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MicroVision SHOWWX+ HDMI pico projector review

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MicroVision SHOWWX HDMI projector

Microvision's SHOWWX+ HDMI is a miniature marvel, projecting a full colour image from a device the size of a smartphone. Its resolution and image quality cannot match full-size projectors, but this model makes up for it in portability and convenience if you're a mobile worker.

Pros:

Compact, lightweight, can connect to smartphones and tablets as well as PCs, reasonable battery

Cons:

Not full HD resolution, image has iridescent quality, works best in low ambient light, poor connectivity

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £299 RRP

Manufacturer: MicroVision

MicroVision's SHOWWX+ HDMI is a pocket-sized projector that allows anyone to display a presentation or video output from a number of devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets.

Available in the UK since November from retailers such as Amazon, the SHOWWX+ is about the same size and shape as a BlackBerry smartphone and weighs just 117g, even with its battery fitted.

This makes it much easier to carry around than standard-sized projectors, and could prove useful for sales executives to give presentations from a smartphone or tablet, just as easily as from a laptop.

It might also prove an interesting gadget for consumers, who could play back video captured on a smartphone to a group of friends.

We found the SHOWWX+ very easy to use, and setup was no more complex than connecting the projector and the smartphone with the correct cable.

Microvision ShowWX HDMI projector

However, compromises are inevitable with such a small device, and the SHOWWX+ has a relatively low standard display definition of 848x480 pixels, equivalent to WVGA or 480p video rather than full HD video.

In our tests, we also found that the projected image had a slightly grainy, iridescent quality, especially across white areas of the picture.

This is possibly because of the way the projector works, using tiny red, green and blue laser light sources in combination with a micro-electro-mechanical scanning mirror to draw the image onto the surface in question.

However, this did not detract too much from the experience when watching video or using the projector to display an application screen on a suitable surface. We were able to produce an image about 1.5m diagonally, depending on the light conditions and distance from the wall.

Overall, we were impressed with the SHOWWX+, even though the image is a little faint if you use it anywhere with bright ambient light as it has a brightness of only 15 lumens.

We tested the micro projector with an Apple iPhone 4S, LG Optimus 3D Android phone, and a Windows 7 laptop, the Toshiba Portégé Z830. In each case, we had no difficulty getting the SHOWWX+ working, and it was simply a matter of connecting the two together and powering on the projector to produce an image.

In the case of the iPhone, the SHOWWX+ comes with a cable that connects to the handset's 30-pin dock connector at one end and what appears to be a proprietary video input at the other. An iPad or iPod can be connected using the same cable.

The SHOWWX+ also has a micro HDMI input and a corresponding cable, which we used to connect to the LG Optimus 3D. This cable should work with other smartphones, such as some BlackBerry models.

However, in the case of the Windows laptop, we had to source an adapter cable with a full-size HDMI connector at one end and a micro HDMI at the other, as this cable does not come supplied.

Resolution: WVGA (848×480)
HDMI Output: up to 480p
Input: Micro HDMI, adapter cable for Apple iOS devices
Brightness: 15 lumens
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 widescreen
Contrast Ratio: › 5,000:1
Image Size: 15 - 250cm, depending on lighting conditions
Battery: User replaceable lithium-ion, up to 2 hours quoted life
Weight: 117g

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Daniel Robinson
About

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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