Three best mini projectors

Allen Foster

If the walls in your house are exceptionally dark or you just don’t have any free wall space to take full advantage of your mini projector, consider purchasing a portable projector screen.

Gadgets are cool. We admire James Bond and Batman because they always have the right tool at hand. It might not be something you use every day, but when the moment presents itself, if you have that nifty little implement that makes everything better, you become a hero -- for instance, when you whip out a mini projector so your kids and their friends can have a supersize video game melee right on the wall!

But not every mini projector will turn you into a neighborhood celebrity. Some won't be bright enough to clearly see the image and some won't even connect to your gaming system. How do you know which purchase is the winning move?

This brief article will guide you through the essentials of mini projectors so you can score an all-time high with your kids.

Considerations when choosing mini projectors

Picture size: Throw distance consists of two numbers that tell you how far away a projector sits from the screen and how wide the image is at that distance. That's important information, but as a consumer, you really just want to know how big the image can be and still be of optimum quality.

Brightness: The right brightness level helps you see a projected image better. Light is measured in lumens. The higher the number, the brighter the picture. If you'll be using your mini projector with the lights down or off, you might be able to get by with 500 or 700 lumens. If you'll be using your mini projector in an office that doesn't get very dark, you might need closer to 3,000 lumens.

Connectivity: Connectivity directly translates to flexibility. If you only plan to run presentations off a flash drive, a mini projector with a USB port is your primary concern. However, if you want to mirror your smartphone, stream movies from your laptop, project an image from your video camera, and connect via Bluetooth, you'll need more than a USB port. Do your research before purchasing to make sure your mini projector can meet all of your connectivity needs.

Mini projector prices: Mini projectors range in price from under $100 to about $600. Pricing depends on many factors, but you can distill it down to size, brightness, and connectivity. The larger the image, the brighter the viewing environment, and the more versatile your unit must be, the more you will likely need to spend.


Q. What can I connect to my mini projector?

A. If you're using a wired connection, your options include devices with USB, HDMI, AV, or VGA outputs. If you're wireless, you have the options of WiFi and Bluetooth. Not all mini projectors have all of these options available. Before purchasing, make sure your device and the projector are indeed compatible.

Q. My sound is as tiny as the projector. What do I do?

A. As long as your mini projector features some sort of audio out, you can send the sound to whatever speakers or sound system you like. That way, your sound can be as big as the picture.

Mini projectors we recommend

Best of the best: Optoma Portable DLP LED Projector

Our take: A palm-size, high-quality projector that offers the exceptional performance needed to dazzle during presentations.

What we like: Optoma's projector is ridiculously small and easy to transport, yet it doesn't sacrifice quality. The lamp-free technology produces impressive colors, and the LEDs last up to 20,000 hours. It connects with almost any device and features a slot for a micro SD card.

What we dislike: To get this level of tech, you'll be paying a little bit more.

Best bang for your buck: DBPOWER Mini Portable Video Projector

Our take: A remarkably low-priced yet versatile projector that can serve as the keystone of your home entertainment system.

What we like: The adaptability alone makes this a worthy investment because it supports almost all current media and has USB, HDMI, AV, and VGA inputs. The picture is comparable to other units on the market and can be projected up to an impressive 176 inches.

What we dislike: If you need any connectivity cables, you'll have to purchase them separately.

Choice 3: Anker Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector

Our take: A fun, soda-can-size, versatile projector with great built-in sound capabilities.

What we like: The clever design helps this model stand out from others on the market. Four-hour battery life. Features HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, and WiFi connectivity, as well as screen mirroring.

What we dislike: The display brightness can be a little underwhelming, but it functions well enough in darker environments.

Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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