3M MP180 Pocket Projector

The 3M MP180 has a touchscreen, apps and built-in WiFi - surely it's the perfect pocket projector? Unfortunately, Jim Martin discovers that it's far from perfect in our review.

Next to the USB port is a proprietary A/V port. Two cables are included - one with VGA and a 3.5mm audio jack, and another with composite video and stereo phono audio connectors. 3M has chosen a sensible resolution for the MP180 - 800x600 is a standard Windows setting so it's easy to connect your laptop and project an undistorted image.

The 3M MP180 is considerably larger and heavier than most pocket projectors.

The MP180 is considerably larger and heavier than most pocket projectors.

Most people, though, are far more likely to use the built-in media player than connect an external device. As well as being able to play music, photos and videos, there are viewers for Microsoft Office files and PDFs. We had no trouble viewing PowerPoint presentations, even in the latest PPTX format, but video support is limited to MP4/H.264.

The 30-lumen brightness is enough for a moderately large image in a darkened room. We found it best to stick to around 40in or less, but that's still far bigger than any laptop screen. At this size, colours are fairly vibrant and accurate, but contrast at any screen size is disappointing.

The main problems, though, are typical of pico projectors. It was impossible to achieve sharp focus across the entire screen, while a vignette effect made the corners noticeably darker than the centre. Yet another issue was that colours weren't even across the screen. The white background of our test presentation had prominent yellow areas in addition to the darker corners.