Portable Projector Collection Perfect for Travel

Having a portable projector while travelling is actually a really smart, inclusive and enriching idea to have with you. A lot of the times, articles and stories I read talk about projectors in general use, comparisons to big bulky setups and often expensive ones too. But a travel projector that is easily packable has plenty of potential.

The rise of portable pico projectors tend to be at a sleight disadvantage in performance to bigger hardware, but the ultraportable dimensions that allow you to slip it inside your backpack, briefcase or even jacket, mean they are more accessible and attractive to a new set of people: travellers, business professionals and minimal gear consumers.

The possibilities are endless: imagine watching a film with travellers in a guesthouse, visiting your friends house playing the Switch on a wall, sharing photos in the cafe beaming to the wall, or my favourite, watching a film on the ceiling as you lay in your room. Use it for business presentations at a meeting where rooms are unequipped, and so on. Suddenly, you can look back and think “huh, this would have come in handy that time“.

So with this in mind, I’ve handpacked each to build a travel projector collection that prioritise portability and packability vs image quality, unless at a premium for those seeking the best of both.

Travel Projector Collection Focused on Portability

I’ll regularly update this collection so you can always been in tune with what is out there. While these may suffice in certain conditions to be used as a regular large screen in your home, these there are better home projector options suited to that which I’ll list in another collection. But if travelling with one is your thing, then let’s get this started.

Read: Personal Audio & Speaker Reviews

Sony MP-CD1

Images by Sony

Brand Origin Japan
Release Date Ultra pocketable design, doubles as powerbank
Connections HDMI / MHL, headphone jack, USB Type-C
Battery Life 2 Hours
Resolution WXVGA 854 x 480
ANSI Lumens 105

Similar in size to a portable powerbank and not much thicker than one, or a portable hard drive, the Sony MP-CD1 is a super sleek projector that packs a punch for it’s dimensions. 105 lumens is just about sufficient but you’ll when viewing, a dark or dimly lit room is the perfect environment, not much different than watching a film at night.

The great part is it uses USB Type-C to charge so no brick or plug charger to take with you, just a fast-charging cable you may already have for your smartphone. Connections include a HDMI port with MHL support to wire tether your smartphone, 3.5mm headphone jack for earphones or speakers (you’ll definitely need speakers since the 1W aren’t great). So you can connect anything like a Nintendo Switch, laptop, tablet and more.

Unfortunately, there’s no bluetooth, WiFi or microSD card which is a shame, but it’s no big loss as you can do so from the source itself. The 2 hour battery will last a film, otherwise just plug a powerbank to keep it going. Probably my favourite of the bunch because it’s so small, I wish it had more lumens so it’s bright in lit conditions but for movies, going dark at night is perfect with this.


Images by PIQO

Origin Los Angeles, USA
Crowdfunded January 27, 2019
Best Feature 15 min charge for 1 hour playback, touch controls
Connections HDMI, AirPlay, Screen mirroring, USB, Bluetooth
Battery Life 5 Hours
Native Resolution Full HD 1920 x 1080
Lumens 200

For a pico projector the shape of a cube and just 5.7cm for each side, the PIQO has a lot going for it, even if one of the more expensive options. The price is somewhat justified already as it outputs native full HD for great picture quality. Rated at 5 hours battery life, it lasts on the longer side, though uses a proprietary adaptor. You shouldn’t need to charge it often as a result of that long battery life however.

It takes all kinds of connections in such a small package so the world is your possibility with what to connect. It uses Android 7 Nougat, so not TV but runs Android so can sideload apps or use the preinstalled mainstream apps. One of the great parts of it being native Full HD is that it can maintain great quality on a larger scale. Where projectors of WXVGA resolution peak out towards 100″ onwards, the PIQO can reach up to 240″ which is an insane amount. This is a serious travel projector that offers solid quality with a small footprint.

Nebula Capsule II

Images by Nebula

Brand Origin Shenzhen, China
Releast Date May, 2019
Best Feature Android TV 9.0, 8W Speakers, 1ms Autofocus
Connections HDMI, MicroSD, Chromcast, Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
Battery Life 3 Hours
Resolution HD Ready 1280 x 720
ANSI Lumens 200

Nebula is a part of one of the fastest growing Chinese electronics brand, one of five brands under Anker Incorporated. Among the most notable of the portfolio Anker for batteries, SOundCore for Audio, ROAV and Eufy, Nebula first released the first generation Capsule back in February, 2018. The 2nd generation significantly improves internals for greater versatility while retaining the same design.

ANSI lumen brightness doubles to 200 which is more usable in brighter conditions, jumped to HD ready 720p from WXVGA resolution, swapped MicroUSB for fast charging USB Type-C with Power Delivery and a 60% power increase in speaker output. The larger driver enclosure ups bass delivery for fuller audio.

The Capsule II is the size of a soft drinks can though weighs 250 grams more than its predecessor at 708 grams. Still, all that extra bump in performance in sound and visuals is worthwhile. Battery reaches 3 hours while fast-charging restores it completely in 2.5 hours. The 30W Power Deliver charger by Anker is included which works for the rest of your tech too.

Running Android TV 9.0, it offers access to +3,600 native apps made for TV, a full native experience. Overall, there’s a lot to get excited with the Nebula Capsule II, so long as you’re willing to pay a premium for this rounded package.

ViewSonic MP1

Images by Viewsonic

Brand Origin California, USA
Release Date Harman Kardon speakers, 2-in-1 lens cover
Connections HDMI, MicroSD,
Battery Life 6 Hours
Resolution WXVGA 854 x 480
ANSI Lumens 250

The M1 from Viewsonic is quite an all-rounder. It’s packable inside your bag, has a built-in lens cover and 360 stand without needing a tripod or accessories, a big 6 hour battery life, better in bright conditions, MicroSD USB A and USB Type-C port. Phew, that’s a lot of ports. Essentially, you can connect the majority of tech to it, or even storage media without needing to connect anything.

The Harman Kardon 2W speakers are one of the best integrated speakers for its size, which delivers satisfactory sound in a reasonably-sized room without extra speakers. Then, the articulating lens cover doubles up as a stand for 360 rotation to project anywhere you like at will. No WiFi or Bluetooth here and the software doesn’t have any apps capability either.

However, the range of connections makes up for this. The book size dimension and boxy thickness isn’t an issue if you have space to carry. The mains charger is somewhat on the larger size though. All things considered, this is an all-rounder that does most things you’d want and need out of the projector.

Think there’s a special travel projector that deserves to be in the collection? Let me know down in the comments below!