Aiptek’s PocketCinema V50 offers a different design style to traditional projectors, looking more like a remote control and external hard drive hybrid than a projector. It has a built-in 128MB hard drive, which takes up space inside the unit, as well as an RGB LED light source and a battery that allows around an hour of continuous use.
With a peak of 50 lumens of brightness, we expected the PocketCinema to handle ambient light conditions better than it did; overall its performance was only acceptable. The integrated media player didn’t do much to impress either, with a confusing menu that divides playback into audio, video, and photos for one storage device at a time. It defaults to the onboard storage, but also caters to SD, SDHC, and MMC cards; USB drives, iOS devices, and Macs can be used with the proper adapter.
We tried connecting an external hard drive and memory card loaded with video, and found the displayed results pleasing, once we finally managed to access the video throug the projector’s confusing menu system. However, using the AV-in port wasn’t as agreeable. It immediately kicks in when connected, preventing access to any other controls though the remote or buttons on top of the projecto. Even adjusting basic settings is off limits when an external device is connected. Fortunately, the focus control can still be used, since it’s a manual wheel on the side. Using an Aiptek adapter we also managed to project video from an iPhone through the AV-in port, but encountered the same control difficulties.
The V50’s speaker is small but provides decent audio and the overall image quality is good but not great.
Macworld’s buying advice
The PocketCinema V50 is a projector you would need to spend some time with before being able to use it comfortably; there are much better alternatives available for when you need to get up and running quickly. You can’t fault the PocketCinema V50 when it comes to portability though, and once set up correctly, it offers decent projection quality and size.