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Sony MP-CL1 projector review

This smartphone-sized projector packs a punch

Sony
Sony

The Sony MP-CL1 has a lot to offer in a package not much bigger than your average phablet. Yes, it has some major flaws, but we think they're worth the tradeoff for sheer portability.

Sony

We liked

Due to its diminutive stature, the Sony MP-CL1 is perfect for anyone giving presentations on the go. Unlike most other portable projectors, you can simply slide Sony's latest offering in your pocket and walk out the door – no bag necessary. Add in a premium feel and attractive design, and this projector packs quite a punch that may earn you some compliments at your next presentation.

Connectivity is limited to mini HDMI and wireless display mirroring, but that seems like a perfect tradeoff for extreme mobility. The included mini HDMI to HDMI dongle eliminates the need to purchase any additional accessories, and display mirroring allows you to simply connect your smartphone and go.

Finally, although I initially questioned how the MP-CL1's output would fare, the picture quality proved to be clear, sharp and bright enough for dim-to-dark environments. Add in keystone correction and no need to manually set the focus, and the MP-CL1's display prowess makes it an extremely attractive offering.

We disliked

As previously mentioned, the extreme portability of the MP-CL1 doesn't come without its drawbacks. Even though the projector is extremely pocketable, you're still going to have to carry around an HDMI cable if you don't have a device compatible with the wireless display mirroring. This means adding a little bit of extra bulk to your bag or briefcase and slightly complicates setup.

Additionally, it would have been great to see Bluetooth on board to make up for the projector's disappointing sound quality. The ability to transmit audio to a Bluetooth speaker setup would be a simple solution, but, as it stands, you're limited to wired speakers to overcome the poor volume on the MP-CL1.

Finally, while the MP-CL1 scores points for packing great image quality into such a small form factor, it still isn't going to trump much more expensive, high-end projectors. If you can get away with giving your presentations in dim or dark rooms, you're all set. However, if you have to take on your next sales pitch in a bright setting, you'll want to look elsewhere.

Final verdict

Sony's MP-CL1 offers great value for those looking for an extremely portable projector. Between its sharp, laser-projected picture, wireless connectivity and $350 list price, the MP-CL1 seemingly beats out similar small form factor projectors in its price range, like the LG PH300 and ZTE SPro. As long as you're willing to acknowledge that the MP-CL1 isn't meant to compete with the big dogs in the projector space, its few shortcomings are fairly easy to look past, especially when considering the ability to simply slip it in your pocket and go.