Bonitor MP201 Pocket PICO Projector Reviewed

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With all the high-tech gadget movies and TV shows coming out over the last few years, it would seem that a miniature "go anywhere, show anything" PICO-projector fitting in your shirt pocket would be a natural for the likes of James Bond (from Q Branch), busy executives on the go, and home theater enthusiasts looking for the ultimate in portability. The problem in the past has been one of expense, longevity, and picture quality (not to mention sound). Witness the Bonitor MP201 pocket projector, which is able to fill all of these roles very effectively by offering viewable projected images under most portable conditions likely to be encountered.

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With this little gem, the "Big Screen Cinema" experience can finally be had from a device that fits in the palm of your hand. Almost any mostly white surface will do for a screen. And the MP201 even offers built-in stereo speakers and amplification, capable of remarkably listenable sound, even with some general ambient noise present. Its unique LED lamp is said to offer up to 30,000 hours and delivers a little over 6 ANSI Lumens (rated at 15). And considering that it is available directly from the Bonitor website for $249 (plus shipping), and offers true plug-in and play portability from a number of common portable sources, such as a video iPod, the MP201 may very well take its place with the likes of the Dick Tracy wrist communicator when it comes to "on the go" home theater entertainment.

High Points
• Overall the image quality coming from such a little package is amazing. It makes quite a viewable image, which is roughly comparable to early era plasma TV. This projector has more than acceptable color reproduction, producing both accurate flesh tones and reasonably saturated colors.
• Amplified Stereo Sound in a projector this size is unheard of, but the MP201 delivers surprisingly loud, clear two-channel sound that is rated at 0.5 Watt. This is certainly an important consideration when showing to a group.
• Battery Life is reasonable given a non-user accessible 2500 mAh lithium-ion battery, lasting up to 2 hours (90 minutes continuous); nearly twice that of any other product in this category.
• Rechargeable power can be supplied from a laptop via a micro USB connector; thus the projector will fully recharge in about 1 hour.
• SD Resolution of 640 x 480 from an LCoS chip-set is better than most others in this Lilliputian class, creating images that are nicely detailed, and free from pixilation common to other PICO designs.
• Cost of ownership - given its LED light source that will last up to 30,000 hours and never require a bulb change throughout its entire lifespan - is very low.
• Image Brightness of 6.6 ANSI-lumens (rated at 15 ANSI-lumens) offers more than just about any other projector of this size. Although this projector will never compete with any current full-sized home theater projectors, it is more than up to creating a very viewable image as large as 60 inch diagonal in a completely darkened room. It produces nearly 20 foot-Lamberts when projecting an image the size of regular sheet of printer paper; more than sufficient for viewing by a small group in moderate ambient lighting.

Low Points
• No Picture Adjustments are provided beside the on-off switch and a manual focus dial. So if you want to "beef up" the image, it will have to come from using a source's controls (if any are available).
• Black Level is much better than PICO examples from previous years, and very much like the first plasma TVs from 10 or more years ago. Compared to standard projectors, this one looks washed out but it's a little unfair to compare a pocket projector to today's best DLP and D-ILA models.
• No Bass Frequencies below 80 Hz are present; so don't expect any Earthquake shattering surround sound.
• Limited Input Apron of a single composite video signal, which plugs into a non-standard 2.5 millimeter input jack on the rear panel, severely limits the type of sources that can be played. A mini HDMI adapter would be particularly helpful to interface with a laptop or portable video camera.

With its smooth brushed aluminum features, the diminutive Bonitor MP201 is the current cutting-edge in PICO portable front projectors. It is the size of two packs of playing cards, offers sufficient light from its LED lamp to create a more than viewable image under normal ambient lighting conditions, and is available online directly from the manufacturer for under $250. Its mini composite video input is suitable for connecting a video iPod, and the built in stereo speakers and amplifier will play quite loudly and clearly. Should you desire the "big screen experience", this projector can deliver up to a 60 inch diagonal image in the darkened setting of a home theater type room. Picture quality depends on the image size, and the amount of ambient light in the viewing environment (of course), but the MP201 is more than capable of producing an impressive image large enough to be enjoyed by several people while on the go, simultaneously. And, you will never have to replace the bulb, ever.

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