Sony’s pico projector makes a big, bright picture

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Sony's $350 MP-CL1 Pico Projector is small and easy to use.
Sony's $350 MP-CL1 Pico Projector is small and easy to use.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

You should never take a video projector camping — it completely defeats the object of the great outdoors. Unless you have kids. Then it’s handy to beam a movie onto the side of a tent to keep them quiet while you drink.

Perfect for the job is Sony’s $350 MP-CL1 — a small, battery-powered pico projector. Not much bigger than an iPhone 6+, it beams a surprisingly sharp and bright image that belies it’s small size.

Hook it up to your iPhone via a HDMI cable and adapter, and you’re off to the woods.

Petite and powerful: PicoPro projector puts a movie theater in your pocket

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PicoPro projector. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
PicoPro projector. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
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Like most things that come in small sizes, pico projectors have always been a big disappointment.

Called “pico” because of their portability and battery power, the diminutive projectors in this class have typically been underpowered and underwhelming. Almost by definition, projectors need to be big and bright enough to throw a lot of light at the screen.

So it’s a big surprise that Celluon’s new featherweight pocket-size PicoPro is a heavyweight champ. I was prepared for it to suck — but was surprised and delighted when it turned my living room wall into a 150-inch cinema screen.