Aiptek PocketCinema T25 review
Aiptek's PocketCinema T25 is the smallest projector we've seen, and if you didn't notice the lens you might mistake it for a small headphone case or a new design of speaker. It's round, and literally fits in the palm of your hand. Two small flaps on the underside conceal a mini-USB port and power socket, and the only control is a focus wheel.
We should dispel an assumption that's easy to make, based on the T25's name: it's not very good at playing movies. In DVD-quality videos the video lags behind the audio track. You'll have to switch to "Compatible Mode" to make everything work smoothly. This switches to the projector's native 800x600, but as this is a 4:3 resolution widescreen movies are squashed into a letterbox, with large black bars above and below the image.
You can power the T25 either by USB or the mains. It requires more power than a single USB port can provide, so it comes with a cable with two USB plugs, but if you plug it into the mains you only have to use one. Brightness also jumps from 18 lumens to 25 lumens with mains power, which is a noticeable improvement, although it's still only enough for use in a darkened room if you want a large image.
When you first plug in the T25 it prompts you to install a driver, and once you've rebooted, you can simply run the utility to start projecting a copy of your Windows desktop. There aren't any picture controls or settings, just a focus wheel which is inconveniently placed on the underside of the projector.
It's incredibly hard to get a square picture, as there's no keystone correction. There's a small stand that flips out under the T25 to raise it slightly, but the small plastic flaps that cover the ports are also underneath, and one of them stops the T25 from lying flat, skewing the image.
Image quality isn't that good, either. Colours are over-saturated, except for washed-out blues which make greens look too light. Contrast is awful, and to get any detail in a picture you'll have to turn all the lights off, especially if you aren't plugged into the mains. There's also a strong rainbow effect, so moving images, especially in black and white, will suffer.
If you're looking for a cheap, ultra-portable projector and aren't fussed about image quality, the T25 may be for you, and it's also fine for browsing through holiday snaps. It's no good for films, though. The Samsung SP-H03 may be a bit more expensive, but it has better image quality and it's far more versatile, playing a number of file formats including movies and presentations from flash memory sticks, SD cards or a laptop.
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