Tech Review: Tiny Projector, Big Performance

One of the great things about technology, attributable to Moore’s Law, is that products generally get cheaper, smaller and better. That is certainly evident in the video projector category.  We have been using an Epson for years, and it is a sturdy warhorse. It requires a lot of space to deploy, as it is weighty with a large footprint.

Now along comes the folks at ELMO who have introduced the nearly pocket sized BOXi T-200. This HD LED video projector weighs less than 11 ounces and sits in a space about the size of a CD jewel case. Nonetheless, it packs a long-life LED lamp that can create a full-size 68-inch picture at a distance of just 52 inches with its “short-throw” lens.  My daughters found it easy to hook up their laptops via the HDMI cord, shooting the image onto their bedroom wall for sleepover screenings. They were satisfied with the 1 watt mono self-contained speaker.

ELMO T200

ELMO T200

I teed up the unit with my home theatre sound system, and despite the fact that everything looks better with good sound, I was amazed at the crisp resolution from the BOXi. It resolves sound only in stereo, which is only a quibble given the small size and small price ($429). It projects in native resolution of 1280 x 800 (WXGA) and will accommodate video input resolution from 480i to 1080p (including Blu-Ray) and computer input resolutions from 640 x 350 to up to 1680 x 1050 (WSXGA). The unit has an ‘ECO’ mode which will reduce power consumption by 46%.

The fan is sufficiently quiet yet effective, with a warning light to prevent overheating. I made sure my daughters set up the unit with a decent amount of surrounding airflow, and we experienced no hassles. The unit will shut off before overheating.

The controls are easily accessible, which is a treat compared to my Epson tank.

I was intrigued to see that I could adjust the BOXi’s settings for color temperature, color gamut, and gamma. I nonetheless went with the pre-set modes.

I found that the aspect ratio is automatically detected but can also be manually set to 4:3 or 16:9. The unit’s size is key to its versatility, I can envision this being used in business or education settings as well. For instance, there is a recessed mounting receptacle on the bottom of the BOXi for use with a conventional camera tripod and for mounting the projector on the ceiling.

This is a great unit for the price, putting video projectors in the hands of folks at a small price, with a small footprint but with big production value.

 


Brad Auerbach has been covering the media, entertainment and technology scene for many years. He has written for Time Out London, Village Voice, LA Weekly and once upon a time won a New York State College Journalism Award.

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