With busier schedules than ever, we can all agree on one thing: we have less time than ever, and we don't want to waste it waiting for someone to figure out how to use the office projector. Unfortunately, that hasn't stopped plenty of offices from cheaping out in this regard, or not doing their research, and investing in headaches for years to come. It's a new year, though, and that's as good an excuse as any to review the best options out there for your office's projector unit.
Philips PicoPix PPX2055
Sure, we've reviewed some portable projectors, and many in this roundup qualify as portable, but the Philips PicoPix PPX2055 is shockingly small. So small, that you wonder what use case demands it be that small, aside from it being able to easily fit into a your briefcase, or even a jacket pocket. Measuring in at 2.8" x 2.8" x 1.1" (W x D x H), and at ¼ of a pound, it does not come close to tipping any scale. Philips has created a projector so small it could be used to surprise unsuspecting co-workers who were blissfully unaware that a meeting was in their future.
Selling for an affordable $299 (about £198, AU$371), it featured an easy setup and was able to project content only drawing power via USB. However, it did not play friendly with our MacBook Air, and you'll need a pitch-black situation to get the 55 lumen-capable lighting to show an image your team can see. It also failed dramatically to hit its advertised projection size of 120" images, only hitting a still-respectable 50" mark. Also, if you're projecting video, which the device can handle (if not especially sharply) consider a secondary speaker to drown out audible noise coming from the spinning DLP wheel.
- Read our Philips PicoPix PPX2055 review
Epson EX7235 Pro
If your meetings are never in the same location often, you're going to want a no-nonsense projector that's easy to carry. For that, we can recommend the Epson EX7235 Pro ($599.99, £385.24, AU$738.45). Weighing in at 5.29 pounds, and measuring 11.7" x 9.0" x 3.0" (W x D x H), it supports connecting via USB, WiFi, VGA, HDMI, or the mobile MHL. Not only is it easy to move around with, it's extremely easy to use, so much so that booting and choosing your input source only took a mere 34 seconds in our testing. This is all with an intensely strong lamp, which maxes out at 3000 lumens.
It is ideal for those who need a simple, portable projector for anything except for streaming video, as we experienced quality issues there, with output being either grainy or stuttering. It also suffered from a moment reminiscent of IKEA, with Some Assembly Required. That in 2015 we're requiring customers to find a screwdriver in order to set up WiFi sounds comically backwards. Sure, the EX7235 Pro doesn't force users to rely on just WiFi for presenting, but when you're dealing anything meant for on-the-go, WiFi is the connection of choice for most. Setting up said WiFi wasn't easy either, but once it's up, the EX7235 Pro performed like the four-star unit we believe it is.
- Read our Epson EX7235 Pro review
ViewSonic Pro8600 & Pro8520HD
If you're looking to present in a bright room, or shopping with no worry about price, ViewSonic's Pro8600, weighing 8.5 pounds and measuring 13.1" x 10.4" x 4.3" (W x D x H), and Pro8520HD, also 8.5 pounds and a very similar 13.1" x 10.4" x 4.8" (W x D x H) are especially relevant. The Pro8600 retails for about $1700 (around £1125, AU$2068) online, and the Pro8520HD can be found online at a bump up to around $1799 (around £1190, AU$2188).
Both machines run very loud and very bright, thanks to the Pro8600's 6000 lumen and the Pro8520HD's 5000 lumen capable lamps. So if you're looking to make presentations to people who drift off when the lights go out, make sure you consider these options. Neither are great with USB, but if you're looking to present video, both have HDMI slots - the Pro8520HD actually offers two, if that's something you would need.
Both projectors render HD color video beautifully, although Pro8520HD arguably over-saturates the colors. While the video on the Pro8520HD is of great quality, you're going to need to have any audio pretty loud, thanks to a whirring fan that hovered around 79 decibels in our testing. While the Pro8600 suffers the same noise pollution - its fan reaches 65 decibels - it does feature a useful ECO mode that can dampen the noise. As you would expect from projectors marketed on their HD quality, these units can get an image large enough for native HD proportions.