Mili HI-P60 Power Pico Projector
Turn your iPhone into a cinema
Review There sure is a buzz about compact, portable "pico" projectors thanks to notion that they will allow us to cast content kept on mobile phones up onto a handy wall, cinema style. Coupling one with an iPhone, China's Hali-Power, operating under the brandname Mili, reckons it has a winning combination.
Mili's HI-P60 Power Pico Projector: compact
The Mili HI-P60 Power Pico Projector - to give the gadget its full name - is a chunky clamshell unit that's eminently portable. The top part pivots round to expose the lens and reveal a basic control array. The other half has a dock connector placed so the iPhone or iPod lies flat back against the base, screen upward.
And there's a flip-out stand that angles the iPhone section toward you while the business end points forward.
The HI-P60's controls are touch-sensitive and a gentle tap is all that's required to activate the projector and adjust the volume. Just call up a video file or photo slideshow on your iPhone and you're ready to sit back and view it. Bundled cables and adaptors allow you to hook up composite-video and VGA sources.
Power is provided by the projector's AC adaptor, but the unit also contains a 1200mAh removable battery able to sustain the device for the two hours the manufacturer recommends as its maximum continuous running time.
The stand could be more sturdy
Why two hours? The Mili gets rather warm. To quote the sticker on the back: "Phenomenon of heating is normal, however, turn off for rest is suggested after display of two hours."
Yet burning up the Watts produces a measly 10 Lumens, a fraction of the illumination a regular projector is capable of. The Mili's liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) micro display and lens can sharply project a 640 x 480 image at anything between 5in and 70in in the diagonal, but you'll need to do so in a very dark room indeed if you hope to approach - but never reach - the brightness of even a low-end LCD TV.
If only the projected picture wasn't so dark.
The photo does the projection more credit that it deserves
The Mili gives you a reasonable degree of control over the image - separate red, green and blue levels, brightness, contrast and so on, all accessed from the unit's on-screen menu using its compact remote control - but however you adjust it, the image remains just too darn dark for good viewing. Colours are well reproduced, but there's simply not enough light coming through.
The unit has a 2W speaker which is better than the iPhone's own, and it's handy to help compensate for out the persistent drone of the projector's cooling fan, but not the audio interference generated by the projector's own electronics, at least in the review sample.
Add all that some minor irritations - the curved corners of the stand make it easy to knock the projection off true, the main hinge isn't quite strong enough to keep the lens pointing where you set it - and the fact that the Mili costs £240 takes the shine off this portable projector.
I like the Mili's convenience and idea of having an ad hoc DIY cinema for a small group of viewers. I can put up with the wimpy speaker and the noisy, hot operation - nothing there you wouldn't expect from any other projector. But I can't see an audience sticking with the Mili's murky output for an hour let alone two. ®
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