Close up of the WEMAX DICE 1080p Mini Portable Projector 4K
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

What to Look For in a Portable Projector in 2023

When it comes to projectors, full-sized or not, brightness is king. Measured in lumens, a projector’s brightness determines how well the image will be visible in different lighting conditions. For a portable projector, aim for at least 300-500 lumens for indoor use in dimly lit rooms. If you plan to use it outdoors or in well-lit spaces, opt for a model with 1000 lumens or more.

A projector’s resolution refers to the number of pixels it can display, affecting the image quality. A 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) resolution should suffice for presentations or casual movie nights. However, if you want a more immersive viewing experience, consider a portable projector with a 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution or higher.

Mini projectors can have resolutions below 720p, but this shouldn’t be much of an issue if the projected image size versus your viewing distance is reasonable.

In this era of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, your portable projector must play nice with your devices. Ensure that it has various connectivity options, such as HDMI, USB, and even Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for wireless streaming. Some projectors even offer compatibility with streaming devices, making sharing content from your preferred sources easy.

Some portable projectors have built-in batteries, while others can be run from battery banks or other USB sources. When a projector does have a battery, it’ll last about two to three hours, which will last for most movie run time. Unless you’re watching The Irishman or The Lord Of The Rings‘ extended edition, you may want to invest in a portable power station as well.

Usually, we don’t recommend portable projectors for gaming purposes, but if that’s your specific use case, take some time to look up the total latency for any projector you’re looking to buy. However, any projector with a native resolution below 1080p is unlikely to be comfortable for gaming.

Best Portable Projector Overall: Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12

Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12


  • 1080p HDR
  • Laser promises longevity
  • 3LCD engine means no rainbow artifacts and equal color and white brightness
  • Compelling design
  • Great audio


  • No auto keystone correction

The Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 is a smart streaming laser projector that stands out in a crowded market of LED projectors. It’s impressive how much tech Epson could squeeze into this portable model.

Its matte black finish and rounded corners make it an attractive addition to any living space. The built-in Android TV platform to the Mini is a welcome addition, eliminating the need for an external streaming device. Setup is a breeze, and the user interface is snappy and responsive based on what customers say.

The laser projection system is the true star of the show, offering bright and vibrant colors with a respectable contrast ratio. The native 1080p resolution may seem a tad antiquated in the era of 4K, but the image quality is still impressive, especially considering the projector’s size. In any case, 4K portable projectors, especially at reasonable prices, are still a ways off.

However, the Epson isn’t without its faults. The lack of automatic keystone correction can make that setup a bit finicky for those with less-than-perfect manual adjustment skills.

The EpiqVision is on the pricier side of the portable projector spectrum, but thanks to that laser system and 1000-lumen brightness, this can be your projector at home or wherever else you may go.

Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 Smart Streaming Laser Projector

Epson's portable projector is a little pricey, but it has fantastic specs and image quality, making it worth the price.

Best Budget Portable Projector: ViewSonic M1 Mini+

Viewsonic M1 Mini projectors


  • Clever stand design
  • Good portability
  • Robust multimedia playback built-in
  • Built-in battery


  • Projected image only moderate in size
  • 120 lumens only
  • No controls on body itself and the remote can be lost easily
  • 854x480p

The ViewSonic M1 Mini+ is a pint-sized projector that promises to deliver big performance despite its diminutive dimensions. This ultra-portable projector packs a punch for its size, making it an attractive option if you need a versatile and easily transportable display solution.

The M1 Mini+ sports a sleek, minimalist design with a built-in swiveling stand that doubles as a lens cover. This nifty feature keeps the lens protected and allows for easy angle adjustments. It’s one of the smartest design features in a gadget. The projector’s small footprint makes it an ideal companion for impromptu movie nights or business presentations on the go.

Equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, the M1 Mini+ can wirelessly stream and supports screen mirroring, making sharing content from your devices a breeze. While its native 854×480 resolution may not rival high-end projectors, the M1 Mini+ still delivers a surprisingly crisp and vivid image, as long as you’re in a dimly-lit environment where the 120-lumen lamp can shine. In bright environments, the Mini+ just won’t cut it.

The built-in speaker isn’t going to blow anyone’s socks off, and the battery life of 1.5 hours may not be sufficient for longer viewing sessions. The projector also lacks any controls on the device’s body, so if you lose its tiny remote, you will be out of luck.

Despite these drawbacks, the ViewSonic M1 Mini+ is an impressive portable projector that packs a lot of features into a compact package. Just be prepared to invest in a separate speaker system and keep the charger handy for extended use.

ViewSonic M1 Mini+ Ultra Portable LED Projector

This is a tiny projector with a big heart. As long as your expectations are reasonable, this is one of the coolest gadgets you can buy today.

Best Mini Portable Projector: LG PF50KA

LG PF50KA in bag


  • Small and light
  • Built in battery
  • 1080p at up to 100
  • Comes with LG SmartTV WebOS


  • Not the best built-in sound

The LG PF50KA is a compact, full HD LED projector that aims to balance portability and functionality.

The design of the PF50KA is both modern and minimalist, with a clean, white finish that complements any décor. The compact form makes it easy to transport and a suitable companion for movie nights, gaming sessions, or business presentations. The built-in LG SmartTV platform offers access to many streaming services without needing an external device.

Sporting a native 1080p resolution, the LG PF50KA offers crisp, detailed images with impressive color accuracy, thanks to its LED light source. The 600 lumens brightness is sufficient for most dimly-lit environments, although it might struggle in well-lit rooms.

However, there are a few drawbacks to consider. The built-in speakers, while serviceable, may disappoint those seeking a more immersive audio experience. Additionally, the 2.5-hour battery life, while fine for shorter sessions, could be limiting for extended use.

The LG PF50KA is a well-rounded portable projector that offers an appealing mix of performance and portability. Its full HD resolution and Smart TV functionality are standout features, but potential buyers should be prepared to invest in a separate speaker system and manage battery life expectations.

For its mix of specifications, size, and price, we think this is the best mini-class portable projector you can buy.

LG PF50KA Portable Full HD Projector

The LG PF50KA has great performance for its size and price---almost like a shrunken down version of a normal projector.

Best Portable Projector for Movies: Samsung The Freestyle FHD

Samsung The Freestyle Projector on table


  • Ease of setup
  • Impressive image quality for the price
  • Tizen OS with all major streaming apps
  • Impressive auto adjustment
  • Optional Battery Base
  • Usable 360 speaker


  • Some reviews mention occasional autofocus glitches
  • Perhaps a little pricey

Samsung’s The Freestyle FHD projector has an innovative design and impressive features. The compact, lightweight, and cylindrical design allows for easy portability and 180-degree rotation, making it suitable for various surfaces and locations, be it indoors or outdoors. The built-in handle and (optional) battery support add to its convenience.

The projector delivers crisp, vibrant visuals with a Full HD resolution (1920×1080) and HDR10+ content support. Its 550 ANSI lumens brightness is adequate for most indoor settings, while auto-focus and auto-leveling functions ensure a hassle-free setup. At the same time, the built-in speakers provide decent audio quality.

Integration with Samsung’s Smart TV platform and compatibility with popular voice assistants make it a versatile device for streaming apps and controlling your media. However, the projector’s brightness may be insufficient for well-lit rooms with only 550 peak lumens, and its price point could be a sticking point.

Given its design, easy adjustment, and amazing automated setup technology, The Freestyle is perfect for an impromptu movie night. In practice, the auto-focus feature seems a little unreliable, but it gets it right often enough to be considered a boon.

SAMSUNG 30 - 100 The Freestyle FHD HDR Smart Portable Projector

Samsung has a truly innovative portable projector with an awesome auto image setup feature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Portable projectors work by projecting an image onto a surface, such as a wall or screen, using a light source and a lens. They typically use LED or laser technology for their light source, and can be connected to various devices such as laptops, smartphones, and gaming consoles. They tend to be smaller than regular projectors and many can run from battery power.

To connect a DVD player to a portable projector, you can use an HDMI cable or a composite video cable, depending on the inputs available on both the DVD player and the projector. Simply connect the cable to the corresponding ports on both devices, and switch the projector to the correct input source.

To connect a phone to a portable projector, you can use a compatible cable, such as an HDMI cable or a USB-C to HDMI adapter, depending on the type of phone and the inputs available on the projector. You may also be able to connect wirelessly using technologies such as Miracast or AirPlay.

While you can project the image onto any flat surface, using a projector screen can help improve the quality of the picture by providing a more uniform and reflective surface. It can also help reduce the effect of ambient light and provide a more immersive viewing experience. However, using a projector screen is unnecessary, and you can still enjoy your portable projector without one.

The Best Streaming Devices of 2023

Roku Streaming Stick 4K
Roku Streaming Stick 4K
Fire TV Stick Lite
Fire TV Stick Lite
Roku Ultra
Best Roku Streaming Device
Roku Ultra
Fire TV Stick 4K
Fire TV Stick 4K
Chromecast with Google TV (2020)
Best Google TV Device
Chromecast with Google TV (2020)
Best Android TV Device
Apple TV 4K (3rd Gen)
Best Apple TV Device
Apple TV 4K (3rd Gen)
Profile Photo for Sydney Butler Sydney Butler
Sydney Butler has over 20 years of experience as a freelance PC technician and system builder. He's worked for more than a decade in user education and spends his time explaining technology to professional, educational, and mainstream audiences. His interests include VR, PC, Mac, gaming, 3D printing, consumer electronics, the web, and privacy. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Research Psychology with a focus on Cyberpsychology in particular.
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