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Pico Genie M100

Michael Passingham
18 Dec 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
250
inc VAT

An amazingly small, light and cheap wireless projector, but the Pico Genie M100 has slightly compromised image quality

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Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS: , Projector type: DLP, Native resolution: 854x480, Video inputs: HDMI, Lamp life: 20,000h, Lamp brightness: 65 lumen, Size: 78x145x16mm, Weight: 190g

Pico projectors are small enough that they can be stuffed into a bag and carried around until the desire to deliver a presentation or show off your holiday snaps strikes you. The Pico Genie M100 is a suitably tiny device weighing just 190g, with dimensions of 78x145x16mm. Its proportions are genuinely impressive, and it's not a bad-looking device either.

It ships with a small tripod with bendy legs, which can be a little frustrating to set up initially. We would have preferred something a little more substantial, but as it uses a standard tripod thread you can swap it for a sturdier tripod easily.

There are plenty of inputs on the M100, making it extremely flexible. There's a full-size HDMI input as you'd expect from a modern projector, as well as a slot for microSD cards and a full-size USB port for external storage devices. Plenty of image and video formats are supported including H.264, MPEG, JPEG, BMP and PNG. There's also a 3.5mm headphone jack to replace the 1.5W speaker inside if you want to turn your bedroom into a one person home cinema.

Touch sensitive buttons on top of the projector switch input sources. Beyond HDMI and microSD, the Wireless option activates the M100's party-piece Miracast capabilities. Miracast allows you to wirelessly project the screen of compatible devices – most typically smartphones and tablets, but some laptops are supported too. As is often the case with Miracast, though, it's a little underwhelming, with minor interference and a fair amount of input lag. While the technology is undoubtedly clever, the size and quality of the projected image doesn't add much over what you would get from looking at your content on a smartphone or tablet screen. Flicking the switch on the side of the projector changes it into DLNA renderer mode, which can then be accessed by non-Miracast-compatible devices running third-party applications such as iMedia Share.

The M100 has a 65-lumen LED lamp that throws an image with a maximum resolution of 854x480 pixels. It's bright when stationed about a metre from a projection surface, but really struggles in brightly lit environments and is far too dim at distances beyond two metres. This is no surprise from such a small device, but if you're going to be using it for business meetings, you'll have to follow very strict presentation etiquette, using very large text and high-contrast colours to ensure your audience can see what you're talking about. From one metre away we were able to create a 29in image, and from two metres it increased to 58 inches. 

The M100 squeezes a 4,000mAh battery inside its tiny frame, which can power the device for up to two hours. There's no economy mode, so the projector doesn't dim itself automatically if you disconnect the power supply, but it does double as a portable charger for your phone thanks to the 5V output from the USB port.

The fan runs very quietly and doesn't get uncomfortably hot like a lot of other, brighter projectors. The LEDs have a claimed life of 20,000 hours, so you're unlikely to see a performance drop during this projector's working life.

The Pico Genie M100 is the lightest and smallest projector we've ever reviewed, which is impressive by itself. At this price, it's a viable alternative to more expensive small and medium-sized projectors, but not for anything more complex than giving presentations or showing off web pages. It's simply not bright enough, nor is its resolution high enough, for anything more demanding. If you're looking for a higher-end pico projector, the £350 Optoma ML550 has a brighter bulb and a better resolution, and it remains our favourite.

Hardware
Projector typeDLP
3D supportNo
Contrast ratio1000:1
Native resolution854x480
Native aspect ratio16:9
Throw ratio1.7:1
Max diagonal at 7ft distanceN/A
Projection distance0.04-2.2m
Optical zoomNone
Mirror imageNo
Invert imageNo
Lens shiftNone
Video inputsHDMI
Audio inputsNone
Video outputsNone
Audio outputs3.5mm stereo
Noise (in normal use)Not stated
Internal speaker (power)Yes (1.5W)
Card readerMicroSD, USB
Image formats readJPEG, BMP, PNG
Document formats readNone
Lamp life20,000h
Lamp life in economy modeN/A
Lamp brightness65 lumen
Size78x145x16mm
Weight190g
Buying information
Price including VAT£249
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Supplierwww.personalprojector.co.uk
Detailswww.personalprojector.co.uk
Part codeM100
Lamp cost (inc VAT)N/A
Lamp cost per hour of useN/A
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)N/A
Lamp supplierN/A

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