HandiTheatre review: HandiTheatre

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Pricing Unavailable
Reviewed:
Updated:

The Good Screen inflates quickly. Easy to set-up. Works well at night.

The Bad Price is on the high side for an occasional use device. Lack of component or HDMI inputs.

The Bottom Line Ever dreamt of hosting summer movie screenings in the backyard? Then the HandiTheatre may just be the ticket for you — if you can stomach the price, that is.

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Design

There are three rolling cases for storing and moving the HandiTheatre around: an oversized dufflebag for the screen, its frame, remote controls, wires and accessories; and two hard cases, one for the sound system and the other for the projector.

The system consists of a white screen that, depending on which package is ordered, measures either 2.5m (98-inch) or 3m (118-inch) diagonally. Inflating the frame for the screen takes about a minute when the included blower is fully charged. Depending on how diligently you deflate the frame and fold the screen into the dufflebag-on-'roids there may be the odd wrinkle or two on the screen sheet.

To get moving images onto said screen there's a steel-cased Smart Box, which houses a projector, amplifier and Blu-ray player. The steel case ensures that the enclosed devices don't need to be treated with kid gloves, while also offering a small amount of weather protection — a sliding shield over the top of the projector and permanent openings for the projector lens, inputs and outputs mean that full weather protection is impossible.

Features and performance

The Optoma EW539 projector lurking with the steel prison mightn't have much brand recognition, but it does the job required of it. Resolution goes all the way up to 1080i and the rated 3000-lumen output means that it will display viewable, if somewhat washed out, images from twilight onwards — naturally, it produces its best work at night.

Positioning the screen and projector requires a bit of forethought as the Optoma's working range is on the long side — between 3.35m and 3.65m for the 2.5m screen, and 4.05m and 4.4m for the 3m screen. Vertical keystone correction is available to help straighten the image out.

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Where to Buy

HandiTheatre

Part Number: CNETHandiTheatre

Typical Price: $3,498.00

See manufacturer website for availability.