The PocketCinema V20 is a miniature LED projector from AIPTEK. The manufacturer claims that this projector can project a screen of up to 65 inches. Unlike its older sibling, which uses the conventional white LED as the light source, this one uses the newer RGB LED technology.
The projector is bright enough to give you a decent 40–inch projection, but any larger would require a pitch dark room. The projector features a video player, MP3 player and a photo slideshow. It includes 2 GB of built-in memory, which can be further expanded up to 32 GB by using an SD or MMC card. The V20 can accept audio and video signals via a DVD player, media player or a camcorder using the composite AV input, while the VGA interface can connect to a computer or laptop. The VGA interface is not a standard D-sub, but actually quite similar to a mini-HDMI connector. So if the cable is lost or damaged, getting a replacement cable would be next to impossible.
The device is battery-operated using a 3.7 V 1700mAH battery, which lasts barely half an hour. It can also be powered via the bundled power adapter. Movies, photos and music can be transferred to the projector using the mini-USB port, which also charges the unit. File formats supported are JPG, MP3, MPEG4 and AVI, but video files have to be converted before transferring by using the ArcSoft MediaConverter software, which is bundled along with the product. The files take quite long for transcoding and the size of the files increases to almost four times the original size. For example, a 42 MB short film was converted to the required format for the projector and the final output size was 143 MB large. A single 700 MB DivX movie would fill up the built-in memory at 1.7 GB. Transferring the videos to the projector takes ages, with data transfer speeds that barely reach 3.3 MB/s.
The build quality of the PocketCinema V20 is way below average. The shell is rugged, but the overall feel of the product is of a typical “Chinese” product. The case is a black-brown plastic shell with a chrome plated layer around the body. The top face is glossy black and can be scratched very easily while handling and transportation. The top panel features a touch control panel, which is backlit using white LEDs. These consist of the menu, back and a D-Pad arrow keys. The interface is very sluggish and navigating the menu is very cumbersome.
Also featured above the control panel is a 0.5 Watt mono speaker for audio while watching movies or listening to music. But the audio output of this speaker is lower than a regular wristwatch speaker. You would need to connect headphones or an external audio amplifier to get a higher audio output using the AV-input jack which doubles up as an audio out jack. The front has the projection lens, which has a fixed lens, but a small rotary wheel on the side helps with focusing the screen very well. The projection lens does not have any lens cap or door, which makes it prone to dust and fingerprints. The rear features the mini-USB port, while the other side features an on/off switch and the MMC card reader slot. The bottom houses the battery, but the battery fits in very loosely and the retention lid is flimsy. A tripod mounting provision is available on the bottom to fix the projector to the bundled 6-inch mini tripod or any other conventional tripod.
The V20 plays video files, photos and MP3s without any effort, but the projector gets pretty warm within a few minutes of turning it on. As we mentioned earlier, the battery lasts barely half an hour, and so the manufacturer has included power injectors in the VGA cable itself. These are two additional USB connectors that draw power from the laptop or the computer to keep the projector running for the whole show or presentation. The performance was very unsatisfactory. Though the images are sharp and focused, the color reproduction is a mess. As it uses RGB LEDs as its light source, the color banding of the three colors is noticeable. Green, red and black colors have very high saturation, which makes the video look completely unnatural. The contrast ratio gets better with a smaller throw distance, but as the distance increases, the colors and brightness are completely lost.
Another thing we witnessed is the absence of keystone adjustments. This makes it compulsory for the screen to be projected perpendicular to where it is placed. So if you need to project the screen onto a higher wall, the projector would need to be mounted on a really high tripod. The menu interface only has selections for audio, video and photo, apart from few settings for the projector. These include options for keyboard sensitivity, auto-off and a few more basic settings. While you play a movie from the memory card, the menu changes to offer you settings such as brightness, contrast and saturation, which are useless because the maximum change is of around 15 to 20 percent. The bundled remote control, which is the size of half a credit card, was completely useless too as it features the same functions as the control panel and can be operated only from the right side of the projector, which sports the IR receiver. Additionally, when the projector is connected to a VGA interface, the remote refuses to work.
Bundled along with the Aiptek PocketCinema V20 are VGA and composite cables, a power adapter, ArcSoft MediaConverter software, an IR remote control, a miniature tripod, a protective sleeve, and a zipper travel pouch. Considering the overall features, build quality and performance of the projector, the premium price of Rs 29,990 is not justifiable.
The PocketCinema V20 from Aiptek ipriced at Rs. 29,990 and s a very handy gadget for marketing or sales professionals to conduct instant presentations while on the move. The projector is good enough only for text and photos, but if you are investing on this one for projecting movies, we would advise you to look elsewhere as the overall performance and features are underwhelming.
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Published Date: Aug 05, 2010 01:00 pm | Updated Date: Aug 05, 2010 01:00 pm