This little projector may be portable, but it's not so handy

This little projector may be portable, but it's not so handy

By Michael Cheek

GCN Staff

Lighter than most notebook PCs and able to cast images on conference room walls, the Compaq MP1600 aims to be the Superman of ultraportable multimedia projectors. In reality, it's more like Mighty Mouse'compact, but not quite as robust as its larger brethren.

At 4 pounds, 4 ounces, the MP1600 has strong, basic features at half the weight and girth of other portable projectors. But Compaq left out a remote control and audio speakers. Plus, the fan makes as much noise as a space heater.

The MP1600 multimedia projector needs a remote control and better stability to live up to its ultraportable promise.

The absence of a remote is troublesome. Using the on-screen menu requires pushing buttons on the side of the projector.

When trying to punch the buttons, it's easy to push the MP1600 over. Besides, the housing gets hot to the touch after a couple of hours of use.

A remote would not add to the overall heft factor: I have seen tiny remotes for cameras and camcorders that weigh only a couple of ounces.

The MP1600 projects at 600 lumens'about half the brightness of a 100-watt bulb. That is about standard for low-end portables. Lamp life is 1,500 hours, also average.

Instead of a liquid crystal panel, the MP1600 uses digital light processing. Thousands of microscopic mirrors refract light to create the image and colors. The colors are somewhat muted compared with those of LCD projectors.

Projected images appear sharp and generally accurate. The input sources available with the base unit are standard VGA and digital flat-panel. An additional component can accept S'video and RCA jack input.

Box Score ''''''''''''''


Lightweight, portable projector

Compaq Computer Corp.; Houston;

tel. 800-727-5472

Price: $4,227

+ Very portable and lightweight

' Lacks remote

' Fan too loud

The MP1600 handles resolutions from 640 by 480 pixels up to 1,280 by 1,024 pixels. Its native resolution is 1,024 by 768 pixels at 16.7 million colors.

Focusing requires manual adjustment, and the zoom is accessible only through the on-screen menu.

The height adjustment, via a stubborn button on the bottom front of the tower, gave even a Compaq representative trouble during a demonstration.

The $4,227 General Services Administration Information Technology Schedule price includes a soft-sided carrying case. The price is pretty much in line with other low-end projectors.

The MP1600 ultraportable projector's most compelling advantages are its low weight and small size, and that means you don't have to be a superhero to carry it on the road.

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