How to Choose a Projector for Business Travel

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People who give presentations on business trips will often benefit most from using full-sized projectors. However, their large size, weight, and consumptive power needs don't make them the best travel companions. In this article, we take a look at some of the available options for traveling professionals, illuminate some unexpected pitfalls, and offer advice that may not have otherwise occurred to you.    

Small projectors are for small groups, in small rooms

When you need to give presentations on the fly, sometimes an ultra-compact "Pico Projector" can fill this need and help to illustrate a point, a sales pitch, or a concept. A larger projector will provide a brighter, more vivid image, but the main advantage of a Pico Projector is its small size. You can pretty much slip it into a pocket, take it on the go, and set it up at a moment’s notice.

Pico projectors are all about the convenience of portability—and when you need to give a pop-up presentation for a small group of people, they can be invaluable. The B&H SuperStore features a wide selection of Pico Projectors on display. If you experience any doubts or confusion regarding this class of projectors, we recommend you investigate the AAXA Technologies KP-101-01, Optoma PK-320, or the Vivitek Qumi Q5 to give you an idea of what's available. While they offer a range of features, most are limited to a single HDMI input, and do not include speakers. They're small and easy to pack into a bag or backpack, but they will fall short if you need to present to a large group.

The next step up: "Portable Projectors"

For traveling business people who regularly give presentations to more than just a few people, Pico Projectors usually won’t cut it—a larger Portable Projector is required. The size and weight of a Portable Projector will be more substantial than a Pico. However, the image quality will be of higher value, and it will provide more power for projecting a larger image.

A couple of recommendations in this category are the Optoma ML550 and Vivitek Qumi Q7. These projectors provide a higher lumen count for a brighter image. While they're slightly larger and heavier than Picos, they will provide higher-quality imaging, and are better suited for use in larger presentations.

Do not automatically skip: extended warranties are worth a thought

When researching projectors for business travel, we strongly recommend that you consider the SquareTrade Protection Plan that is offered by B&H. This is a boon for anyone using their Pico or Portable Projector on the road, because this warranty covers the device beyond the manufacturer’s warranty. In addition to manufacturer defects, the additional warranty covers accidental drops and spills, even when you're out on a business trip.

"Decide whether portability or image quality ranks higher on your list when deciding between a Pico or Portable model."

Be wary if you purchase an extended warranty elsewhere, as they often only cover stationary projectors used in installations. Our SquareTrade offering provides excellent value for the traveling professional, as their use demands a more unique coverage plan than standard warranty coverage. The worldwide service is easy to use, as well. After you file a claim, SquareTrade sends a shipping box and free express postage to and from their service depot. If they can’t repair it, they refund the purchase price of your projector. Plans are available for a coverage period of either two or three years.

A few things to consider when choosing a Pico or Portable Projector

  • Determine your ideal display size
  • Pay attention to brightness (lumen output), because Pico Projectors are notoriously not that bright
  • Resolution: Pico Projectors tend to support up to 720p HD, larger projectors often support up to 1080p HD
  • I/O connections: Pico Projectors tend to have a single HDMI port, whereas larger Portable Projectors have more choices for connectivity
  • To project content from a Lightning-port equipped iPhone or iPad, you will need an Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter

If you use a laptop, USB flash drive, or tablet to create spreadsheets or slideshows and you want to show them off using a projector, be sure to select the right model for your needs. Decide whether portability or image quality ranks higher on your list when deciding between a Pico or Portable model.