Few brands are doing as much to overcome our innate scepticism about ‘pocket’ projectors as 3M. The remarkably small size and geekily appealing touch-screen interface of the 3M MP180 together with the built-in camcorder functionality of the 3M CP45 have made us understand why someone might actually want to own a portable projector.
So we’re actually quite excited today by the arrival today of the 3M MP220. Especially as this model is the first in the brand’s family of mobile projectors to offer a native widescreen (WVGA) resolution, immediately making it feel more in tune with modern computer and AV needs.
Big brightness, little chassis
The 3M MP220 also boasts a 65-lumen brightness figure on its spec sheet that’s very high for a projector which can genuinely be described as palm-sized (its actual dimensions are 32(h) x 81(w) z 157(d)mm) and only weighs 0.4kg.
As with most very small projectors, the 3M MP220 can be powered by rechargeable battery as well as the mains, with the battery life rated at a pretty impressive 120 minutes. This isn’t enough to quite get through Titanic, but it should be enough for the impromptu slide shows or on the hoof business presentations that the MP220 is surely designed for. If two hours isn’t enough, then trust us: you really need to cut your presentation or slideshow down a bit...
Another eye-catching trick of the MP220 is its 1GB internal memory, enough to store potentially a pretty extensive selection of photos or quite involved presentations without the need to attach any external laptop or camera source. You can expand the memory, too, courtesy of a microSD card slot positioned at the rear of its right edge.
Other connections include the inevitable DC input, a headphone jack (which can also supply audio to external speakers), a USB mini port, and a single small VGA/AV input port. It would have been nice, perhaps, to find a few more connections on the projector, such as a full-sized HDMI or composite video input. And it’s a shame that the VGA/AV adaptor cables are sold as optional extras rather than any being included as standard. But then maybe our hopes here are a little unreasonable when the projector is being sold for a decent-value £290.
A very important fact about the 3M MP220’s AV input is its compatibility via the right adaptor both with Apple devices - iPads as well as iPhones - and, for the first time with a 3M mobile projector, Android devices. The projector even sports an Android interface which allows for a degree of personalisation.
Other bit you can attach to the MP220 via the right cabling option include digital cameras, DVD/Blu-ray players, camcorders and game systems.
Being able to store documents in its petite body wouldn’t be much use, of course, if the MP220 wasn’t able to play them. So it’s a relief to find the projector shipping with the Documents to Go App pre-installed, allowing you to view Microsoft Office documents along with PDFs, videos, movies and photos.