Just like the first computers, early domestic projectors virtually needed an entire room simply to house the necessary hardware. But in a world of miniaturisation, even projectors have succumbed to the inevitable technological shrinking process. So-called pico-projectors, like this, the BenQ Joybee GP1, will sit in the palm of your hand and produce images of a size and quality that well and truly belies their serious compactness.
Design and features
Small it may be, but on paper at least, the GP1 punches well above its diminutive physical weight (640g) and dimensions (136mm wide by 120mm deep by 57mm tall). Admittedly, it doesn't have the sort of specs you'll get from a full-sized home cinema projector, but they’re still not bad, all things considered. The projector is DLP-based with a PhlatLight LED chipset designed to cater for such micro-display optics. It features an SVGA resolution at 858x600 pixels, which means it’s effectively "HD-ready" and will handle up to 720p and 1080i content.
Other specs to consider include a quite reasonable stated contrast ratio of 2000:1, but light output isn’t all that bright sounding at just 100 ANSI lumens. The screen aspect ratio’s selectable between 4:3 and widescreen 16:9, while the projected image size varies from a bedroom wall-friendly 15 inches, to a screen-filling 80 inches, or 203cm for the metrically minded. For one so small, that’s a pretty big picture.
Portability and projecting your images anywhere you please is what the Joybee GP1 is all about. Plug in your personal media device, laptop computer, gaming console of choice and view your video, photos, music videos, PowerPoint presentations or shoot-em ups, where and when you fancy. BenQ has even managed to squeeze a tiny speaker system into the GP1, so no other AV hardware is essentially necessary to see and hear it in action.
Unfortunately, the accompanying power pack and leads prove a bit of a ball and chain; they’re almost as big as the projector itself and there’s no other way to power the GP1. Batteries are getting pretty good these days but not to the point that a device like this could be sustainable and cost-effectively powered under DC steam.
Connections are minimal but sufficient, with PC or component video inputs via a 15-pin D-sub serial port, while a supplied lead provides composite video and stereo audio connection. There’s also a single USB port input.
Finally, there’s a credit-card-sized remote and a disc of software provided which includes the user manual and licensed version of ArcSoft’s MediaConveter 3.0.