3M PocketProjector MP180 review

Barry de la Rosa
1 Aug 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

An amazingly versatile pico projector, but the included stand is poor, there's no remote control and it's expensive



800x600 resolution, 30 ANSI lumens, 32x64x150mm, 329g

The MP180 is a highly versatile office projector. It's a short-throw model, which means it can project large images even when very close to a surface, and it can be hooked up to a source via VGA or component inputs (using an adaptor), display files from internal memory or a microSD memory card or copy them to internal memory over Bluetooth, and even browse the web over Wi-Fi.

Built-in office document and PDF support means you can read documents, spreadsheets and presentations directly from a memory card, and there's also support for MPEG4 and H.264 movies and MP3, AMR and AAC audio files. BMP and JPEG image files can also be displayed. A resistive touchscreen interface lets you browse files, access settings and even browse the web, using the touchscreen to control a mouse and an on-screen keyboard. It's extremely fiddly, but if it means not having to carry a laptop around with you then it may be worth it.

3M PocketProjector MP180 Front

Pico projectors use LCOS (Liquid Crystal On Silicon) chips. These are like a mirror with a liquid crystal layer. An LED light source is used, reducing power consumption and meaning the lamp lasts a long time (the LED lamp in the MP180 has an estimated life of over 20,000 hours). The upshot is a tiny projector that can project an 80in-diagonal picture at about two-and-a-half metres, with a built-in battery that lasts for about two hours. The MP180's versatility makes it ideal for travelling business people, but it's not without its flaws.

For a start, the MP180 only produces 30 lumens of brightness, so unlike normal business projectors designed for use under harsh office lighting, the MP180 should either be used in a darkened room or at very short range. The second limitation is a physical one: the desk stand that comes in the box is a three-legged tripod stand with flexible legs, which screws into a standard mount on the MP180's underside. The legs don't keep their shape well and so provide a rather shaky foundation; it would be wise to either invest in a proper tripod or a Joby GorillaPod.

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