MP180 pocket projector set to steal the show

IF YOU HAVE been looking for a small, portable and battery-operated projector the MP180 from 3M may be just what you’re looking for. After unpacking it and turning it on for the first time I was pleasantly surprised about how bright the projected picture was and some really clever functionality makes the MP180 a project worth considering.

By Magnus Nysted

Published: Sat 28 May 2011, 12:08 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:05 PM

In a typical meeting room, with the lights turned off, you can expect to project an image perhaps one meter across. The 30 ANSI Lumens brightness is strong enough that in a very dark room you can increase that by a meter or more. That should be more than enough for business presentations as well as watching movies at home.

Let’s start with all the features: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, touchscreen, 4GB storage, MicroSD card slot, USB port, display connection, and more. It is battery operated but don’t expect to be away from a power source for more than 90 minutes or so. I ran a slideshow on continuous loop and the 180 made it just a few minutes short of that.

The native resolution is 800x600 pixels, which may not sound like much, but even if pictures and movies are higher resolution the projector scales them well. With 4:3 aspect ratio the projector is more suited for business presentations than movies but even an HD movie looks good.

The 4GB built-in memory is enough for quite a lot of photos and office documents but it won’t fit much video. The projector can read and display Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, JPG, MP3, H.264 and many other file formats. You can get the files onto the device using USB cable, MicroSD card, or Bluetooth file transfer. In effect, the MP180 can work very much as a self-standing presentation unit and you will not have to connect it to a computer all the time.

You control the projector using a small, 2.4-inch touchscreen. The touch operation could be much smoother and typing on the onscreen keyboard is frustrating. There is a built-in web browser and to scroll around you use the touchscreen like a trackpad on a laptop. And it would have been nice if 3M had thrown in a simple remote control.

One clear omission of functionality in the MP180 is keystone correction. If the projector is not perfectly perpendicular to the surface it’s projecting on to, the image will be distorted. Typically you’ll see the sides leaning in towards the center. You can usually correct that with projectors but not the MP180, which can very well be a problem for movies and business presentations.

As far as pocket projectors go, at Dh2,099 the MP180 is the best I’ve ever tried and it shows that these miniature models can start to rival much bigger ones soon. Picture and video quality is not as good as the more expensive projectors, of course, but you gain portability and flexibility.

· Magnus Nystedt talks and writes about technology as much as he can. Follow him on Twitter as @mnystedt for the latest on consumer technology in the Middle East.

More news from