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Final Thoughts: Pico's Prime?

One of the neat features of the Joybee is the ability to play content directly from a USB flash drive without the assistance of a computer. BenQ bundles a 2 GB flash drive for this very purpose, but you are free to use any flash drive or even a 2.5” hard disk drive.

The USB reader supports a variety of photo and video formats. Supported photo formats include .jpeg, .bmp, .gif and .tiff. Supported video formats are .dat / .mpg, .vob, .avi, .mp4 / .mov / .3gp / .3g2. As mentioned earlier, BenQ will provide software with the retail version of the projector to convert any video file to an acceptable format for the USB reader.

Other notable features include auto keystone, wall color correction, five picture modes, auto search, resolution reminder and high altitude mode. BenQ also offers an optional iPod / iPhone universal dock for the GP1 which would have been fun to play with, although I was unable to locate any further information on it or find it for sale anywhere.

Aside from connecting a computer or USB drive, you can also connect other video devices such as a DVD player, digital camera or camcorder and project images directly from these devices.

Despite the fact that the GP1 uses LEDs, it still puts out a decent amount of heat. An internal thermally-controlled cooling fan helps to keep temperatures within reason. Under normal use, the fan is not very loud and wouldn’t be audible over any audio playing from a video. The fan does spin up to noticeably loud speeds when left on for several hours or when operating in a warm environment, however.

BenQ included a carrying bag for the projector, but wonder why no such carrying pouch or pocket was included for the power adapter (which is about half as big as the projector itself). After all, the unit doesn’t have an internal battery so the power adapter is necessary.

This also brings the point of portability, where the GP1 offers added flexibility compared to standard-sized projectors, yet doesn't go all the way like other competing products that have built-in batteries (which last no more than an hour or so, however).

This is the first mini projector that I have looked at and I came away impressed. For about $500, you get a projector that is more than capable for mostly any application. Business presentations and the occasional movie night are all within the scope of the GP1. Those looking for a more permanent projector for video viewing purposes should look elsewhere and prepare to spend a bit more for a unit that is brighter and offers more flexibility in terms of inputs.

Pros: Small and portable. Tripod mount. USB reader. Good image quality. 2 GB flash drive included. Remote control. Cons: Slight focus issues. Cooling fan can get noisy. No battery option.