Just six months after launching its updated 15-lumen MPro150 pocket LED projector, 3M has done it again with two brand-new models aimed at the business market. The MP180 and MP160 both boast a claimed brightness of 30 lumens, but offer very different features.
The top-of-the-range MP180 now has a touch-screen control panel, plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. This enables it to transfer files wirelessly from a PC or play content direct from the web. Like its predecessor, the MPro150, it has a microSD card slot, but the built-in storage has been increased to 4GB. An office document reader is also included with the projector, which measures 150mm by 65mm by 33mm and weighs 338g.
MP180: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, touch-screen, 4GB of internal storage and a microSD slot
With a greatly reduced feature set, the MP160 dispenses with the touch-screen and on-board storage, and there's no microSD slot either. It's purely for passthrough projection, and has a slightly smaller form factor, with thickness reduced to 30.5mm.
MP160: a minimal feature set, but still SVGA resolution and 30-lumen brightness
Both models have SVGA native resolution and can project images up to 80in. (measured across the diagonal). Battery life is claimed as two hours from the rechargeable Li-polymer battery. LED life is quoted at 20,000 hours. Two built-in 0.75W speakers (the MPro150’s were 0.5W) and an audio output jack are provided.
The pocket projector market continues to defy predictions of its demise. It obviously strikes a chord with some users, and there's no denying that a pocketable display system is, in principle at least, an attractive companion to a smartphone or netbook. The reality has been marred by the lacklustre products that have appeared over the years. But 3M's doubling of brightness in one generation is an impressive step, and it could be that the technology is starting to catch up with the marketing.
The MP180 and MP160 will be available in the UK from late October, but pricing has yet to be announced.