Wanna know what every college kid will want for Christmas? Not a new laptop, not a tablet, not a new smartphone. They're going to want this first-of-a-kind gadget, 3M's handheld battery-powered DLP projector that streams content from Roku. When's the last time a projector was exciting?
Hell, I want one!
About the size of a Star Trek tricoder — the fanny pack version from Next Gen, not the bulkier TOS model — and weighing about a pound, the 3M Streaming Projector ($299.99) can project a bright, crisp WVGA (800 x 480) pixel image up to 120 inches. No one is going to mistake the image for a Runco or Barco projector, but it shines an impressive image for such a small box and smaller LED lamp, inside or out, around 60 lumens for those keeping spec score at home.
You can even stand it on end and project on the ceiling, great for watching a movie in bed. On the bottom is a standard tripod mount screw.
On the far side of the projector is Roku's new media streamer-on-a-stick; it jacks in via an MHL (Mobile High-definition Link)-compatible HDMI jack. Connect the Roku to the neighborhood Wi-Fi in exactly the same way you would any Roku box - the interface is exactly the same.
You can remove the Roku stick and plug it into an MHL-compatible HDTV, and you can then jack in some other HDMI device into the projector, such as Blu-ray player or videogame console.
The projector has built-in speakers that can be easily heard in a small room with a handful of viewers (say, a dorm room), or you can plug an external speaker into the projector's headphone jack.
Powering the projector is a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that'll run for two and three-quarter hours (2:45), long enough for nearly every movie except epics like Gone with the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia or Titanic, or you can connect it to AC for continual playback.
Included is a credit card remote, but you can buy a larger Roku Game Remote, the one compatible with the Roku 2 devices (Roku says it'll cost $19.99, but Amazon is selling it for twice that), which has its own Wi-Fi, accelerometer and gyroscope to use as a gesture controller from gaming.
You can pre-order the projector exclusively on Amazon and get a $20 Amazon Instant Video credit until the device actually becomes available on October 22.
All photos taken by Stewart Wolpin for DVICE.