Sony MP-CD1 Mobile Projector review: Pocket-sized and powerful

It's fair to say that mobile projectors fall into a very niche product category — not substantial enough to anchor your home theatre setup, but still a compelling option for a number of scenarios.

Whether you're an entrepreneur or college student working on business pitches or presentations, or simply love the idea of enjoying a pop-up theatre in your own backyard — a mobile projector can offer a convenient and fun way for educating or entertaining your audience.

I was sent the Sony MP-CD1 Mobile Projector to test and review, and while I'm not planning to go back to school or make any impromptu business pitches anytime soon, I do love to stream content and play video games, so that's exactly how I tested it. And this pocket-sized projector really impressed me with how versatile and portable it is.

The Good

  • Ultra compact size
  • Projects up to 120" screen
  • Whisper-quiet fan
  • Includes Leather carrying case
  • Easy to set up and use with most devices

The Bad

  • Not inexpensive
  • Built-in speaker is not very good
  • Requires additional accessories to connect your phone
  • Battery life lasts two hours

Sony MP-CD1 Mobile Projector What I like

Right out of the box, I was blown away at the incredibly compact size of this projector. This projector is pocket-friendly and comes with a nice leather carrying case that looks great and also helps protect the projector lens. The package also included an HDMI cable and a USB-C cable for charging the 5,000 mAh internal battery.

There are four ports along the right side of the projector — a USB-C port for charging and providing power to the device, a USB Out port that lets the projector operate as a portable power pack in a pinch, an HDMI port that also supports Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) for connecting your smartphone, and a 3.5mm jack for connecting external headphones and speakers. On the opposite side, right next to the projector lens, is a slider for controlling focus.

On the bottom is a threaded tripod mount hole that you can use, but I generally found it unnecessary to use because the projector does automatic keystone correction so well — point it at a wall and it will configure the display to create a perfect rectangle no matter how you have it orientated. A flexible GorrilaPod mount (opens in new tab) will make for a great accessory for this projector if you plan to use it on uneven surfaces or mount it on a railing.

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Regarding performance, the 105-lumen lamp is more than bright enough to use in any dark setting whether that be a classroom, bedroom, or outdoors after the sunset. This works as a short throw projector, creating a 40-inch image when placed just over a meter away, and can cast a 120-inch image from just three meters away.

This allowed me to connect and project my NVIDIA Shield TV to fill an entire wall of my bedroom for a movie theatre experience in my bedroom. Combined with the great sound from my bookshelf speakers, the entire set up was quite brilliant. I also tested the setup outdoors and created a wonderful little backyard theatre for myself in no time at all.

Sony MP-CD1 Mobile Projector What I don't like

For all the positive qualities I love about this projector, there are a few drawbacks. The first limitation is the battery life — you can expect to get two hours of projection time from a fully charged battery.

This is more than enough battery life to enjoy most movies, but a Netflix binge will most certainly cut short if it's not connected to a power source. Once the battery is depleted, I've found that plugging into a direct power source charges the battery first, and since the lamp uses power faster than the battery can recharge, the projector inevitably dies fast.

There's no built-in OS for the projector, and I was unable to test connecting my phone via MHL because that required an additional accessory that probably should have been included here. The built-in speaker is sub-par at best, so you're definitely going to want to use this projector with a set of headphones or speakers.

Sony MP-CD1 Mobile Projector

This pocket-sized projector is one of the coolest accessories I've tested in 2018. With a little imagination, you're able to create a custom theatre experience anywhere inside or outside your home.

4 out of 5

I think this mobile projector would be an especially great accessory for any college student who could make use of it for academic presentations along with a cool theatre setup for gaming or watching movies in the dorm room.

Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.

2 Comments
  • Too bad about the speaker, and I guess I won't be watching Lord of the Rings with this. Still, I think it's cool, and wonder if it could be aimed at the ceiling for bedtime watching.
  • only 854x480 native resolution? geez. For that price you can get a more. The Viewsonic M1 has 250 lumens, same resolution, and $60 dollars cheaper, and it has better speakers. The AAXA Neo has 400 lumens, 720p native resolution, and $76 dollars cheaper. Is sony just banking of people thinking their name holds weight? Even LG has better small projectors for similar price.