21 April 2016

REVIEW: Paladone Smartphone Projector

Lights, phone, action...

As awesome as smartphones are, even the device with the largest screen can sometimes be a bit too small for task. If you want to show a whole bunch of people something on your phone, or if you want to kick back and watch a film or TV show you have saved on there, you need to make that small screen as big as possible. You need the Paladone Smartphone Projector.

Smartphone Projectors have been around for a few years now, and their principles are simple; pop in your phone while playing a video and the projector's mirrors and lens will amplify the image, casting it onto a white wall while in the dark. There is no power supply needed to juice it up, nor do you need to use Bluetooth or WiFi in anyway – it is simply the bright screen of your phone being projected.

To be honest, we've never bothered with 'em. That is until our mates at Paladone asked us to try one out, one that they themselves have create as a reaction to all the others out there on the market. Paladone were so sure that their new model would out perform the competition that they even sent us another different version to test it next to.

Paladone's efforts are noteworthy right up front, as their model is made from solid plastic. Most other projectors that we've seen (including the other one sent to us) are made from cardboard, requiring you to first build it. This means that wear and tear can show pretty quickly, so the fact that the Paladone version is made from tough plastic (and it is tough and rugged) is a good sign straight off the mark.

To use, you simply select a video on your phone and knock the screen's brightness up to max. Then you lift the rear panel on the projector (which holds the mirror) drop your phone in, and close it up. Immediately an image will appear on the projection surface, most probably blurry. The first time we used it we found it took a good deal of fiddling, both with the lens and the distance from the wall, to make the picture appear perfectly. Also, we found that the room in which you do all this needs to be pretty dark and, ideally, be at night.

Once balanced right, and in a dark enough room, the resulting projection was really impressive. The lens is capable of increasing the image to match the size of a 40 inch TV screen. We projected directly onto a white painted wall and the effect was great, but we used a phone with a pixel dense screen -if your phone's screen is of a low resolution, it might not look too great.

Meanwhile, when testing the 'other' projector, first we had to build the damn thing:

Didn't go well. Anyway, once together the cardboard version just could not compete with Paladone's, as not only was it a bit of a faff to get you phone in there and lined up correctly, you need to prop it up on something to get the right elevation to hit the wall. Although we assumed that the cardboard version would be better for taking with you while travelling, it actually doesn't flat-pack up very well, and if you bend those cardboard sides, the picture will come out askew once projecting. Meanwhile the Paladone Smartphone Projector can survive just about anything while-bouncing about at the bottom of your bag.

Look, there are even little ports for a power cable and let more sound out.

So although you might have heard of this kind of accessory before, we're guessing you've never tried one that works as well as this from Paladone.

£19.99 (released 20th June 2016 and available from Amazon & Maplins).

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