However much the Pico projector might be on a few people’s wishlists for future iPhone features, the likelihood is that it’ll never make it on to the body of any Apple-designed product. So, the options are pretty limited if you want to project content from your iDevice to a wall. You can hook your iPhone up to a full-size projector using Apple TV or using an AV cable. Or, you can purchase a chunky case with a built in projector.
KiDiGi’s i-Pico is one solution. Your iPhone slides inside and connects via the 30-pin dock connectors. Switch it on by flipping and holding the power lever for three seconds and it will automatically beam your video content to a wall. Sadly, there’s no mirroring option, so all it will every do is make use of videos in your native Video app.
Hardware wise, it has its own inbuilt loudspeaker controlled by a volume rocker on the left hand side of the device. Just above the volume switch is the focus control; a small, circle wheel that allows you to manually focus depending on distance. On the bottom is a two-way switch. This can be used to switch on the projector, or activate the backup battery function to charge your iPhone. It has a 2,100mAh battery inside, useful for refueling your iDevice. You charge it by using a mini USB (yes, mini, not micro!)
Despite its considerable size, it feels comfortable in hand, and has a soft touch texture to the outside. Last thing you want is for your phone to slip off its resting place when in the middle of watching a movie. Considering how small the lens is, I’m surprised at how big the image can get. It goes without saying that the further away you stand from the surface used for protection, the picture becomes faded. The packaging claims it can reach up to 60″, and maximum 2m away from the wall/projection screen. Since the light is no where near as powerful as a full size projector, I’d be reluctant to be any further away than 1.5m.
Performance wise, it seems okay. I found that during watching animations, a lot of the lighter colors are very washed out. Due to not being able to adjust the contrast or exposure manually, there’s literally nothing I could do about it. Live action video was much better, but still, seemed over-exposed and lacking in contrast. That is me just being super critical though, after all, it’s a pico projector. It’s not like it’s supposed to be a substitute for a full size one.
The i-Pico is available now for $237, and can be purchased from Mugen Power Batteries’ online store.