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Brookstone Pocket Projector Pro: A Very Pleasant ‘Pico’

If you’ve been looking for an easy way to project anything, anywhere, then you’ve been in need of a pocket projector. Also called, variously, micro, mini, or picos, these little guys can travel in your pocket, sit on your desk or a table, and immediately make any wall into a small cinema.

While bigger models offer extra brightness, allowing you to enjoy a darker room or view images more clearly, bigger isn’t always better!

The Brookstone Pocket Projector Pro is one of the best small projectors that we’ve seen, in fact. A few years ago, there were dozens of companies announcing and launching various makes and models at CES, but this year, very few were on the show floor.

And that’s a good thing- most of them were pretty mediocre in the past. Even our top picks from a while back, like the Aaxa M2, we’re a pretty big compromise. But the intervening years have led to some vast improvements, and the smaller and brighter Brookstone puts all of the older ones to shame.

With a resolution of 1280 x 800 and a DLP chip similar to those in the most expensive models, you’ll find your Powerpoint presentations look pretty sharp and your gaming experience pretty crisp. It won’t be ideal for a permanent home theater, as the brightness and screen size are still limited, but it’s got a great balance of portability, price, and a solid spec sheet.

200 lumens of brightness and the ability to project an image up to 100″ diagonal are just the start, along with a lamp capable of running 20,000 hours. We lamented the lack of a built-in rechargeable battery, but the absence keeps weight very low, to about a pound.

Plus, an external battery is available for $100 and fits nicely onto the unit, and can power you through a regular-length movie (about two hours).

HDMI input and support for 1080p HD are handy and you’ll find two speakers inside, though they are pretty meek. We tried a variety of sources, including media streamers, laptops, and even tablets and smartphones.

You’ll need the Apple HDMI adapter to connect to your iPhone or iPad but can then show off your Candy Crush exploits, latest vacation snapshots, or YouTube videos.

For a compact projector that offers superior brightness, decent colors, and is super-simple to use, the Brookstone Pocket Projector Pro is ideal for occasional use on the road or at home.

You’ll need the right situation since there you can’t zoom or adjust for skew, so a flat wall and a level surface are important. A projector sleeve is much more limited (and won’t accommodate your newer phone), and larger models like our favorites from Epson aren’t portable.

Available online and in stores for around $450, the Brookstone surprised us in the best way- it’s impressively bright for the compact size, well-made, and just a tad bit expensive for what you get.

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