Last year I reviewed a projector that ended up providing significant entertainment value for my family, but in general, I find projectors to be a sort of “one trick pony:” they require very specific lighting conditions (in most cases), as well as a particular type and quality of surface for projecting in a way that provides sharp images. And, there are usually logistical and connectivity requirements that are more annoying than anything else…where do you run the wires, where do you mount the projector, keystone adjustments, etc etc.
All that said, mobile projectors are nothing new to me. I’ve always loved the idea of a pocket-sized projector that you can take from business meeting to business meeting, provided you actually need that sort of presentation capability…for most, a 2-in-1 laptop is enough to share information over a more informal meeting. And, for many in the business space, presentations are planned activities that normally have known environments associated with them…not the sort of “ad hoc” situations that a mobile projector might call for.
The SYNCQ M189 seems to be a balance of two projector extremes, between the media-centered home projector and the ultra-mobile pocket projector. It is a fully mobile solution, with an onboard 3 hour battery and built in speaker, but also puts out a fair amount of brightness (200 nits); the speaker is nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done for small settings. The projector puts out a maximum image of 80 inches on the diagonal at a max resolution of 720p, which is great for such a small device that has its own power source.
The device is entirely matte black, which shows a fair amount of fingerprints. It has a single focus wheel on one side for manual focus, a kickstand on the bottom for elevated viewing, and sports an auto-keystone function which does a decent job automatically adjusting the projected image based upon the angle of the projector and the distance to the projected screen. This auto-keystone function is by no means perfect and may be “good enough” for some, however, for more particular users I think they should offer an app or advanced settings to manually adjust the keystone (among other settings) as well.
Also nice is the connection area, which has space for your favorite streaming stick, as well as a USB port for powering that device. This area of the device can be fully enclosed with a
And, provided you have network connectivity and the appropriate controlling device, you can take your media experience virtually anywhere.
For business users, a Chromecast and a laptop with a Chrome Browser (or, if you want to pay a premium, a Pixelbook Go from Google) gets you full functionality with that Chromecast and the projector. For personal use, connecting everything and pointing this at the ceiling is a great way to watch movies in bed (provided you don’t have a textured ceiling). The fan doesn’t get too loud to get in the way of the media, but if it does, there is an audio jack if you want to connect headphones or an external speaker for a better experience.
At the end of the day, this is a very niche product and for many would be more of a luxury than a necessity, and at $350 it’s not a cheap piece of technology to add to your collection. Still, the quality of the product and packaging is such that it is a solid purchase provided it meets that very specific use case for you. In terms of performance, aside from only putting out 200 nits and still requiring some basic control on lighting conditions, there’s plenty being done well here by a company that I hadn’t previously heard of.