Everything You Need To Know About Portable Projectors

Everything You Need To Know About Portable Projectors

A projector is an optical device that displays pictures or videos onto a canvas or any other surface. There is a high-quality lens present inside a projector through which displays the videos and images. However, some of the newer projectors use a completely different displaying technique as they make use of lasers to show the video and images directly.

Some projectors use the VRD (virtual retina display) technology. This technology directly displays the pictures and videos onto a person’s retina instead of a surface or canvas. 

Video projectors are among the most commonly used types of projectors that you can find these days. The early forms of projectors such as overhead projectors and slide projectors were influential in making projectors into a worldwide phenomenon.

Anker Nebula Capsule Mini Projector Review

However, the nineties saw a drastic shift, and digital video projectors started to become famous, and in a matter of few years, they completely overtook the slide and overhead projectors.

Not only were the digital video projectors famous during the 90s, but you can also still find them today almost any place where projectors are popular. Handheld projectors seem to be the latest trend of projectors these days.

These handheld projectors display videos or images with the use of LED or lasers.  You should try to block out ambient light as much as you can if you plan to use these projectors as it can make viewing extremely difficult.

History Of Projectors

Just by seeing the evolution and countless types of projectors, one couldn't help but wonder about their history. Projectors have a deep and storied past; the earliest forms of projectors were straightforward and could only show pictures.

An artist named Johannes de Fontana was the person who created the first ever projector drawing. He was the first person ever to envision a projector.

In the early days when people were not even able to conceive a projector in their wildest dreams, people had different but unique reactions after seeing what projectors were able to do. Some people thought that the projectors were a magical device and that they were for mass hypnosis.

Some people thought that seeing the pictures and videos from a projector was part of a religious experience. It took years for people to fully understand that science had significantly advanced and projectors weren’t magic boxes.

Some projectionists got so carried away with this invention that they tried to protect its secrets at all costs, and did not want the public to know that it was a human-made invention.

The earliest versions of projectors did not use to display images or videos; in fact, lanterns used to be the earliest forms of projectors.

People used to light them up and cast a shadow on plain surfaces such as walls for the amusement of other people. This primitive form of entertainment led pioneers to the endeavor of improving the idea and aim for bigger and better things.

People also referred to lanterns as magical lamps, and a large number of people used these magic lanterns for a wide variety of purposes.

Magic Lantern - the first projector.

Teachers, doctors, magicians, and engineers were among the people who used them regularly back in the day. With their widespread use, they were appropriately named opaque projectors later on. 

Magic lantern.

With the passage of time, people began to replace the lanterns with incandescent light bulbs.

These were considered to be a great teaching device as teacher benefitted greatly from them. These tools made complicated theories easy to understand which led thousands of schools to buy a large number of opaque projectors. Opaque projectors were virtually present everywhere, from schools to hospitals and even in the final few years of the First World War.

Opaque projectors had a long and successful run, but overhead projectors eventually replaced them. Overhead projectors came in extremely handy during the Second World War as they were regularly used to give briefings and presentation to large groups of soldiers.

The overhead projectors reached new heights of popularity during the sixties and the seventies as they became the prime source of sharing information in police departments, offices, hospitals and numerous other places.

The twentieth century saw projectors evolve drastically as multimedia projectors took the place of overhead projectors. There was a computer program for slide-based presentation launched by Microsoft in the 90s. Its developer Dennis Austin originally named it "the presenter," but it came to be known as PowerPoint.

The idea behind MS PowerPoint was simple yet extremely effective. A large number of slides were present in this software which contained a large chunk of information. Absorbing and understanding too much information from a single page is almost impossible. Therefore the program made things significantly easier by dividing information on more than one page.

It was considered to be a revolutionary visual aid, and it still is. The software eliminated whiteboards and physical slide sheets among numerous other things, and the presence of multimedia projectors made sure that thousands of people were able to gather information from a single screen. It not only saved time but saved people a lot of money as well.

The technological advancement in projectors these days seems to be endless. One would think that there would be a limit to these things but week after week we get to see new features and functions on projectors. A device which was once nothing more than a lantern with an oil lamp has turned out to be a more than sophisticated technology.

There are a large number of projectors available in this day and age. Digital projectors, wireless projectors, portable projectors and many more forms of projectors are available in the market. Their popularity has led companies to mass produce them which has also lowered their costs, making them easily accessible to almost everyone.

What Are Portable Projectors?

Projectors have been a mainstay throughout history. However, carrying them around was not as easy as it has now become. Projectors used to be extremely heavy and took too much space.

Because of the ever-increasing popularity projectors had, the need for easily portable projectors arose. Portable projectors are relatively small projectors that you can easily carry without any hassle.

Holding a portable projector in a hand.

These projectors are compact and have all of the functions a standard projector would have. Not only do portable projectors have a small size, but they also are surprisingly strong as well, and can withstand a few collisions and falls without sustaining significant damage.

However, we recommend that you prioritize your portable projector's safety as they are slightly more delicate than other electronic mobile devices.

Evolution Of Projectors And Their Ease Of Portability Throughout The Years

The 1950s saw the introduction of projectors in corporate America. The technology from that time has had dramatic changes.  However, the concept is still the same as it was before.  Let us discuss in brief detail the different kinds of projectors that have come and gone throughout the years.

The Opaque Projectors

As we have previously discussed, these projectors were among the earliest forms of electronic projectors. People entered small objects or printed materials into the opaque projectors. You were not required to change them into another medium to see them through the projector.

The opaque projector used to magnify the images so that people were able to see even the minutest of details present on it. In the beginning, shining lamps were used to display the objects present in the projector, but later on, more mechanical and electronic versions came to life making things significantly more comfortable.

The Slide Projector

Just like the opaque projectors, the time frame in which slide projectors existed was around the 1950s. But unlike them, you had to convert the materials into a thirty-five-millimeter slide.

Even though this was a time consuming and slightly costly endeavor, the projector was able to display virtually anything you wanted. The slide projector was the most versatile form of projectors anyone had seen up to that point in time. The year 2004 saw the slide projectors go out of production.

Close-up of a slide projector.

However, there are still some places in this world where the slide projectors are in high demand.

The Overhead Projector

Even though the overhead projector is an entirely different animal in comparison to all of the previous incarnations of projectors, there are still a few similarities this projector shares with the slide projector. The likeness is that overhead projectors also require information to be transferred to a different medium.

A flexible transparent sheet known as transparency is the medium that overhead projectors use to display the images. Unlike the slide projectors, the conversion is not that difficult, and you could generate any document with the use of a copying machine.

An extremely beneficial feature of the overhead projector was the ability to add texts to images. It was considered to be a revolutionary change back in the day. The overhead projectors are still as popular as ever before.

The Digital Projector Panels

The latter part of the 1980s saw a massive change in overhead projectors as they started to employ digital projection panels.  There were numerous components in the digital projection panels that made the projection clearer than ever before.

The digital protection panel was remarkably similar to a sheet of paper and had the size of a big book. It acted as a computer screen and was effectively able to display interactive videos related to education and presentations among many other things.  The success of these panels allowed the invention of video projection panels as well as digital multimedia panels.

The Computer Projector

The computer projectors came into existence during the early 1990s. People mostly used the computer projectors for business-related tasks and for training their employees. The computer projector was a combination of the digital projection panel and the overhead projector. 

It was smaller and easily portable even though it was considerably bulkier than the projectors we have nowadays.

Computer Projector

The technology in computer projectors was highly advanced, and the image and video quality were second to none. As time went by, the size of these projectors got smaller, and the prices became significantly lower. The later versions of the computer projector even allowed mobile attachments, and it was straightforward to make presentations from remote distances.

The Video Projector

Just like the computer projectors, the video projector also first stepped foot in the early 1990s. They were remarkably larger and heavier than the computer projects and were much more expensive as well. It was challenging to carry these projectors around because of their heavy weight and large size. Not only that but the picture and video quality were surprisingly weak.

However, the video projectors of the 90s pale in comparison to the video projectors we can have at our disposal nowadays. They are easily portable and offer crystal clear quality.

The introduction of top quality video projectors has led to people effectively avoid going to cinemas. Not only can you watch your favorite movies on video projectors, but you can also even watch live television broadcasts with high definition. Video projectors have impressive features and natural functions and setting these projectors up takes little to no time.

Home Theater

As we mentioned earlier, people are starting to prefer watching movies at home rather than going to the cinema. The reason behind this is the availability of home theater projectors. These projectors are an advanced variation of video projectors and are specifically designed to simulate the quality and experience that one would enjoy at a cinema.

The demand for these projectors is growing monumentally on a daily basis. The home theater projectors are easily portable and setting them up is as simple as counting numbers. In case you are not able to set up your home theater system, numerous services can drop by at your place and install it for you at relatively low rates.

Home theater projectors can achieve images and videos at a size higher than hundred inches, effectively eliminating the desire of purchasing expensive LCD or LED screens.

There are high definition home theater projectors also available in numerous places, and some of them even have built-in speakers that have sound quality that you will only be able to find in cinema houses.

The Multimedia Projector

The early versions of the multimedia projectors had the all in one combination of audio, video, and data. It reduced the quality of everything and made for an unsatisfying viewing and listening experience.

The multimedia projectors of today are incredibly efficient as they support data, video, and, audio without compromising on quality. The multimedia projectors do not weigh much and take very little space, making them easily portable.

Pocket Projectors

2005 was the year that saw the introduction of the first ever pocket projector. The pocket projector is small enough to fit into one's palm easily. These projectors are usually battery operated, and they are small enough to hang on walls on the place on top of platforms easily.

Pocket Projector

Modern times demand portability for every device, and that is what the pocket projectors are famous for now.  People often wonder what the tiny size could mean for the picture and video quality. We assure you that you do not need to worry about that at all.

Pocket projectors are a prime example of technology's advancement. The better the technology is, the smaller the size of the device.

How Long Do Projector Bulbs Last?

A common question that majority of people have regarding projectors is “how long would the projector lamp last?” People usually ask this question out of fear of using the projector way too much. Well, every projector lamp has an expected lamp life. Most companies determine the lamp life or operating time in hours rather than days or months.

Usually, fifteen hundred to two thousand hours is the operating time that most projectors have. However, some newer models have a significantly longer operating time. Expectations are that in the coming years, five thousand to six thousand hours will be the new operating time standard for the projector bulbs. 

Most manufacturers attach warranties to their bulbs, and if the lamp stops working before the given time, they'll repair it and in some cases exchange it. The operating time is not set in stone and can exceed the given time as well. It all depends on how much you use the projector and how much effort you put in maintaining it.

Why Use Projectors, And Why Are They Superior To Screens?

If you take a quick look around you will soon be able to figure out that screens are not as prevalent as they previously used to be. Projectors have become the new norm, and people now know that they are considerably more efficient than screens in every conceivable way. Following are few of the many reasons why you should use projectors instead of screens.

Business Meetings And Presentations

Presentations have become an integral part of business meetings, and it would be fair to say that no business meeting is ever complete without a solid display. It is essential that these presentations go well as they can make or break a person's career.

A projector in a business meeting.

To ensure that you avoid any technical malfunctions you should always prefer to play out your presentation on projectors instead of screens. Screens tend to malfunction at random occasions, and no one wants that during their performance.

There can be wiring issues, the electricity could go off, and there might be a problem with the buttons or the screen itself. Countless things could go wrong with screens; hence projectors are the wiser choice.

Home Movie Theater

No one wants to experience the displeasure of going to see a much-awaited movie in the cinema to see people always talking and littering the whole place.

Home movie theaters ensure that you can comfortably watch everything in the privacy of your room without worrying about anybody else. You do not have to worry about setting the television screens up, you have to switch on the projector, and you would be ready to go.


Projectors have become a mainstay in schools, colleges, universities, or any other educational institution for that matter. Studies have shown that students of these days have lower attention spans and reading from projections can significantly aid them in learning quickly and comprehensively.

Keeping screens inside schools is never a good idea as they aren't as easily portable as projectors, and there is always a risk of them falling and breaking into pieces. So why take the chance when you have a remarkably better option available at your disposal.


Gaming has been present front and center in recent years, and there are a plethora of gaming consoles available in the market.

A gaming projector.

Gaming on projectors is easily the better option for any gamer, especially if they are playing multiplayer games as the display is notably better than any screen. The projector’s tendency to run without hanging or lagging is also another reason why gaming should be preferably done using projectors.


We have discussed in great detail about the history and evolution of projectors while also mentioning the portability that all of the projectors have to offer.

We have also considered the different types of portable projectors, their functions, and features among many other things. You can also read about the durability of projector bulbs and the superiority of projectors over large screens.

It was a comprehensive blueprint for anyone looking to gain knowledge about portable projectors. We have provided you with the ultimate buying guide that will make sure that you can get hold of a projector that would best suit your needs.

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