Micron Technology Pop Video review: Micron Technology Pop Video

We both agreed that the bigger issue was getting the projector set up properly. For showing photos, you can hold it in your hand and project against a wall, but for any serious video watching, you've got to lay it on a flat surface and make sure it's sitting at the right height. I ended up creating a little projection tower out of a box, a CD cover, and a plaque we had lying around. I then stuck a coin under one side of the projector to tilt it slightly to the right and get the image more geometrically correct.

Aside from that, the only other gripe I had was that while my iPhone docked just fine with the projector, it didn't feel that securely attached. It's not a huge issue but it would be nice if the designers figured out a way to retain the small form and the flexibility of being able to accommodate iPhones and iPod Touches of various sizes but create a more secure connection.

I should also mention that you focus the image by using the slider switch on the side of the projector, which also doubles as the on/off switch. I liked that design, though it can be a bit tricky to get fine focus while you're watching a video, so it's best to focus based on the Pop Video logo when you turn the projector on.

The free Pop Video app gives you more projection options. Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

As for sound, the projector has no built-in speaker, which means you have to use your iPhone or iPod Touch's speaker for sound. I found my iPhone's speaker worked fairly well; in a quiet room, the speaker can actually play pretty loud. Another option is to use a Bluetooth speaker like the Jawbone Jambox or Logitech Mini Boombox . While small, those speakers will provide significantly bigger sound.

Last but not least is the question of battery life. The Pop Video's battery is rated at 2 hours, or just enough for a movie. We managed to get almost all 2.22 hours of "Ghost Protocol" in but had to plug in for the last few minutes. You can run the projector on USB power while watching (a short cable is included), though Micron advises against doing this, as the projector generates some heat while projecting and so does charging the battery. It's better to fully charge the unit and run off battery power the whole time.

Note: Micron says that some sort of tripod accessory is in the works.

A Micro-USB cable for charging is included but not a protective case. Sarah Tew/CNET

Our take
The Pop Video is definitely a big step in the right direction for the pico projector market, in terms of both price and form factor. The killer app for these types of projectors has always been tighter integration with the iPhone (and other smartphones eventually) to makes it much easier to project without attaching any kludgey cables. To that end, the projector is designed to be used with a free app with which you can tweak the projector settings and, more importantly, project more content directly from your iPhone, including YouTube videos, Web pages, Facebook, and videos downloaded from iTunes or iTunes U that are not MPEG-3 protected.

The Pop Video has a retractable iPhone/iPod dock. Sarah Tew/CNET

With its price point and marketing angle, Micron is gearing this product toward a younger audience that would find it fun and cool to whip out a tiny projector, attach it to an iPhone, and project images or videos on a wall at a moment's notice. I could also see the Pop Video as a useful travel companion for parents who have to entertain a small cadre of children (though if you have an iPad already, this accessory is much more of a luxury than a necessity.)

In the end, the Pop Video is far from perfect and will certainly get some design and performance upgrades; battery life could be improved a bit, for instance. But for a first-generation product, this is fairly impressive. No, the picture isn't going to wow videophiles, but it's good enough, particularly coming from an accessory that's truly pocket-size. In other words, keep your expectations in check and you won't be disappointed.

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    Micron Technology Pop Video

    Part Number: POPVIDEO

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    • Native Resolution 960 x 540
    About The Author

    Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable e-reader and e-publishing expert. He's also the author of the novels Knife Music and The Big Exit. Both titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, and Nook e-books.