Projectors for home theaters and those used in business conference rooms might seem similar, but they're not. A home-theater projector is optimized to deliver the best viewing experience when watching movies and other entertainment. Many project high-definition images with deep, rich blacks, but brightness -- while generally good -- is a secondary consideration.
A good portable digital business projector, on the other hand, is designed to project not just video but also PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, graphics, photos, text files and more. Since most will be used in conjunction with a laptop, resolution will typically conform to a common standard like SVGA or XGA. Brightness is a key consideration, as most business settings don't lend themselves to the lowest levels of ambient lighting, and weight is an important concern if a portable business projector is to be a good traveling companion.
This report focuses on different types of portable digital business projectors that can be used in a variety of business environments ranging from elaborate presentations in sophisticated corporate audiovisual facilities to one-on-one desktop presentations. If you're more interested in a projector for watching movies in your home theater, see our separate report on home-theater projectors.
There are a number of excellent places to find reviews of business-class portable digital projectors. First and foremost are projector-centric sites such as ProjectorCentral.com and ProjectorReviews.com. Both resources include lots of great background information, as well as in-depth detailed reviews. They also do a very good job of keeping up to date with new products. Good reviews and information can also be found in magazines and at websites like PCMag.com, PC World, PC World (Australia), Laptop magazine, PicoProjector-Info.com and GadgetSpeak.com, but all review fewer portable projectors for the most part than sites we like more. While Amazon.com has larger numbers of reviews for home-theater projectors, there are only a handful of popular portable projectors that receive a meaningful number of reviews.
While there's no commonly accepted definition of what "portable" means in relation to business projectors, few reviewers or users consider anything weighing more than 10 pounds to be very portable. Microportable projectors are, as their name indicates, very small and light -- generally less than 2 pounds. These, for a time, were also called pocket projectors. However, that may lead to confusion with the smallest category of portable digital projectors of all, the pico projector. These tiny projectors weigh less than a pound, are self-contained (including the battery power source) and small enough to fit in a pocket. This report covers top choices and other projectors in all three categories.