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3M MP180 Pocket Projector review: 3M MP180 Pocket Projector

Review Sections

Performance

The tripod supplied with the MP180 works well enough when it's running off battery power, but, as we discovered during testing, plugging it into its AC power adaptor is an easy way to tip it over from the back. If the tripod screw was a little more centrally mounted, this would be less of an issue.

Actual projection quality was amongst the best that we've seen in a pocket projector, whether you're looking at dry documents or a thrilling video. Predictably, the inbuilt speaker isn't much to get excited about, and it's worth noting that the fan kicks in quickly and is relatively noisy for a pocket projector. Still, we were able to blow images up to a very large size with minimal focus and distortion problems, even in a well-lit room.

There's a word for the touchscreen on the MP180, but it's not a polite one. The use of a resistive screen means that you'll find yourself stabbing at buttons multiple times, especially the onscreen keyboard. While fighting the web browser, we often found it easier to flick the projector sideways to engage the keyboard that way; it's quite far from an optimal solution, and it's a great pity that 3M couldn't incorporate a more finger-friendly capacitive screen into the MP180's hardware.

The inclusion of a web browser into the projector hardware should give the MP180 a real leg-up against the competition. Unfortunately, the MP180's web browser is something of a lame duck, with no Flash support and the difficulty of the on-board resistive keyboard making entering URLs a chore rather than a pleasure.

Conclusion

As a projector, the MP180 is excellent. Even in brightly lit rooms it presents images well, and, while it's on the large side for what we'd call a "pocket" projector, we can forgive this, given the quality of its images. The inclusion of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, along with a large number of native business file formats, should give it plenty of scope as a portable business tool. Where the MP180 falls over, though (tripod aside), is the resistive touchscreen. It's just too much of a fight to get it to behave, even if you do use a stylus with it. If 3M can incorporate the same technology, and perhaps update the inbuilt web browser along the way, they'd have a killer business projector. As is, it's a good tool with a few serious problems.

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