has a history of squeezing them into its Yoga tablets too and last year the company carried the same technology over to its latest flagship smartphone, the Moto Z.
The Insta-Share projector is actually one of the company’s Moto Mods – a range of modular accessories that magnetically attach to the back of any of Lenovo’s Moto Z-branded devices, which right now falls to the Moto Z, the Moto Z Play and the Moto Z Force (not available in the UK). It attaches seamlessly to the back of any of these devices and supplements their already impressive battery life with a 1100mAh cell of its own that throws an extra hour of use in on top.
What’s more, the Insta-Share is capable of producing up to a 70-inch image, features automatic keystone correction by using the sensors inside the attached smartphone and it packs an integrated stand so you can angle it up on your wall from any flat surface.
You can buy the Moto Insta-Share direct from Lenovo/Motorola here.
Biggest weakness: Propietary connection only works with select Moto smartphones | Biggest strength: Integrated stand and low-profile design
RIF6 Cube – £260
Another pint-sized projector that strikes a nice balance between the first two offerings is the RIF6 Cube. As the name suggests it takes up a smaller footprint than your average pocket projector (2-inches by 2-inches by 1.9-inches), making it easier to place into the environment to ensure you can set up a great viewing experience.
Along with an HDMI and miniHDMI input with MHL support, you can also slot a microSD card directly into the Cube to access media without an external source and its creators even throw in a dedicated stand and tripod to sweeten the deal. We just wish it offered better battery life, as 90-minutes is a little on the short side if you’re planning on sticking a feature film on.
The RIF6 Cube is up for grabs on Amazon UK here.
Biggest weakness: Short battery life | Biggest strength: Easy to mount & microSD support
Read our full RIF6 Cube review here.
If you’re looking for a projector with a little more oomph that’s purpose-built for home use with smartphones in mind, then why not check out our Xgimi Z4 Aurora review.