Advice on a semi-portable (sub-6lb) projector under $700 for road trips. - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-03-2018, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Question Advice on a semi-portable (sub-6lb) projector under $700 for road trips.

I posted a couple months back looking for advice on potential options to replace my little ML550 as my road trip projector, but after a lot of consideration, decided it may not be worth it to drop into the realm of palm or pocket sized projectors for now given the current available options. Though its not often difficult for me to get a fairly dark room/rooftop, I'm usually projecting onto less than ideal, makeshift screens, so the main thing I'm looking to improve is the overall brightness (not difficult coming from an Optoma ML550.) Honestly, half the time, because of the I/O and the fact that I can use one of the handful of regular three prong power cables I'm regularly traveling with, rather than hunting for the ML550s power brick, I prefer to just throw my old Optoma HD66 ( 11.28" x 3.98" x 7.6" / 5.1 pounds for reference) into the car, and bring it, a long 3.5mm cable, and a decent bluetooth speaker with me in a backpack when getting together with a few friends.

-1080p would be nice but isn't necessary
-Short throw is a must
-Size constraints are very flexible as long is its easily tossed in a backpack
-HDMI in, 3.5mm out are a must, which I almost felt I wouldn't have to mention but then...the Epson 1060 happened
-My budget is $600-700 but I'd probably rather spend less if I could do so by dropping to something closer to 720p res, with fewer "features"

Really just something thats travel friendly for someone who travels in a hatchback typically loaded up with excessive equipment. The ML550's size was nice I guess, but honestly not doing me many favors with the way I travel, so the thought of upgrading to the "impressive for its size" Optoma ML1050ST+ for $650 (which I nearly did yesterday,) seems kind of like a waste; I'm not especially familiar with this low to mid price range for full sized projectors, nor have I ever had a short throw projector so I'm just a bit lost with the options. Any input would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-04-2018, 05:24 AM
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I reviewed the BenQ TH671ST this year and it checks all of your boxes. It’s short throw, extremely compact for a full featured lamp-based projector, weighs 5.95 lbs and is in your target price range. In addition, it has really excellent image quality, it’s bright, and it has a surprisingly decent built speaker.

See my review here: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/68-di...topics/2944696

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post #3 of 6 Old 12-04-2018, 09:38 AM
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If minimum throw distance is a high priority the smallest bright projector with the shortest throw is the Optoma GT1080Darbee. Whereas the BenQ TH671ST needs a minimum of 5' to throw a 100" image the GT1080Darbee can do it from 3' 7". These two short throw models are within an inch of each other in size and at 5.5 pounds the GT1080Darbee weighs about a half pound less, probably because it lacks a zoom lens. With a fixed lens image size is changed by moving the projector closer to or further from the screen or wall. Both have audio out and current street prices are identical, so either of these two models could work.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-13-2019, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
If minimum throw distance is a high priority the smallest bright projector with the shortest throw is the Optoma GT1080Darbee. Whereas the BenQ TH671ST needs a minimum of 5' to throw a 100" image the GT1080Darbee can do it from 3' 7". These two short throw models are within an inch of each other in size and at 5.5 pounds the GT1080Darbee weighs about a half pound less, probably because it lacks a zoom lens. With a fixed lens image size is changed by moving the projector closer to or further from the screen or wall. Both have audio out and current street prices are identical, so either of these two models could work.
I appreciate all the suggestions but did in fact finally go with the GT1080Darbee and have to say I couldn't be happier. Considering I'm usually traveling by car the size is just fine, but even tossing it in a backpack or one of my larger messenger bags in the case it comes in, along with my small bluetooth transmitter and speaker for audio, is easy enough. Even in a well lit room, on a semi-gloss painted wall, at 100" the image is clear and bright.

At some point in the semi-distant future, it'd be nice to have this kind of quality from something with a lower power draw so that I could run it for a decent length of time using one of my larger 180+wHr power banks (dare I hope for something powered over USB-PD even!?) but I'm pretty sure getting this quality, brightness, throw ratio, etc., from something like that is a wayyyss off at anywhere near the $600 price point I paid/any price really.

Thanks again!
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-13-2019, 06:23 PM
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@infiniteengine , good to hear it's working for you. You have to be realistic about how many watts it takes to produce lumens even with LED lamps. For example, LG's PF1500 LED projector produces less than half as many lumens as your GT1080Darbee while drawing 90W. To produce the same lumens as the GT1080 an LED projector would be drawing well over 100W. So you can do the math on how long your power banks could run a bright LED projector like that and whether you would consider that a decent length of time. You're certainly right that it will take a long time before an LED projector that bright can be bought for $600.
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-14-2019, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, definitely, I only added "semi" to "distant future" since there are breakthroughs once in a while, but even so the demand for what I'm after seems pretty low, especially with a lot of companies focusing on ultra-short throw laser projectors. Its taken a pretty long while for LED projectors to even creep up to the 1300-1500 lumen range from my first Optoma ML500 (I was mainly looking at the LH130 when still considering going with something MORE portable.) I'm definitely not expecting anything portable that can compete with the GT1080 this decade.

My largest li-on pack is about 300whr, so with most of the LED projectors on the market drawing 75-100W getting through a movie is more than doable not so much with the GT1080s 260W/215W eco draw. Until we have a 2000+ Lumen LED projector that I can slip in my MESSENGER bag rather than a backpack, I'll stick to just running a really long extension cord!
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