I have only reviewed a couple of pico projectors but that is enough to convince me how great having such a small, portable form factor is. Pico projectors are a very similar to those projectors you find in conference rooms or schools, but much, much smaller and with less light output. But what you may be lacking in light projection, you get back in portability, convenience and the fact that pico projectors are truly “personal projectors”. The two that I tested in the past, the Aaxa P2 and the Cinemin Swivel, were standard pico projectors that worked pretty well. But now my eyes have experienced a LASER pico projector and I’m suddenly very biased.
The MicroVision SHOWWX+ is a great little device. It is compact and very straight forward in terms of usability. What I particularly like about it is how it seems to have been designed with Apple products in mind. It is slightly larger than an iPhone and includes an Apple-specific pass-through component video cable to connect your iPhone with the SHOWWX+. In the past with other pico projectors, I struggled to figure out how exactly to set it up in terms of inputs but the SHOWWX+ is simple, just turn it on, plug it in to your iOS (or other device) and play. But it also supports connections to other devices (like laptops) that have video out (yellow) as well as VGA (but you need to buy a separate cable for that).
Oh, and to make things interesting, I am giving away a SHOWWX+ via Twitter but you will have to read on for the details!
The SHOWWX+ comes with:
- Rechargeable battery
- Wall charger
- Cable for iPhone, iPad, iPod
- Composite adapter
- Storage pouch
- Micro-USB cable
- Wrist strap
- User guide
Compared to other Pico projectors that I have reviewed, this one is incredibly easy to use. It is light weight and the size is not much larger than an iPhone 4 which means that is is very portable. The SHOWWX+ is great in both a family or business environment. You can instantly share a presentation from your iPad or laptop, or transform any wall into a movie theater. If you have Netflix or movies stored on your iPhone, suddenly you have an instant portable digital babysitter.
The projector measures 14 x 60 x 118 mm and weighs just 122 grams (with the battery installed). For comparison, the iPhone measures 9.3 x 58.6 x 115.2 mm and weighs 137 grams.
There aren’t many buttons on the SHOWWX+. On one side, there are UP/DOWN buttons that are used for selecting various menu items or changing the type of Color Mode or Gamma Mode.
On the other side is a 3.5 mm Audio Jack, Micro-USB/Power Input, LED Indicators (to show the battery charging and depletion levels), a Menu button (lets you control Brightness, Color Modes, Aspect Ratios and System preferences). and a Power Button.
It is important that when you power up the SHOWWX+ that you don’t have it connected to any video source. And, you have to press and hold the power button for a few seconds. Once the LED indicators are solid blue, you are ready to go. At that point, simply attach your video source. On an iPhone or iPad, once you launch a compatible application like the Movie player, a photo slideshow or an application like Netflix, the SHOWWX+ will check for a video output and then display a “Ready to Use” prompt on the screen. Then, just push play on your device and the video is projected.
The SHOWWX+ is very bright actually. But the brightness of the video depends on your environment. If you are in a dark room, you will get the best picture and you can project the image further to get a larger display. The SHOWWX+ can actually display up to a 100 inches in a dark room. However, if your room is dimly lit or lit, you will need to have the projection distance to be a bit shorter. But at a couple of feet, you can see the video quite well actually. The range is actually between 8″ to 100″ which gives an image size of between 6″ and 100″.
To see the device in action, take a look at the video review below:
[iframe_loader width="560" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/S9VfX8BBHA8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen]
One nice feature about LASER pico projectors is that they auto-focus. This means that if you are projecting on a curved surface, for example, everything is always sharp and crisp. This is very different than traditional pico projectors which require you to focus the image if you change the distance between the surface and the projector. Another important thing is that the 15 laser lumens is across the entire video image. Traditional pico projectors might have some areas that are brighter than others.
The resolution is WVGA (848 x 480) at a 5000:1 contrast ratio. There are 3 laser light sources of red, green and blue which means that color images are much more saturated and deeper than LED colors. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio as well.
Lastly, you can show videos that are about 2 hours of length one a full battery charge (that is enough for most movies). Charging takes about the same amount of time. You can use it while it is plugged in as well.
Jailbreaking for Better Performance
In order to make the MicroVision SHOWWX+ even better, you really should consider jailbreaking your iPhone. The reason I say this is because while there are several applications that do work out-of-the-box, not every application is supported. HuluPlus, for example, is one that I’m hoping is updated to support display outputs, but currently, there are only a limited number of applications that are supported. But by simply installing a particular jailbreak application called DisplayOut you can pretty much have it display your entire iPhone or iPad.
Remember that jailbreaking does potentially void your warranty. If you do have to bring your iOS device back into Apple, you will have to restore it into its original state. But, having this ability to output anything from your iPhone or iPad makes this application worth the minimal time investment in jailbreaking and the cost of the app itself (which is about $2).
I’m giving away one of these SHOWWX+ laser pico projectors via Twitter. Here are the details:
Here are some basic rules about this giveaway:
- You must be 18 years or older
- You must live in the continental US (sorry I am not mailing outside of the US)
- You must enter through OneKontest
- You must READ and AGREE TO these RULES within the Giveaway section of my site (specifically the “Legal Stuff” section).
- You only need to enter once.
- You must follow me ( @HighTechDad) so that I can get your contact information for prize fulfillment
This Giveaway starts on 03/02/2011 at 10:00 am (Pacific Time) and goes to 03/14/2011 at 10:00 am (Pacific). To enter, please visit the OneKontest giveaway page or you can use the widget below:
There is only one winner. If the winner does not respond to the winner notification, I will select someone else. You only need to enter once but be sure that your name shows up on the OneKontest page.
And the winner as of 12:49 pm Pacific on 3/14/11 is @kdrpokey:
There are a lot of things that I liked about the MicroVision SHOWWX+. For starters, it’s quite small and lightweight. Second, there is no need to focus it…ever. Third, the output is bright, crisp and clear. Fourth, it does NOT have a loud fan noise unlike some other pico projectors that I have tested. In fact, there is no noise that comes from it at all. And fifth, it’s very easy to use. The price point is a bit high but fairly comparable to other laser pico projectors. The MSRP is $399.99. Currently on Amazon, it is retailing for $380.00 as well but it will definitely come down after it has been out in the market for a while.
Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.
HTD says: The MicroVision SHOWWX+ is basically a theater projector that you can just throw in your pocket or purse. And having a laser output makes things crisper and always in focus.