When we turned on the MP160, we were surprised at the brightness, which is rated at 32 lumens—but once the device starts up past the white-and-red 3M splash screen, the picture became very dim while playing video. Ambient light is no friend of the MP160, but it can project a nice large picture at its 1280 by 768 resolution when conditions are right.
Getting video to play through the projector in the first place is an issue. With no built-in storage and a single VGA to AV port with a pair of differing connection cables included, you’re rather limited to the sources to which you can connect. In order to send media from devices without standard VGA or composite outputs, additional adapters are required.
The built-in speakers did an acceptable job; for such a small unit, the MP160 is fairly loud in operation.
The MP160 suffers the same fate as other pocket projectors: It’s easily jostled. There is a tripod mount on its underside, but the little kickstand at the front of the projector is probably all you’ll need when in an office environment. The kickstand also makes the device usable as a personal projector for travel and other smaller confines, but you need to be aware that misalignment leads to a misshapen display, which requires manual adjustment. Battery wise, our test unit didn’t come fully charged and tended to switch off without warning, but after a full charge it provided a couple of hours use with no problem when connected to a composite output playing sound and video.
Macworld’s buying advice
The 3M Pocket Projector MP160 is definitely an office-centric projector, designed more for presentations from a computer than video playback. It has the portability attributes you want in a pico projector—good battery life and lightweight design—but is a let down in terms of connection options and overall performance.