Smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more capable as time goes by. From simple presentations to basic video editing can now be done right at the palm of your hand. As a result, it is no surprise that other technologies have started becoming becoming portable too. This is the basic idea behind Sony’s MP-CL1A Mobile Projector. Having spent some quality time with this projector courtesy of Sony, we have to say it is not for everyone, but if you are the right kind of person, you will not be disappointed.
The MP-CL1A sports a very stealth look. At a simple gaze, it can be mistaken for the average powerbank. Upon close inspection, however, a small rotating lens cover unveils the projector lens. The handle is made up of sturdy, semi-clear Black plastic that does a good job protecting the projector from dust and scratches when carrying in any kind of pocket.
The top of the device is bare with a simple Sony logo towards the bottom-part of the device. Moving along to the back of the device are specifications, warnings, and the bottom-facing integrated speaker of the projector.
Running along one of the sides is where all of the projector’s connections lay. Starting with charging through 5V Micro-USB, the MP-CL1A is able to connect through HDMI, MHL, and in-app (not tested). The projector also has the option to output sound to headphones instead of using the on-board speaker. Volume and power are both controlled through the buttons, as shown below.
Also included with the projector is an accompanying Micro-USB cable for charging as well as a carrying pouch.
In our tests, the MP-CL1A performed as expected. Connecting via HMDI/MHL was as effortless as connecting a cable, without complicatedly having to change between video sources. Powering on/off the projector was also fast, booting up completely in less than 5 seconds and shutting down in about 5-8 seconds.
The one issue we did notice in our review is the difference in color between the media and the projector output. Colors were not 100% accurate, with blues and reds seeming a bit washed out on our tests. The projector, however, did not struggle with resolution as the projected images were clear and consistent all throughout. Another thing to note, is that the on-board speaker is facing downward whenever the projector is on a flat surface. While this is by no means a deal breaker, an upwards facing speaker will definitely help the sound travel better when resting the projector. On the other hand, connecting wired speakers through the headphone jack or via Bluetooth will definitely make this issue a thing of the past.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the MP-CL1A is not designed to replace sub-$500 dedicated projectors, but more as a way of always having a screen with you to give presentations or watch a movie once in a while. Portability is the main idea when buying/planning on buying this projector.
The Sony MP-CL1A is the perfect example of technology that keeps improving to satisfy the ever-growing need for portable gadgets. For a frequent businessman/woman or student that is always on-the-go and needs to be ready at a moment’s notice, the MP-CL1A might seem like a no-brainer. It offers adequate battery life for short to medium sized presentations (preferably that do not involve using the on-board speaker), and does not take much space as it can be easily slipped into a backpack or jacket pocket. If you fit this or a similar description, the Sony MP-CL1A might be the projector for you. Otherwise, its $400 price tag might be a bit too much to spend to the average consumer for the luxury of watching the occasional movie or YouTube video on a big screen from your smartphone or tablet.