In case you haven’t noticed, projectors have got a lot smaller. They used to be massive things, ran hot, were power-hungry and needed a chunky stand or coffee table to sit on – if not a dedicated home cinema room. But a few years ago the combination of small, high-quality DLP chips and energy-efficient LED lamps made it possible to build projectors the size of a hardback book or even smaller. You can now buy a projector the size of a Rubik’s Cube or smartphone.
With battery-powered operation, built-in speakers and lamps that last for tens of thousands of hours, these best portable movie projector are perfect for take-anywhere entertainment. You can use them with a big screen in the living room or pair them with a portable screen when you take them away on holiday. Given decent weather, you can even use them outdoors in the summer. Better yet, because they’re small, light and relatively cheap, you won’t mind lugging them around. Sounds good? You might just have found a new way to enjoy your favourite TV, games and films.
Top 10 best portable movie projector in UK 2021
Here come our 10 best portable movie projector. Every product has specific features to serve multiple purposes. Find out which one pleases you most!
1. ViewSonic M1 Portable
ViewSonic optimized its projector for maximum portability and longevity, but made a couple of significant concessions on the way. First, the good: the M1 gets six hours of battery life, weighs 1.65 pounds, and has a very healthy mix of ports (one HDMI, a MicroSD Card slot, a USB port, and a USB-C port). It even has 16GB of internal storage, so you can keep movies and TV shows on the projector instead of carrying around a flash drive.
These are all great features, but they come at the cost of resolution (854 x 480; 480p), and brightness (250 lumens). It can throw an image up to 100″ from 8.9 feet away, or 60 inches from 5.1 feet away, but the image will look worse than the native HD projectors above. It does have Harmon Karden stereo speakers, though, so it should sound better than average.
If you’re looking for a projector that’s mostly for office presentations, and occasionally for outdoor movie nights, this is your best bet.
2. Epson EF-12
Without a doubt, the best portable projector on the market. At 17.5cm across, and weighing just 2.1kg, it’s easy to move around from room to room or, hopefully one day soon, to your friend’s house for film night. But there’s smart guts in that slim profile, to whit: 1080p resolution courtesy of Epson’s 3LCD laser projection at an enormous 250,000:1 contrast ratio, which offers an incredible colour reproduction and pin-sharp images that you’ll swear can’t have emerged from a box that size, as well as a 360-degree projection angle, so you can position it wherever you like.
The one downside is that, at just 1,000 lumens, this is very much a projector for a dark room with the blinds drawn, rather than a TV-replacer. But on the plus side, it also comes with a pair of 5W speakers, by audio specialists Yamaha, built in. Because a portable projector isn’t that portable if you have to lug a Bluetooth speaker around with it.
3. LG Electronics PH30N
The PH30N is not only less expensive than the two above, it’s also tiny. This mini projector fits in my hand, yet creates a 720p image. It has an HDMI cable input, plus a USB connection that might be able to run a streaming stick off the LG’s internal battery.
The stick connection is important because the LG lacks built-in apps. Light output is about half that of the Anker Mars II Pro and M2, though their contrast ratios are roughly the same. The internal battery should last around 2 hours in the projector’s dimmest mode. Less if you’re also powering a streaming stick.
It fits in places other projectors won’t, however, making it, ahem, handy.
4. Optoma ML750e
The ML750e by Optoma is a lot more powerful than the pocket-sized PicoPix from Phillips, but it’s not quite as small. Still, it weighs just 380g with a small footprint that makes this easy to carry around. The differences in size between this and the PicoPix are negligible for the power you get in return: a 700 Lumens lamp that lets you present in rooms that aren’t completely darkened. The Optoma ML750e is one of the best portable projectors in the world thanks to its impressive range of ports. It comes with one MHL-ready HDMI input, a USB 2.0 slot for thumbdrives, a universal I/O slot, and a microSD card slot. The ML550 handled our 90-inch test screen with impressive results, and peaked at a 60-inch-or-so size. However, you need to buy a dongle for Wi-Fi access.
5. NEBULA Capsule II
You’ll find all the same features as the Nebula Apollo here, with 720p resolution instead of 480p and even a better-sounding Bluetooth speaker, which makes the experience of watching your favorite movies or shows even better. Instead of using Android 7.1 to power its smart UI, this portable projector uses the Android TV, which is clean, intuitive and easy to navigate. With wi-fi connectivity, Bluetooth and Google Assitant-powered voice commands, there are no shortage of robust connectivity options, but these additional features also come at a higher price than the Nebula Apollo. Just make sure you are in a dark room to enjoy the full visual experience.
6. Epson PowerLite
The Epson PowerLite 1781W is larger than the other options on this list. In fact, it may be the biggest projector we’ve covered. However, it can still fit into any backpack and your briefcase (or carry-on). So while it is larger, it packs a punch for the size.
This is because the Epson PowerLite 1781W is able to produce an incredible 3,200 lumens. This makes it a great projector when you need to put on a presentation in a fully-lit room.
The Epson PowerLite 1781W has a resolution of 1280 by 800 and comes with a number of connection ports. This includes a VGA computer monitor port, an HDMI, a USB type-A and a USB type-B connection. There is also an RCA composite video connection, although you will need to plug in the audio into a speaker system if you want audio.
The Epson PowerLite 1781W is on the heavier side when compared to the other projectors at four pounds. Ultimately, you’re buying this kind of a projector if you want something that can perform in fully lit rooms yet is still small enough to fit into a bag.
7. KODAK Luma 150 Pocket Projector
Have you ever had a video you wanted to show a group of friends, but you don’t want everyone to crowd around you to see it? The KODAK Luma 150 will do the trick. This tiny projector is great for sharing YouTube videos, presentations, and just about anything else.
The KODAK Luma 150 is tiny, at just 4 by 4 inches and less than an inch thick. It won’t exactly fit in your pocket, but it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your bag either. The Luma 150 comes with a built-in 1.5-watt speaker, but you may want to plug in something bigger for some added oomph. Unlike a lot of projectors, the Luma 150 also supports AirPlay and screen mirroring. It really is as simple as pulling it out and turning it on to get going. If you do want to connect a device, such as a DVD player or Apple TV, there is an HDMI port.
8. BenQ GS
BenQ’s GS2 is one of the best-designed portable projectors, with a 1,280 x 720 HD resolution, a built-in lithium-ion battery and a 500 ANSI lumens LED lamp. Pack it away in the bundled kit bag and you can take it anywhere you want. The battery lasts for up to three hours and you can stream video to it from a smartphone or tablet, using Wi-Fi, USB-C or HDMI.
The software does have some shortcomings. The BenQ uses a variant of Android that doesn’t seem to work across all phones – or support copy-protection when content is mirrored from your phone. This means you can’t just stream your favourite films and programmes from the Netflix or Amazon Prime Video apps. While you can download native apps from the preinstalled Aptoide store, these are older versions with image quality issues and quirks of their own. At home, we’d suggest plugging in a streaming TV stick, as you’ll get a smoother experience.
9. ViewSonic PA503S
Perfect for in-office presentations or to take on business trips, the ViewSonic PA503S projector supports 1080p HD resolution and uses DLP (digital light processing) technology for sharper pictures, so your video clips and photos always look their best. The lamp is rated for up to 15,000 hours of life and produces up to 3,600 lumens of brightness, making your slideshows and video clips easy to see. The lamp also has a SuperEco feature that reduces power consumption and extends the life of the bulb, ensuring that this projector will last for years.
The portable projector has plenty of connection options, including HDMI, VGA, and USB, while it also supports both Windows and macOS based computers. It comes with a remote for intuitive and easy to use controls, and a carrying case is available to protect the unit from damage during travel. The projected image size ranges from a minimum of 30 inches to a maximum of 300 inches, easily fitting your presentation to any room size.
10. Epson EH-TW7100
It’s a shade pricey for an entry-level device but, make no mistake, this is the king of affordable 4K projectors. It’s easy to set up and install, and produces a picture that’s reminiscent of what you’ll get at the cinema.
You’ll get a great image right out of the box without needing to be any kind of expert at tinkering with the settings. All the preset modes are very well judged and it gives an excellent level of black depth and dark detail for a projector at this price. Colours are balanced and motion is naturally smooth.
That said, it’s as much the convenience of this machine that makes it so good. Bluetooth allows for direct connection with a wireless speaker or soundbar, and the high luminance means that it’s usable in moderately lit rooms. In other words, an AVR, speaker package and home cinema room are not entirely necessary.
How to choose best portable movie projector for you
Manage your expectations. You can’t expect the kind of experience you’d get from a good, dedicated home cinema projector. For one thing, most of these models use a low-resolution DLP chip to create the picture that’s beamed to the screen. In many cases, this is a standard-definition chip, giving you the same 848 x 480 resolution as a movie on DVD.
While a few reach 1080p Full HD, the more affordable, portable models top out at 720p HD. This means you won’t get the pin-sharp clarity you’re used to from today’s 4K and HD TVs. Be wary of cheap projectors promising a 1080p resolution too, as this often means they support a 1080p image but will downscale it to 480p.
You won’t get the same levels of contrast and brightness with a portable projector, either. A proper home cinema projector will dish out 2,000 ANSI lumens or more of brightness, so that you can have bright whites, deep blacks and rich colours in dark conditions. Even in a sunlit room, the picture should still be watchable.
LED portable projectors tend to achieve anything from 100 to 2,000 ANSI lumens, with the vast majority sitting somewhere between 300 and 800 ANSI lumens. In a dark room, you can still get a decent picture, but if you’re expecting true cinema quality or something that’ll work with the curtains wide open, you may end up feeling disappointed.
Needless to say, budget is a factor. As a rule of thumb, the more you spend, the brighter the image and the higher the resolution, giving you a better experience overall.
What else should you look out for?
Throw is a big deal with projectors. Due to the way they work, by beaming an image onto a flat surface, the size of the projected picture will be determined by the distance between the projector and screen. All projectors have what’s called a “throw ratio”, which determines how big the picture will be at any given distance, and some are what’s called short-throw projectors, meaning they’re designed to give a bigger picture even from a distance of one or two metres.
Most of these portable models have a relatively short throw and the shorter, the better if you’re stuck for space or planning to project from a coffee table. Remember that your maximum size will also be affected by the brightness. Try to fill a 120in screen with a 100 ANSI lumens projector and you won’t get much contrast, colour or anything else.
Keystone-correction is another must-have. Projectors are best positioned with the lens facing directly at the centre of the screen, but in practice this isn’t usually practical, so the projector has to be placed above or below – or even to one side – and angled up or down and left or right. This distorts the picture so that the rectangular image looks like a trapezoid (or worse) – an effect known as keystoning.
Of late, due to the pandemic, many of us have been less mobile than our devices. But now is a good time to make sure your tech will be ready to hit the road. Whether you’re a business traveler who makes presentations at multiple venues or you want to share movies and photos with friends in person, there are portable projectors up to the task. Just make sure you pick one that’s designed for the images you’re projecting and the space you’ll be in.