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Pocket Projector: Telstar MP50 HDMI Projector Review

I hope you enjoy this gadget review from my friend William. 

Pocket Projector- Telstar MP50 HDMI Projector Review

Pocket Projector: Telstar MP50 HDMI Projector Review

Telstar’s new portable projector is lightweight, nice to look at, and (most importantly) easy to use. It’s only slightly bigger than a stack of Post-It notes (3.9″ x 3.8″ x .89″ to be exact), so it fits quite nicely in a purse, a backpack, or even a forgiving pants pocket.

I wasted no time in putting the projector to use. Since I don’t read manuals, I simply plugged the sucker in and waited for the indicator light to go from red to green. For me, this took about 4 hours, after which I unplugged the device and put it immediately to use.

First Impressions

I looked around on Youtube for some hi-def videos, since the outer box (which I always read) said the projector could handle full 1080p HD images. That box didn’t lie. Images were crisp and clear up to the advertised 60” diagonal maximum screen size, though colors were occasionally oversaturated and finer background details were lost in general and especially when there was a lot of movement on screen. Still, the generally good image quality and portability make the projector a winner for when you decide to have people over or screen a movie outside.

The projector comes equipped with a 2-foot HDMI cable and a pair of micro and mini HDMI adapters for use with computers or other devices without full HDMI ports. This means it’s ready for use with those fancy new ultrabooks and even your cell phone. I decided to get creative and plugged in my DSLR. It was incredibly easy to project an HD video I had taken earlier that day, as well as to project an impromptu slideshow of stills.

Whether it’s a camera or a computer, the MP50 immediately detects and projects it. Startup is pretty quick at about 5 seconds from the flip of the switch to the Telstar logo. After that you’re good to go.

The Meh

While the MP50 is an impressive little projector, there were some things I found particularly disappointing. For starters, it comes with built-in speakers that deliver your audio, even if you’ve hooked it up to a computer with better speakers. Without an override feature, this means you’ll be watching your fancy HD movie with not-so-fancy canned audio from tiny speakers. If that weren’t bad enough, the projector runs pretty loudly, with the fans adding to your movie’s soundtrack.

The 2-foot HDMI cable, maximum 60” diagonal image, and the average 2 hour-ish run-time all conspire with the loud fan to ruin your viewing experience, since you max out the resolution at about 10 feet and can’t make it through a full James Cameron feature. Battery aside, what this means is that you have to sit either really far in front of or really far behind to avoid the fans (but also the sound? Hmmm…) What’s more, the lack of an adjustable stand means you either use a tripod or set the device on a high enough flat surface where you can also set your computer/phone/camera (see why that cable is limiting?). And you’d better hope that surface is flat, otherwise you get odd viewing angles. You also can’t place the projector down low and point it up, since it distorts the image.

The only truly limiting factor here for me was the terrible viewing angles. I have longer HDMI cables and could plug in external speakers (there’s an analog audio jack) to get better sound. It was a shame, though, that the image maxed out at 60”. There go my hopes and dreams of an outdoor cinematic experience.

A few final gripes: the touch-interface for audio. The MP50 comes in a nice, shiny white with touch-sensitive buttons on the top that light up when you touch them. If you’re in a dark room, this comes in handy, but you need to find them first before activating them. Even then, though, it’s hit or miss with the sensitivity. I found it most productive to slide “up” or “down” instead of “pressing.”

Also note that if you have an iPhone or any other smartphone without a mico/mini HDMI connector, you will either be unable to use this projector with your phone or will need to buy additional adapters. Same goes for you Mac users.

Overall: Sigh.

Final Thoughts: Not All Meh

The MP50 is an impressive little projector. Despite maxing out at 60”, the image is still larger than most HDTVs people have at home. If you have a longer HDMI cable on hand, some good external speakers, and the patience to figure out how to best position the device for a straight-on image, you get a lot for your money.

The MP50 is worth it most for students and frequent travelers who like to watch movies on the go. You get an image larger than your computer screen anywhere you like, as long as you’re willing to put up with a loud fan and awkward viewing angles from time to time.

An added bonus: the MP50 comes with a 5V USB connector that can charge your portable devices.

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