The other day I wrote about one of the Brookstone iOS accessories Elana gave me for my birthday, the iConvert iPad scanner. Today we are going to look at an accessory that lets the iPhone or iPod touch become a home theater. The Brookstone Pocket Projector for iPhone 4 devices is pretty impressive. In fact, when Elana first saw it, she declared it to be “the coolest iPhone gadget ever!”. I don’t know about “THE coolest”, but it is pretty neat; let’s take a look.
Here’s what Brookstone has to say about it:
Easy to use—just dock your iPhone 4 device and project on any surface. Our Pocket Projector for iPhone 4 is perfect for on-the-go travel entertainment. Its super-bright 15-lumen LED projector lamp ensures clearer, more brilliant images than other pico projectors. 640×360 native display resolution projects up to 50″ images. Focus adjustment lets you control image clarity while the integrated 0.5W speaker delivers the audio. Great for keeping kids entertained with their favorite videos on the road!
Rechargeable—powers your device, too! The Pocket Projector’s built-in 2100mAh battery charges via USB connection with the included cord. When fully charged, the projector may also be used as a back-up battery for your iPhone 4 device.
The Pocket Projector looks much like an external sled battery. We’ve seen this approach at various times from companies like Mophie, and it is always a nice design since it makes it easy for the iPhone to slide in or be removed.
In fact, here is a shot showing just how easy it is. I used my iPod touch because it was handy at the time, but the iPhone works just fine and, in fact, is the intended target device for use with this. I was even able to insert my iPhone while a Bodyguardz skin was on the back of the device. It is, however, worth noting that I had a TIME trying to get it out since the added thickness made for a tight fit! Yes, the tolerances are that tight.
Once the iPhone, or in this case the iPod touch, is in place it makes for a nice package. It is thicker than the naked iPhone or touch but it is not all that much wider. Sure, it does add to the weight of the device, but since this is not something you will keep on the iPhone all the time it doesn’t really matter.
Speaking of that, while the Pocket Projector has the added benefit of also serving as a charger for the iPhone it is not something you will want to use unless you are actively watching a video. Why? Because Brookstone’s description includes the following warning, “Please note that the use of this accessory with iPhone may affect wireless performance.” For a company to include that warning means there have been some real issues with the connectivity in their testing. I didn’t see it in my use of the projector, but I have no doubt there are problems with reception. Then again, this isn’t intended primarily as a backup battery.
Here is a side shot of the iPod touch in the Pocket Projector. It is a neat little package!
Controls are kept to a minimum. There is simple focus dial and a volume toggle close by. That’s it. Simple! This adds to the easy of use. That’s a good thing since this is a product that seems to be targeted to a mainstream (and not necessarily tech savvy) audience.
Here’s a shot from the front. The DLP projector looks small, but it actually packs a punch. Seriously, the picture quality was excellent, especially considering this is a small, portable package.
I tried to get some decent shots of the projector in all its glory taking YouTube videos from my touch and throwing them up on the wall. Unfortunately none of the images came out well, and they did this nifty little device a disservice. Trust me, the images it creates are more than satisfactory. No, this isn’t a $1000+ projector that created a cinematic, HD experience but it is more than usable and an absolute blast to you.
There are some downsides however. The biggest is the lack of a tripod mount on the bottom of the Pocket Projector. That means there is no easy way to mount the device while you are watching it. The only options are to find something to place up upon, or to hold it in your hand and do your best not to shake. Neither are convenient options, but that isn’t a deal breaker. The other issue I can see is the fact that, if the next generation iPhone is wider this won’t be usable. Yes, this device doesn’t have any other ways to connect to devices rather than to slip an iPhone or iPod touch into it. That’s a bit limiting and with this being over $200 some might balk. Finally, while the built-in speaker is usable, it certainly isn’t great.
These concerns aside, the Brookstone Pocket Projector for iPhone 4 Devices did impress me in a serious way! If you have the need to quickly and easily share video or images with others this is a cool gadget that you will find more than a bit useful. I did return it however since I just didn’t see myself needing it often enough to justify the price. That’s a statement about my showing a rare moment of gear-maturity not a judgement on the device. You can learn more or order your own here on the Brookstone website.
What I Like: Small; Impressive; REALLY works as promised; A great way to keep an iPhone/touch projector with you all the time; Internal battery will also charge the iOS device so if you carry the pocket projector you also have a back-up battery
What Needs Improvement: No means to mount the projector for stable hands-free use; No way to connect devices other than the iPhone 4S or iPod touch; Speaker is a bit anemic