The Sony Pico Mobile projector (MPCL1) used to be just a rumour circulating around gaming conventions and online tech forums. It would be talked about amongst staff in the projection industry, and all that chit-chat was about how it supposedly would signify the start of a new era in projector based portability. But it wasn’t until the beginning of 2015, when we got the official word from Sony that it was indeed real. Well, fast-forward to present day, and the MPCL1 has just been released and we managed to get our hands on one to see if its as good as Sony’s recent boasts. So with great pleasure and excitement, here is our much anticipated Sony MPCL1 review.
The Sony MPCLI is a laser projector, rather than an LED or DLP projector, it has resolution of 1920×720 with a 16.9 aspect ratio, and there’s excellent connectivity with games consoles via an HDMI cord for HD gaming without the need for a TV. It can also connect wirelessly to tablets, computers, laptops, phones and any other devices that have Wi-Fi. Weighing only 7oz it is still able to display a screen size of max 120 inches, despite being the size of a smartphone. It uses Sony’s new technology, the laser beam scanning system, which is a tech jargon way of saying it uses red, green, and blue lasers as light sources. Other features are a large number of screen sizes, no manual focus, audio out jack and some great Sony developed technology for reducing imperfections like speckling.
- The resolution of 1920×720 is quite odd, in fact there’s currently no other projector available with these specific DPI sets, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that it’s practically HD quality and for a small hand held system like this, that’s a massive resolution.
- At just 7oz it’s very easy to carry and it’s on the smaller size of pico projectors out there so purchasers will easily be able to find space in their bags for it.
- As a laser projector is quieter than DLP or LED projectors, which is always a plus point as nobody likes a buzzing sound while watching a movie, playing games or giving a presentation.
- The display is also more crisp and clear than DLP or LED models, and Sony’s laser scanning system allows you to place it down and immediately show very high quality HD images. The pre-availability talk surrounding the MPCL1 was it’s portability and practicality, the MPCL1 succeeds on both levels.
- Easy Initial Set-up
- Great wireless reading. This projector will pick up Wi-Fi signals extremely quickly from tablets, phones, consoles, computers, laptops, and blu-ray players.
- At the end of the day it’s just one more thing people will have to carry around with them. That said, it’s very futuristic and Sony as we speak are using the technology in the MPCL1 to create games systems and phones with built in pico projectors. So, it’s up to the individual to decide whether they want to buy this and experience the future now, or wait for built-in formats to arrive.
- At only 32 lumens curtains will have to drawn in mid-afternoon sunlight for images to be at optimum levels
- So small it could easily get lost so shouldn’t be left lying around
Size and Design:
The design looks like one of Sony’s smartphone’s in it’s simple, sleek and profession form. Much better looking than the rather unwieldy Playstation. Measurements are 5.90 inches in length by 3 inches width and a depth of 0.50 inches. At 7oz it’s one of the lightest projectors on the market.
Having decided my first test for this piece of technology would be to play a movie using the HDMI connection and my blu-ray player, I was impressed by the speed at which the picture came up. Sony had marketed this projector towards gamers who went to other peoples houses regularly to play, business people with limited time for presentations and regular consumers who want the experience of quality projection without having make adjustments each time they view. So, round one went to Sony; you don’t have to spend time learning this projector to get a good picture as it’s simple and ready to go when you are.
That said, once I moved on to expanding and reducing the screen size to test the MPCL1’s responses I noticed some distortions in the picture, which I was able to clear up using the auto focus. In the end the picture was clear at any size but the focus must be altered each time you alter the screen size. So, while you can toss it down and get a great picture, the MPCL1 does require some experimentation when you delve deeper into it.
I then repeated this process of plugin-and-play followed by screen size adjustment, this time for gaming and PowerPoint presentations. I also gathered as many different devices as I could to test the Wi-Fi reading. The MPCL1 proved itself very versatile, having no trouble displaying bar charts and writing clearly in HD quality, followed by fast-paced shoot em up games. You simply place it down and project. In fact, changing the screen size for presentations was less of an issue and I didn’t have to adjust the focus at all to maintain perfect clarity. The best performance quality of all was the connectivity. This wireless reading of this device is so sharp it can read any Wi-Fi device in the general vicinity and connect immediately. This would be especially pleasing for those people who have multiple devices they use regularly.
Next I wanted to check out the noise levels so I displayed movies, games and a presentation of our company’s financials of last year at 25% of the max sound. While it’s not completely quiet, no piece of technology is, and it was noticeably quieter than our other projectors in the office. DLP and LED projectors are generally louder, so you’d expect a laser projector to perform better in this area, but the MPCL1 is quieter than even most laser projectors.
At 32 lumens experts like myself genuinely notice problems with picture quality when brightness in the room is added. But, we notice everything and for everyday consumers this won’t be too much of an issue, any more than slight quality differences in TV sets causes an issue when the curtains are opened.
When I was done I picked it up and put it in my pocket. It does break new ground in terms of portability, with its small size and it may go on to be an indispensable piece of equipment.
For what is does it’s available at a very good price. Part of the reason why most people still use TV’s is the extra knowledge you need to have to be able to work projectors. Sony have very much simplified the process of operation and this might expand the market in terms of usage. It’s better than a TV, in that you get the Full HD picture, but on a much larger screen. Its about what you want. You’ll find more lumens on other projectors, and also 1080p, but if practicality, portability, quality, and quick simplicity in a fast paced world are your priorities then this is the best projector out there.