Best Portable Pico Projectors Android Central 2021
Pico projectors come in all shapes and sizes, with some even available as modular attachments for your smartphone. They exist to fill the niche for those who want to project content directly from their phone or tablet to make it easier to share photos or watch movies with friends. Our top recommendation when it comes to the best portable pico projectors is the LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector because it uses a reliable and efficient LED lamp to cast up to 100-inch diagonal projections and can connect to virtually any media playing device you own — all while remaining portable enough to take with you wherever you go.
- Best Overall: LG - CineBeam PH550 720p DLP Portable Projector
- Best Value: GooDee 2021 G500 Video Projector 5500L
- Best Short Throw: ASUS ZenBeam S2 Portable Mini Wireless Projector
- Best Built-in Sound: Nebula Capsule II Smart Mini Projector
- Best for Portability: KODAK Luma 150 Portable Projector
- Best All-in-One: AAXA P7 Mini Projector with Battery
Best Overall: LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector
LG's portable projector lets you cast a screen up to 100 inches to replicate a movie theater experience in your home, at the office, or wherever else the mood strikes you.
The LED lamp offers brightness of 550 lumens when plugged in and 160 lumens running off the battery. The built-in wireless mirroring function works with Android smartphones and tablets. There are also HDMI or AV composite inputs for connecting computers, along with direct input for an over-the-air antenna or cable.
Alternatively, you can use the USB port for flash drives loaded with media files. While the built-in speakers are good enough for private viewing, you'll want to make use of the Bluetooth support for audio output for watching with bigger groups.
- 2.5 hours with internal battery
- Clean and sleek design
- Protective carrying pouch
- HDMI, Digital TV Tuner, Composite (AV), and RGB inputs
- Wirelessly connects to Android devices and Bluetooth devices
- 550 Lumens won't cut it in well-lit rooms.
- Power switch location is less than ideal
- Built-in speaker is underwhelming
Best Value: GooDee G500 Mini Video Projector
The GooDee G500 may come from an unfamiliar company, but this mini projector packs quite the punch in an affordable package. There are a plethora of input options, including HDMI, USB, microSD, and more. With a viewing range of up to 200 inches at 15 feet, this is sure to be a great companion for that movie night on the lawn or even on the side of a barn.
As for the lamp, GooDee rates this with a 50,000 lamp life, thanks to TFT LCD's inclusion, which provides lower energy consumption and longer life. There are built-in speakers and a hi-fi stereo system, but we wouldn't rely on this solely for your audio needs. Finally, GooDee provides a five-year warranty for the G500.
Everything sounds just perfect with the GooDee G500, and for the most part, that is true. However, there is no way to connect any of your devices wirelessly. This includes smartphones, as you'll need to get a USB-C to HDMI adapter if you want to go from your smartphone or tablet to the G500.
- Lightweight and easy to travel with
- Offers 50,000 hours of lamp life
- Inputs for HDMI, USB, and microSD, and more
- Includes remote, HDMI, and RCA cables
- No wireless connectivity
- Adapter needed to work with smartphones
Best Short Throw: ASUS ZenBeam S2 Portable Mini Wireless Projector
This pocket projector from ASUS is small and mighty, and with a 6,000mAh rechargeable battery, it also doubles as a power bank to keep your mobile devices charged. It uses advanced DLP technology and short-throw projection to create a bright 40-inch screen from just one meter away or up to a 120-inch screen from 3 meters away in a darker room.
There's an HDMI/MHL port in the back that lets you plug in your laptop or video game console, while MHL includes native support for most Samsung and Apple devices. However, one of the biggest downsides is that the video resolution is limited to just 720p, and you'll need to be using the S2 in a darker room if you want to take advantage of a larger screen.
- Compact size with huge internal battery
- Features USB-C for input and power delivery
- Easy to set up and use
- Doubles as a power bank
- Requires a dark room for larger screen sizes
- Resolution limited to 720p natively
Best Built-in Sound: Anker Nebula Capsule II
From Anker comes the Nebula Capsule II, a portable projector that is one of the more unique projectors on the list. While it's not easy to slip into your pocket, it is still compact and comparable to a can of soda. As the name suggests, the Nebula Capsule II is the second in the line of can-sized projectors that have been designed with a sturdy base and include a 360-degree speaker.
This one runs on Android 9.0, which means you get access to most of your favorite streaming apps like YouTube, Hulu, and Twitch, along with Google Assistant and Chromecast capabilities baked right in. Beyond the inclusion of built-in Android software, there's also HDMI input as well as a USB dongle for loading up your favorite media on a flash drive.
- Award-winning design looks cool as hell
- Runs on Android 9.0
- 360-degree sound is impressive for size
- Super easy to set up and use
- Up to 4 hours of video playback
- Some issues with app availability on Google Play Store
- Might not be as portable as other options
- Expensive compared to older option
Best for Portability: KODAK Luma 150 Portable Projector
Kodak offers a palm-sized projector capable of projecting an image up to 100 inches diagonally at 1080p HD quality. You're free to plug in a microSD or USB drive filled with media or plug in your preferred video game console, PC, or anything else that uses HDMI.
Along with an onboard media player and built-in speakers, you get a 3.5mm input jack for plugging in headphones or your own set of speakers. There's a standard tripod mount on the bottom, and the whole thing is powered by an internal battery that delivers up to two hours and is rechargeable via microUSB.
- Ultra-compact size
- Includes onboard media player
- Vertical keystone correction lets you cast onto any surface
- 25 Ansi lumens brightness is lacking
- No wireless connectivity
Best All-in-One: AAXA Technologies P7 Mini Pico Projector
The AAXA P7 Mini is a fully capable projector that includes a built-in media player and convenient controls right on top. It uses a 600 LED Lumen optical engine to deliver a native 1920x1080 HD resolution up to 120 inches diagonally. The lithium-ion battery gets you over an hour of presentation time running, while the included power supply is available for movie binging.
You're able to connect virtually any device using the HDMI, VGA, microSD, composite AV, and a USB port that can read flash drives and external hard drives via the media player. In that way, it really provides all you need from a portable projector with the flexibility to run media off a laptop or more portable storage devices. It would also function well as a more permanent projector left plugged in at home.
- Portable and professional design
- LED lamp is more efficient with no warm-up time
- Easy to set up and use anywhere
- Up to 120-inch projections
- Battery life is not as long as others
- Brightness goes down while running on battery
- 2W speaker a little small
Pico projectors are not for everyone, but once you've gotten a taste of life with one, it's pretty hard to turn back. They let you conveniently share photos at a backyard party or let you save a rainy camping trip with an impromptu movie night projected right onto the side of your tent. Depending on the portability of the one you buy, you could easily keep it in any bag and be ready to project your laptop for any occasion.
The LG projector is our top pick among the best portable pico projectors, but we'd be remiss without giving a closing nod to the Anker Nebula Capsule II, which is an obvious stand out around these parts because it runs on Android, meaning you can stream content from your favorite apps with just a Wi-Fi connection or cast from your phone using Chromecast.
Once you've selected the perfect portable pico projector to meet your needs, don't forget to invest in a good movie theater screen if your plan is to use it for family movie nights.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Marc Lagace is the Apps and Games Editor at Android Central. He's been a gamer for most of his life and actually took a university course on Video Game Theory — which he aced! You can reach out to him on Twitter @spacelagace.
Andrew Myrick is a regular freelancer at Android Central and iMore. He has been a tech enthusiast ever since the original iPhone was released and continues to flip-flop between devices. You might as well hook him up to an IV filled with coffee to get him through the day. If you have any questions, you can find him on Twitter, and he'll get back to you.
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