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Maxon Visimax Projector

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Despite the promise of its tiny size, the Maxon Visimax projector is little more than a gimmick, and an expensive one at that.

Design
At 120g and 27x55x90mm in size, the Maxon Visimax projector isn't much bigger than a mobile phone, and it sits vertically. The unit is a plastic grey colour with a range of buttons on one side. The build of this device doesn't give the impression of quality.

Inputs include power, 3.5mm headphone jack, and a proprietary port that connects to the two input cables that come with this device, as well as VGA and three pin component video. At the top of the device is a focus wheel.

The Visimax also comes with a range of additional extras. There include a tiny tripod (it's cute, but why?), a leather carry case, and an additional stand (in case you don't like the tiny tripod). It also has a power brick and associated cables which together are bigger than the projector itself.

Given the very brief battery life of this tiny projector, you'll probably find yourself having to haul around the power brick and cables with it. This all but kills the portability of this device.

Features
Looking at the feature list of this projector, we're a bit lost about what it might be useful for. You'll be able to play your standard PAL or NTSC DVDs, but at 640x480 they'll be shrunk below their native resolution and won't look great. We've seen several mobile phones with the same resolution as this projector. This means a lot of scrolling around if you intend to show web pages.

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Brightness on the Visimax is a measly 15 lumens. This is somewhere between 1/130th and 1/170th of your standard projector brightness. In other words, this projector is dimmer than the deepest pits of hell. With a contrast ratio of 200:1, it also looks lacklustre at best.

One good feature of the Visimax is its LED lamp, which lasts much longer than mercury lamps — although it's unlikely you could fit a mercury lamp into a projector of this size.

The Visimax projector runs off a battery, which would be great, except that Maxon only rates the battery at 30 minutes. Our tests confirmed this value, with Visimax giving up after 35 minutes of video play. This result means you will likely have to have it plugged in most of the time, and at the very least carry the charger.

You can bring this projector up to a maximum display size of 60-inches, but with a brightness of 15 lumens and a contrast ratio of 200:1, the Visimax is close to unreadable at this size.

Give its projection resolution and brightness, we think the Visimax projector would suit a mobile phone. Unfortunately, you'll need a phone with a TV out port to plug into the Visimax's three pin component port. We can only think of two of the most high end smartphones that have this option, the i-mate Ultimate 8502 and 9502.

You might be able do it with the right iPhone/iPod dock, but we didn't have such a dock to test this with.

Verdict
If the Visimax projector was cheaper, we would have like it a lot more. However at AU$594, we think it's considerably overpriced. For roughly AU$200 dollars more, you can get the much better Dell M109S projector, or even a full size portable projector.

At this price you can also buy a whole netbook, or the best part of an iPhone or Nokia E71 — all which you will find to be infinitely more useful than this tiny, underpowered projector.

When projectors get this tiny, we see the crucial point as whether they are better or worse than a notebook display. Unfortunately, the Maxon Visimax falls on the wrong side of this line.

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