Its shape and size fit that of a mobile phone, just a tad larger than an ordinary one. All controls are logically placed and easily accessible, while most device functions are controlled via the OSD menu. It’s not replete with settings, but this is actually a desirable feature for a device that’s supposed to be set up quickly and easily. There are no image geometry settings, but this can’t be considered a flaw either, having in mind the distance of this projector from the screen that image is to be projected on and the ease of changing the projector’s position. Light intensity reduction has been made available in order to save power and lifespan of the light source itself. Focus is controlled by rotating the ring on top of the device, and the wide setting spectrum enables use on distances greater than the maximum specified ones. The lens is kept safe from dirt and transport damage by a handy “door”, which turns off the lamp when in closed position.
The device can be powered by the replaceable lithium-ion battery or the supplied travelling adapter attached to a separate plug. The second, universal connector enables the use of various audio and video cable combinations via different extensions. That’s right, audio as well - there was also enough room for a pair of speakers! Besides the standard D-Sub and composite connections, the device also supports connections to iPhone/iPad devices, as well as several, mostly high-end, Nokia mobile phones. Although the hardware resolution of the projector is VGA, it can cope with PAL signal as well, and some even higher PC resolutions. We managed to go all the way up to 1024x768, but intuition and showcased results suggest that it wouldn’t be too clever to leave the job of scaling the image to such a tiny and highly integrated device. Also provided is an application which should ease, and in some cases even enable the PC to be set to VGA resolution, which is the recommended resolution for this device.
The diagrams on the official presentation, but also the construction itself, suggest that it’s possible to place this device directly on a table, for example, and display image on a wall, but this is a hardly imaginable scenario in real-life conditions, since half the image would end up on the table. It is therefore necessary to use the supplied tripod with standard winding, or at least something to lift the device to a certain angle so that the lens side is facing upwards.
The first impression with this projector was - that it works! The possibility of throwing the image around whichever way you like is truly incredible fun. Once you’ve got bored with exploring what your favourite video looks like on every possible and impossible kind of surface and finally leave the darn thing alone, you really can’t escape the impression of how well it works! The resolution is low, the room has to be completely engulfed in darkness for larger distances that need to be covered, but only a cynic would remain unimpressed. Such a person would perhaps notice that the vertical resolution perhaps isn’t exactly perfectly precisely defined, and that colour dynamics is, expectedly, rather weak, but who cares for his opinion.
|Sapphire Mini Projector 101|
|Base resolution||640x480 pix (VGA)|
|Brightness||14 ANSI lumens|
|Inputs||D-Sub, composite, Apple, Nokia|
|Speakers||0.5 W (stereo)|
|Weight||103 g (with battery)|
|Size||116 x 50 x 18 mm|
The actual practical need for such a device, except for entertainment purposes, remains an open question, of course. The manufacturer envisioned several usage scenarios, such as business presentations, education and home entertainment. All those situations where you could need a full-scale projector basically. Then, the question meanders to portability and autonomy, as in whether anyone really needs these features to such a huge extent. We personally found this device, as an example, ideal for shops, where it could be used for promoting and advertising certain items. If this sort of scenario rings a bell, the excellent production quality, a usable image display and a reasonable price are all critical attributes in the “pro” category for buying this device.