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Projectors: Does Size Matter?

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Category: Hardware Published on Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The art of projection is the ability to make small things larger or soft sounds louder. Simple, right?

We've been playing with two video projectors that do that and a whole lot more with a basic difference - - - their size.

One was a bit more than half a pound and can fit in your pocket or briefcase and the other was a full-size home theater model. Both performed beyond our expectations.

The Elmo BOXi T-200 ($429) can fit in your palm, but is powerful enough to display your multimedia presentations on a 68-inch screen without loss of clarity. Although I can't recommend it for home theater fanatics, its portability allows you to show off your latest Power Point presentation to groups or keep the kids entertained with their favorite movies or TV shows. Simply attach it to a computer or DVD player using an HDMI cable and you're ready to go.
  • For those of you that need them, here are a few of its basic features:
  • It's a true high definition projector and supports all modes up to 1080p
  • It has a built-in one watt speaker
  • The LED bulb lasts for more than 20,000 hours (the equivalent of eight hours per day for 6.8 years)
  • The fan is fairly quiet, but noticeable
  • It can project a 50-inch image from a distance of only 3.3 feet

The only drawback, when comparing the BOXi to other projectors, is that the brightness is only 150 lumens, which is fairly low when compared with its bigger brethren.

The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 730HD projector ($649) is a full-size home theater projector designed for everything from delivering multimedia presentations in the boardroom to presenting huge widescreen movies in your home.

The 730HD delivers a much brighter picture than several others we've used (most notably from Yamaha, ViewSonic, Ricoh and Favi) and is a bit smaller and lighter than the competition. The fact that it is a bit more compact led to a few problems setting it up using a ceiling mount. In fact, we discovered that we had to move it closer to the screen to get it to fit within the screen's 92-inch frame.

Other than that, this latest offering from Epson delivered everything it promised: a clear, bright picture; compatibility with many devices using various video cables and it was extremely easy to set up.

The only complaints we have with the 730HD is it only projects video at resolutions up to 740p/1080i instead of 1080p and, although it can handle composite video, there's no input for high definition component video cables (you need to use HDMI). Also, although there are installation instructions included in the box, the manual is only available on the enclosed DVD or on line. This resulted in a bit of fumbling around adjusting it to our home theater setup.

On the plus side:

  • It delivers an extremely bright picture at 3,000 lumens
  • It can be set up on a tabletop or ceiling mount
  • It offers front and rear projection modes
  • The lamp can last up to 6,000 hours
  • It can project images from 33 to 318 inches (ours was 92 inches)
  • It can handle HDMI, component audio, composite video, VGA and USB cables
  • It has a two-watt speaker
  • Color modes include dynamic, living room, cinema and game

Does size matter? That all depends on what you need.

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Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman's Jocgeek fan page at www.facebook.com/jocgeek, or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek.  You can also contact him via email at jocgeek@earthlink.net.  Mike's blog can also be found on the Huffington Post website at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-l-berman/.