In recent times, there have been lot of Pico projectors coming up in the market and I did a research before actually zeroing on buying the Beambox Evolution R1 (would henceforth mention as BBER1) out of the lot.
I did buy the product directly from www.beambox.co.uk website and the product arrived 2 days after I put the order through. The product cost me approx £280 GBP including delivery.
There are quite a few competitors in the market of Pico Projectors and most notably Optoma Pico Projector, 3M MPro 110 Pico Projector & Aiptek Pocket Cinema are more prominent alternatives to the BBER1 in the market.
Few things I essentially wanted in my Pico projector when I did the research were,
Ability to run on the battery for a good period
Of course, the ability to run on power
Ability to handle SD / MMC Cards and USB Flash drives
In-built media player that supports various codecs
A good lumens power that would not require a pitch dark room !
Decent looks and control buttons & Preferably a remote control
Unfortunately none of the above mentioned pocket projectors ticked all the boxes that I expected from my projector, but honestly, specification wise BBER1 came closest of them.
ou can view plenty of images of BBER1 on internet yourself and get a feel of how it would look. The iPod type navigation control certainly is good enough and works well when you navigate through the menus.
BBER1, as per specifications should run for approx 90 mins on battery, but during my test it could stretch up to about 65 minutes so well short of the expected outcome there.
The in-built media player have Video, Audio, Pictures & file management options and certainly works well. Supports forward, rewind, pause functions while watching the videos. You have to press the PLAY button for 2-3 seconds to start up the media player and similarly to shut it down once you are done with your watching.
There is no remote control, so that was a negative point in my eyes. A remote control would certainly have helped a lot while watching the movies as I had actually get up and use the controls on the projector manually if I had to take a break from watching the movie.
The Lumens power is about 3 times better than rest of the competition (The three I mentioned above are about 10 lumens, whilst BBER1 claims 30 lumens). In the daylight, its absolutely impossible to watch anything on your wall, but the movies are watchable in 70% dark room. Its obvious that the more you go back from your projection wall, the lighter & darker the picture will be. So if you really want to enjoy the full big screen movies, you better arrange for a dark room yourselves. Anyways, I watched the movies in about 90% dark room and I could stretch the image up to 65 inches before it actually started fading out.
The colours were good but as I said, the longer you keep it from the projection wall the darker the colours would be. The contrast ration is claimed about 200:1 but in real time, I do not think I could have actually measured it that way. Some of the videos looked darker to me overall.
The BBER1 comes with an in-built memory of 1 GB, although the user available memory is about 800 MB and rest of it goes for ROM etc. There is a slot for MicroSD card which could take up to 4GB of memory. So you could actually copy your movies on your MicroSD card and watch it straight away with the in-build media player.
The AV in is the only video input source so unless your Laptop has a TV out and you buy a separate S-Video or VGA to AV Adapter, you are unlikely to connect to your laptop. Unfortunately the laptops I have did not have the TV out capability, so I had to buy a VGA to Component adapter separately, costing about £40.
The output resolution is 640×480 which is good enough to view SD movies. I tried connecting from my Nokia N95 to Pico projector and watch the movies, but in few of them I observed stretched images. Probably this was obvious as the Nokia N95 outputs on QVGA format.
The audio outcome is not great, but OK enough if you do not have any alternative. Certainly loud enough to hear clearly in a silent room and the Headphone jack (3.5 mm) certainly helps if you would want to connect it to your home theatre system for a better sound.
You can also view pictures using the in-built player and it has got a slide show mode which you could use to keep yourself hands free whilst watching the show.
Overall I am satisfied with my purchase, but honestly, it could have been better. Especially, I would have liked to have a remote control for operating it sitting on my sofa. The lumens capability is certainly best amongst the existing lot but there are already products being launched with 100 lumens power so Beambox better watch out.
The price is on a higher side compared to the competition. The feel in hands is good the iPod style control pad works perfectly.
So, if you really want to buy a Pico projector, for style, for fun then I would recommend you take a look at BBER1 here.
Overall I would rate this product at about 7.5 / 10.
The marks have been cut because of remote control, no laptop direct connectivity, limited SD support (only up to 4 GB) and of course the resolution, which should at least have been WVGA.
Hopefully this helps. If you have any comments on my review or want to know more, please contact me by commenting on my blog.