Provides: Mobile projection for iDevices and other sources
Minimum Requirements: iOS device or video source with VGA output
If you’re in the market for a pico projector and are not limited by price, then look no further than Microvision. They make quite possibly the world’s best and coolest pico projects. Why’s that? One simple reason. Lasers. Microvision pico projectors use lasers to project an image that holds up surprisingly well at some pretty impressive sizes, given dark environments. But that’s not all. Since Microvision pico projectors use lasers, there’s no need to refocus. They are always in focus. I had the pleasure of checking out a SHOWWX+ for a few weeks, and let’s just say I’m impressed. It really is a superb tool for impromptu presentations, slideshows, watching movies while traveling, playing mobile games and so much more.
I’ve heard and seen things about Microvision pico projectors for years. Every time that’s happened, I’ve been impressed. That said, it’s almost always at a trade show where the conditions aren’t exactly perfect. That alone speaks to how incredible the SHOWWX+ and other Microvision pico projectors are. They really can project a decent image, even in a well lit room. But to really understand what one of these guys can do, you really would want to see it in the conditions in which it’s going to be used the most. For a consumer like myself, that would be at home in a relatively dark room, or in a tent while camping, or in a hotel room, etc.
The SHOWWX+ did not disappoint. It performed even better than what I would have expected from everything I’ve come to know about these type of projectors. I was expecting to be able to project a 30+ inch image in a pretty dark room with success. What I found is that with a dark enough room (nothing too ridiculous), you can easily fill a wall. A really big wall. Now, the SHOWWX+ doesn’t project at 1080P, but instead maxes out at 848 X 480 (WVGA). So, it’s debatable whether you really want to push it this far, but it’s capable of amazing things under the right circumstances. What’s more likely though is that you’ll be projecting something about 20-50 inches depending on ambient light levels and your control over them. In other words, while the SHOWWX+ is capable of minor miracles, you really are subject to your environment.
If you’re wondering how to get video into the SHOWWX+ the only thing you really need to know is that it comes with an iPod cable. You’ll be able to drive the device with an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. You can also buy a VGA dock to use it with your computer. And coming soon, you’ll be able to buy an HDMI capable version of the SHOWWX+, which really is the best cable solution shy of AirPlay, in my opinion, even if it can’t project in HD. Also, remember that while the SHOWWX+ can project over a 100 inch image, it can’t help you on the audio side. Bluetooth speakers are great for this, but it’s another thing you’ll need to have.
One thing worth noting about image quality is that the projected image has what’s best described as a shimmer to it. It’s hard to describe accurately and even harder to photograph. It’s not distracting, but it does look different from what you’re accustomed to when it comes to watching your videos.
What’s really remarkable is how small and light the device is when compared to what it is capable of. While it’s pretty sweet to project out a 70+ inch video from your phone to the wall, the lightness of the projector does introduce some problems that you’ll have to solve. There are no feet or mounting holes on the SHOWWX+. It’s so light that even moving the cable that attaches to your iPhone will move the projector considerably. That’s a huge problem. I solved this by attaching it to a tiny Joby Gorillapod, which turned out to be the perfect solution. Not only does it give the projector grippy feet so that it doesn’t slip around, it allows you to attach it to something so it really doesn’t go anywhere.
You can expect the SHOWWX+ battery to last about 2 hours. If you intend to use it longer than that, you should be prepared with some charging solution. It can be recharged with the included USB cable, so you could use an external battery solution. But if you’re close to an outlet, it’d be a good idea to just leave it plugged in whenever possible.
The Microvision SHOWWX+ projector really is an amazing product. It’s about the same size at an iPhone 4, but is capable of projecting an image bigger than your TV, under desirable conditions. The fact that it uses lasers pretty much makes all other pico projectors look silly in comparison. But it certainly isn’t cheap. The Microvision SHOWWX+ retails at $319.00 and is available now.
That said, I’d probably wait for the SHOWWX+HDMI if I were you.