Sony MP-CL1 projector review

This smartphone-sized projector packs a punch

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Our Verdict

The Sont MP-CL1 provides a sharp, clear picture in an extremely pocketable form factor. Combined with a premium feel, this little guy may turn some heads.

For

  • Sharp image
  • Autofocus
  • Pocketable size

Against

  • Poor audio
  • Limited device mirroring

Sony's latest entry into the projector space is here, and it comes in a wonderfully tiny package. The MP-CL1 ($349, £229, AU$499) is Sony's first pico projector, offering an extremely portable projection solution for users on the go. Due to its tiny form factor, the MP-CL1 is in firm competition with other mini-projectors such as the LG Minibeam PH300 ($449, £290, AU$603) and the ZTE SPro ($400 £270, AU$530).

If you're a professional road warrior, the MP-CL1 combines a number of features that make it an attractive option for impromptu presentations. At 7.2 ounces (210 grams), it is much lighter than the LG PH300 (15.2 ounces), and even the already-tiny ZTE SPro (14.1 ounces).

Despite its small size, the MP-CL1 still manages to pack in handy features like Wi-Fi connectivity and laser projection with autofocus. At least on the surface, the only place where the MP-CL1 appears to be lacking in comparison is when it comes to its paltry lumen count of 32.

On paper, the MC-PL1 looks like a great contender in the portable projector space, but let's take a closer look at its performance, look and feel.

Sony

Design

Packaging is often the least recognized part of opening any new gadget, but I thought Sony's presentation with the MP-CL1 deserved a mention. The projector comes packaged in a fairly nondescript black, book-like box simply emblazoned with the Sony logo up front. The thick, smooth stock combined with a magnetic hinge makes for a premium feel that rivals Apple's attention to packaging detail.

And that premium feel carries over to the projector itself. The chassis is largely made up of matte black aluminum, with the only plastic appearing in the very front and back of the device. The construction overall feels very sturdy, with the only point of contention being those two plastic pieces, which I could see being troublesome if the projector was dropped.

The top of the MP-CL1 is adorned only with a Sony logo at the back, along with power and battery indicators at the front. The right side of the projector is made up of smooth, unbroken aluminum, while the left side features one USB port, a 3.5mm audio jack, a mini HDMI port, a micro USB charging port, and buttons for power and moving around menus.

Sony

On the front of the MP-CL1, you'll find another Sony logo, along with the recessed projector lens. Moving around to the bottom, this is where things get a little messy with a speaker grill and all of the regulatory information and stickers – although this side of the device will remain hidden most of the time anyway.

And now for the real draw of the MP-CL1: its size. Upon first look, it would be easy to mistake the projector for a slightly overgrown smartphone. The MP-CL1 measures in at a very pocketable 3.0 x 5.9 x 0.51 inches (77 x 149.5 x 13mm). Compared to the ZTE SPro, which measures 4.7 x 4.7 x 1.1-inch (120.6 x 120.6 x 28.5mm), the MP-CL1 is a tad longer, but its rectangular shape and thinner profile is much more pocket-friendly.