Awards

  • Recommended by TR
3M CP45

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Pros

  • Great design
  • Remarkably small
  • Better than expected all-round performer

Cons

  • Colour trailing from projector
  • Too much brightness shifting from camcorder
  • Projector not 16:9

Best Deals

Review Price £299.00

Key Features: Pocket projector; Built-in camcorder; HD-ready video recording; 800x600 projection resolution; AV input

Manufacturer: 3M

We’ve seen pocket camcorders before. And we’ve seen pocket projectors before. But we haven’t seen a pocket camcorder projector before. Until today.

Breaking this combi duck is the 3M CP45. For, despite being genuinely pocket-sized (roughly equivalent to a pair of iPhones strapped back to back), the CP45 really does squeeze a DLP projector and digital camcorder into its tiny frame. What’s more, neither of these combined gizmos appears - on paper at least - to have been as compromised as we might have expected.

Remarkably, for instance, the camcorder is HD, with a recording resolution of 1280x720 (though you can reduce the resolution to save memory space if you wish, with DVD, VGA and QVGA options available). The 5MP sensor the camcorder uses can also deliver three, five or eight megapixel digital still photographs, and there’s built in automatic light compensation to adjust the sensitivity of the LCoS image sensor depending on the light conditions you’re shooting in.

There’s even a multi-step zoom, though this is digital rather than optical, so you can expect image resolution to deteriorate with every ‘step’ forward the zoom goes.
3M CP45
You can store the video you record onto either 2GB of built-in memory, or optional MicroSD card (up to 32GB). If you stick with the built-in memory, it should hold around 1000 photos or 40 minutes of HD video.

It’s also worth adding that the CP45 has a startlingly bright LED ‘torch’ positioned under its lens that you can turn on when filming or photographing in low light conditions.

As for the projector part of the CP45, it’s claimed to deliver an image up to 65in across with a brightness of 20 Lumens - a quite high figure by Pico projector standards. The only potential issue where the projector is concerned is that its resolution of 800x600 is neither HD nor widescreen.

Other than saying that it’s genuinely pocket-sized, we haven’t dwelled yet on the CP45’s design. But it definitely deserves to be dwelled on, for it’s one of the most attractive bits of gadgetry we’ve seen.

At just 125(h) x 61(w) x 24(d)mm (assuming you’re holding it vertically in ‘filming’ mode), its sheer smallness for a combi product is naturally a draw in itself. But also very attractive is its high-gloss white finish, complete with a clear ‘top-sheet’ that ensures that the buttons on the bottom half of the fascia and the screen all co-exist in the same smooth plane.
                                    3M CP45
The built-in screen/viewfinder measures just over an inch across, while the 10 buttons below it are touch sensitive and backlit. Around the CP45’s edge runs a bold black ‘trim’ (the red version shown in the first image is not available in the UK) which widens over the top third of the unit, towards the projector end. The rear (or front, depending on your point of view!) of the CP45 contains a lens, the aforementioned ‘spotlight’, and a hole you can use for screwing the unit horizontally to an optional tripod.

Down the sides are a silver on/off slider and a fair roster of connections that includes an AV input (for receiving composite video and stereo audio signals via a provided adaptor), a mini HDMI output (no cable for this is provided), the microSD card slot, a headphone jack, and a USB port for charging the battery or transferring video and photo files to a computer.

It’s notable from these connections that there’s no straightforward way to connect a PC to the CP45 for demonstration purposes, but it certainly can be done with the right adaptors. And anyway, the built-in camcorder makes the CP45 a much more ‘domestic’ gadget than your typical, business-oriented Pico projector.

That said, the CP45 could feasibly used for business presentations, as provided conversion software allows the projector to show AVI, ASF, DAT. MOV, MPG, MPEG, MPE, RMVB, WMV, PPT and PPS file formats.

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