A magic trick you can hold in your hand: Celluon PicoPro portable projector field-tested

A magic trick you can hold in your hand: Celluon PicoPro portable projector field-tested

Every once in a while I review a product that seems like a magic trick. Right now that is the Celluon Pico Pro projector. Barely larger than a pack of playing cards, this wireless device will flawlessly project your phone, tablet, or laptop screen onto just about any reasonable surface – in focus, and even running off its internal battery. Whether you are looking for a cool new way to watch your favorite videos on a larger screen while traveling, or need to do professional presentations or slideshows, this sleek, well-made, accessory might be just the thing.


1-click wireless support

If you have Miracast (aka Android Screen Mirroring or Intel WiDi, or various other names), then you can project your screen (or extend your screen if your system supports it) with just a couple clicks. The projector boots up in a mode where it is listening for Miracast connections. My Samsung S4, Samsung Note 10.1, and Dell XPS 15 all connected with it flawlessly. The DreamColor version of the HP ZBook 17 I was reviewing didn’t support Miracast, so I needed to use an HDMI cable with it. The projector resolution is 1920 x 720, with pixels that are taller than they are wide, so you get a result that is somewhat better than 720p, but not quite 1080p – quite impressive for a pico projector. The nature of the laser light makes text slightly soft, so detailed charts and graphs aren’t the unit’s strong suit. On the other hand, it was nearly magical to be able to wave a tiny, wireless, gadget around and have it project an image on almost any surface. For proper viewing, smooth white walls or a screen work best, of course.

Laser means freedom from focusing

The light source is a laser, so you not only don’t need to focus it, but even if your screen is not perfectly aligned the entire image will be in focus (think of a laser projector as a pinhole camera run in reverse). I didn’t find any serious flaws with the image – given that it is a small, portable, unit and not a home theater system. The light is quite even across the entire frame, which is impressive for an inexpensive projector. I used it successfully for both Powerpoint slideshows, and with ones I generated using my favorite slideshow program, .


Quick product video from Celluon demonstrating the PicoPro

Battery and HDMI Support

You can run it off its internal battery (for 3 hours wired, or 2 hours wireless), or plug it in to its included 2 amp AC to USB charger – or your laptop’s USB port. The entry level unit only supports wireless, while the Pro model allows you to connect a micro-HDMI input (that is MHL compatible). A simple button press switches between those source options. There is also an audio out jack with volume control.

Brightness: The limits of magic

The unit has one really big limitation – it is not very bright. At about 30 lumens, it is impressive for its tiny size projectors, but it is not bright enough to use in a fully lit room, or one with more than a couple windows if there is any sun coming in at all. Celluon points out that many people perceive the reflected laser light as brighter than its measured lumens, and feels the output is actually closer to 50 or 60 lumens when compared to a traditional projector. Either way, the low power will definitely reduce the unit’s usefulness in many cases. In a dark room with a good screen it can project well up to the size of a large-screen TV (40 to perhaps 50 inches), while in a partially lit room (for example inside on an overcast day) you’re limited to around 14 to 17-inches. If you can live with the limited power, The Celluon is an amazing product. The and the . Both units come with a mount and soft carrying case. When ordered directly from Celluon they also include an HDMI cable, which the Amazon version does not.