What small projector will work with Macs?
February 23, 2011 1:38 PM   Subscribe

I just bought an Optoma Pico PK301 to use in our (Mac-based) office and also when we travel. Unfortunately I didn't realize that it won't work like a normal projector - i.e. just letting me project what is on my screen. Can I hack it or should I return it and get a different one?

We need a projector mainly for showing powerpoints, doing small media training presentations (so need to be able to show websites, etc.), and showing photo slideshows. We travel a lot as an organization, which is why I was looking for a pico projector, but I didn't realize that this one won't let me just do normal things, especially because we're a Mac office, and it doesn't seem to play very nicely with Macs. I did get a VGA adaptor and tried hooking it up that way, but still no luck.

I'm happy to just return it and get something else, but I have no idea what else to get. Is there a way to either hack this one to make it work (preferably in a way that doesn't void the warranty) or is there another small projector (doesn't need to be an actual pico - anything fairly portable would be fine) that would work with a Mac laptop to do the things we need it to do? Our budget is about $500 and we're in Ottawa, Canada.
posted by sabotagerabbit to Technology (7 answers total)
 
There's nothing special about the VGA output of a Mac. Either the projector is broken, or something isn't set up correctly on the projector or in the screen settings on your Mac (turn on display mirroring).
posted by zsazsa at 1:50 PM on February 23, 2011


From what I've read online now, though, it seems that this particular projector can't be used to mirror the display - am I misunderstanding?
posted by sabotagerabbit at 1:52 PM on February 23, 2011


According to the manual, it works exactly like a normal projector. I suspect you just need a displayport-to-hdmi or VGA adapter, and then to open your display settings on the Mac and set it to mirroring.
posted by mhoye at 1:53 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sounds like your misunderstanding. It should display whatever comes on the input like any other projector. I had a very similar Optoma Pico PK series projector and it worked exactly like a normal projector. You probably have something setup wrong on your computer, or the projector, or both... or something may be broken.
posted by Diplodocus at 2:27 PM on February 23, 2011


You are definitely misunderstanding something. Make sure you are selecting the correct input on the projector, and that you have your computer set up to duplicate the display. Also, how about calling the place where you bought it? My customers never hesitate to call me.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:34 PM on February 23, 2011


Okay, thanks for indulging my obvious lack of tech savvy! I will play with it some more tomorrow and figure it out.
posted by sabotagerabbit at 2:48 PM on February 23, 2011


It appears that all pocketable projectors have a resolution of 480x320 or at best 640x480. This is unusable for websites. They are also really dim. There are a few projectors that not pocketable, but still quite small, and while brighter, will still be quite dim and have limited resolution.

Most projectors under $500 will be 800x600, which I would also argue is unusable for website viewing. You can find ones that do 1024x768 or 1280x720/800, but those will not be small.

If I were asked this at work, my response would be that you either get large (a shoulder bag on it's own) or you need to spend much closer to $1000. A real suggestion for a projector that travels a great deal; Casio XJ-A140 with a US street price around $800.
posted by fief at 3:15 PM on February 23, 2011


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