Weighing more than 400g, the brick-shaped 3M Mobile Projector MP220 is bulky for a pico projector — in fact, it's more than twice as heavy as many competitors. And at around £350 online, it's pricey, too. See also Group test: what's the best projector? 

But the 3M Mobile Projector MP220 also boasts a high native resolution — 1024 by 600 pixels — and it can accept video sources with resolution of up to 1440 by 900. This means you'll be less likely to have to reduce the screen display of a laptop to use it in a business situation.

In fact, you might not need to connect the 3M Mobile Projector MP220 to a laptop at all: This projector's built-in Android software and 1GB of on-board memory (expandable via a MicroSD card slot) allow it to store and render documents and media files all on its own. It’s a self-contained presentation system.

Charging the 3M Mobile Projector MP220's lithium-polymer battery takes several hours; 3M says it will run for 2 hours on a single charge. When you turn it on (using a button on the right edge), the Android-based interface fires up after a few moments; you then navigate using a tiny touchpad flanked by the standard Android hardware buttons (home, menu, and return) and a search button on the top side of the projector.

The company rates the unit's brightness on battery power as 65 lumens, which is pretty much the new (and improved) normal for pico projectors on battery power. Unlike many competitors, however, which tout higher brightness ratings when their projectors are running on a wall outlet, 3M doesn't provide a rating for when the 3M Mobile Projector MP220 is connected to its included AC power adapter.

3M Mobile Projector MP220: tested

In my tests in a well-lit room, the 3M Mobile Projector MP220 cast sharp, bright, 36-inch-diagonal images on a wall from 5 to 6 feet away; 3M says the device can throw images up to 75 inches diagonal, but I wasn't able to test this. Audio from the two 0.75-watt stereo speakers was underwhelming, but that’s typical for this class of projector. The unit has an audio output if you'd like to connect more powerful speakers (or headphones).

The 3M Mobile Projector MP220 can handle VGA, RCA, and Apple devices as video sources via an AV input on its right edge. Unfortunately, you'll need to pay extra for the cables to take advantage of it. In fact, the only cable that comes with the MP220 is a USB cable that connects to its Mini-USB port, and you use it only to transfer files from a computer, not to display them. On top of that, 3M charges extra for accessories that some of its competitors bundle with their products, such as a remote control and a tripod.

The 3M Mobile Projector MP220 supports MPEG-4, H.264, and MOV video; GIF‚ PNG‚ BMP‚ and JPG still-image files; AAC and MP3 audio; and, via the included Documents to Go app, DOC‚ PPT‚ XLS‚ TXT‚ and PDF files. It comes with a couple of other apps, including games, though the small touchpad doesn't invite usage of the MP220 with gaming devices. And given the high-resolution specs, we were surprised to discover that this projector doesn’t support HDMI.

3M Mobile Projector MP220: Specs

  • LCOS projector
  • Stereo speakers
  • 65 ANSI lumens
  • Image Size: 28-190cm
  • Resolution: 1024x600
  • Native Aspect Ratio: Widescreen: LED bulb
  • Bulb life cycle: 20000 hours
  • Built-in 1 GB flash memory
  • Composite video
  • microSD, microSDHC
  • Digital Video Format: MPEG-4, AVI, XviD, 3GPP, MOV, MKV
  • Output Power / Channel: 0.75 Watt
  • 2 x right / left channel speakers
  • USB, composite video/RGB input, audio line-out
  • USB cable
  • 8.1x3.3x15.7cm
  • 412g
  • LCOS projector
  • Stereo speakers
  • 65 ANSI lumens
  • Image Size: 28-190cm
  • Resolution: 1024x600
  • Native Aspect Ratio: Widescreen: LED bulb
  • Bulb life cycle: 20000 hours
  • Built-in 1 GB flash memory
  • Composite video
  • microSD, microSDHC
  • Digital Video Format: MPEG-4, AVI, XviD, 3GPP, MOV, MKV
  • Output Power / Channel: 0.75 Watt
  • 2 x right / left channel speakers
  • USB, composite video/RGB input, audio line-out
  • USB cable
  • 8.1x3.3x15.7cm
  • 412g

OUR VERDICT

The 3M Mobile Projector MP220 looks and feels solid. It clearly targets business users who can expense not just the unit's high price, but also the cost of the accessories that render it more usable. Its unusually high resolution should add to the corporate appeal. But if you don't need the extra high-res support, you might want to look at less-expensive DLP options.

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