So you’re looking to buy a projector that you can use with your phone without complicated steps or expensive dongles. As it turns out, most projectors will work with a phone but some are specifically designed to make the process easier.
Connecting a smartphone to a projector is usually a lot more convenient than running an HDMI cable from a laptop or TV to the projector. Not to mention features like casting to the projector from your phone make presentations and sharing media a lot easier for everyone, with the added benefit of no cables. The good news is there are plenty of affordable projectors with good smartphone features, so you don’t need to drop thousands of dollars.
I was having a hard time finding affordable projectors with good smartphone connectivity features, so I decided to do some research, and I found quite a few great choices. In this article, you’ll not only learn about some smartphone-compatible projectors but also how to use the connectivity features.
Let’s get started.
Best Smartphone Projectors:
1 – VANKYO L530W
Bulb Type: LED | Contrast Ratio:10000:1 | Projection range: 33 – 300 inches | Lumens: 7500 | Resolution: 1080P | Screen-mirroring Compatible | 2.4/5Ghz Wifi | Connectivity Options: 2xHDMI, 1xUSB, SD CARD, VGA, AV | Audio: Built-in Speakers, Aux Port
Best Feature: Portable, 5 GHz Wifi with Screen Mirroring Support
To start, I found the Vankyo L530W to be one of the best smartphone projectors on the market as it ticks a lot of the features I’m looking for. There’s a lot of great technology packed into this projector and at a surprisingly affordable price too. The price is in the mid-range category.
The most notable feature, especially for smartphone users, is the Vankyo L530W supports screen-mirroring over 2.4/5G Wifi. With screen mirroring, you can play phone games, share videos and pictures. The screen mirroring features require a separate app that’s specific to this projector.
The default Wifi speed on the projector is 2.4 Ghz but you can change it to 5 GHz if your phone supports 5 GHz Wifi. The 5 GHz Wifi improves the screen mirroring experience, making it more stable and reliable, especially with HD content. You can also play relatively lag-free mobile games over 5G screen mirroring!
Besides the network features, the Vankyo L530W’s projection quality is awesome too. The brightness is rated at 7500 Lumens, and it has a 10,000:1 contrast ratio.
The image is not super-bright but good enough for nighttime viewings and the colours are good. If you’re looking for a projector that supports screen mirroring and 5 GHz Wifi, the L530W is perfect.
Bulb Type: LED | Contrast Ratio:6000:1 | Projection range: 33 – 200 inches | Brightness: 6200 Lux | Resolution: 720P | Screen-mirroring Compatible | 2.4 Wifi | Connectivity Options: 1xHDMI, 2xUSB, VGA, AV | Audio: Built-in Speakers, Aux Port
Best Feature: Extreme Budget Option, Supports Screen Mirroring
Are you looking for a very budget-friendly projector for a small dark room? While the WiMiUS is an extreme budget option, it’s still a good quality product. I recommend this projector for people that don’t need super HD or special features on their projector.
Surprisingly, the projector does include Wifi (standard 2.4 GHz) and it also supports screen mirroring which makes it very easy to connect your mobile devices.
It also has built-in speakers, 1 HDMI port, 2 USB ports, VGA, and audio ports. The downsides are the resolution is only 720P and the brightness and colours aren’t very vivid, but that’s to be expected from a budget projector.
I wouldn’t recommend this as a main living-room projector. However, it’s great for presentations or watching movies in a dark room, connected to an external speaker for better audio quality. You could also use it for playing games from your phone or console in a dark room.
In a nutshell, a very bare-bones projector, but it supports screen mirroring and the projection quality is decent for the price. It’s one of the most budget-friendly projectors that supports screen mirroring from smartphones.
Bulb Type: LED | Contrast Ratio:6000:1 | Projection Size: 250 inches | Brightness: 3300 Lux | Resolution: 720P | Screen-mirroring Compatible | 2.4 Wifi | Connectivity Options: 1xHDMI, 2xUSB, VGA, AV | Audio: Built-in Speakers, 3.5mm
Best Feature: Budget Projector, Quiet Fans
So you don’t want the cheapest projector on the market but you also don’t have the budget for a super high-end one. The BOMAKER Wifi projector is a good middle ground between budget and quality. The build quality is great and it’s compact, durable, and lightweight. I really like the black and compact design.
What makes this model interesting is it was replaced with an upgraded model in 2021, which adds many small improvements over the previous model. One of the improvements is the pixels were changed from triangles to squares, as well as other performance-enhancing features.
Another notable improvement would be in the fans and cooling department. The cooling system has been almost completely reworked to keep the projector cool while also keeping fan noise to a minimum.
As for features, it’s a WiFi projector that supports screen mirroring from mobile devices, no additional apps required. The projection quality is surprisingly good too, although the brightness is a little low, so it’s not suitable for daytime. The resolution is native 720P and the maximum projection size is 250 inches.
Note: The projector does not include Bluetooth but you can buy a separate USB Bluetooth dongle and use it to connect Bluetooth speakers or headphones to the projector. Overall, a really great projector for under $200 that is suitable for casual media-watching activities.
Bulb Type: LED | Contrast Ratio:3,0000,000:1 | Projection Size: 100 inches | Brightness: 1000 Lumens | Resolution: 1080P | Screen-mirroring Compatible | 2.4 & 5G Wifi | Connectivity Options: 1xHDMI, 1xUSB-C, 1xUSB, Micro SD | Internal Storage: 10 GB | Audio: Bluetooth, Built-in Speakers, 3.5mm
Notable Features: USB-C, Built-in OS, Auto-Keystone Correction
Looking to splurge a little? The ViewSonic M2E is a really cool projector. It’s a higher-end model but it includes lots of awesome features. Weighing only 1 Kg, it’s one of the most portable projectors on our list.
There are lots of features to talk about but I’ll focus on the most important ones. First, it has almost every connectivity option that you can think about. It has HDMI, USB, USB-C, Micro SD, Internal Storage, WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.2. USB-C can be used to connect your phones and you can use it to power the projector too.
The most notable feature is the M2E runs a version of Android that allows you to install apps directly on the projector, and it has about 10 GB of free storage. The app centre is called Aptoide TV, not every app is optimized, but Netflix works great. Besides that, it also has screen mirroring services, as well as Bluetooth for wireless headphones or soundbars.
Another great feature is the auto keystone and 4-corner adjustment. You can also adjust both the vertical and horizontal keystone correction, so you can use the projector at an angle with no problem. I really liked how easy it is to set up, everything is plug & play, and the projector will automatically adjust the keystone correction for you.
My opinion of this projector is it’s very futuristic. It’s about the same size and weight as a textbook and it can connect to all your devices and be used for all kinds of activities. I admit I was thoroughly impressed with the M2E portable projector.
Bulb Type: LED | Projection Size: 100 inches | Brightness: 250 Lumens | Resolution: 720P | Screen-mirroring Compatible | 2.4 Wifi, Bluetooth | Connectivity Options: 1xHDMI, 1xUSB, | Audio: Built-in Speakers, 3.5mm | Battery Powered
Notable Features: Extremely Portable, Battery Powered
At first glance, the LG Electronics CineBeam PH30N looks like a regular projector but it’s actually very small, the smallest projector on our list. Due to its size, it doesn’t have any fancy performance features, and the brightness is quite low at only 250 Lumens, but it’s suitable for watching movies in a dark room.
But there are some cool features worth talking about. What I liked the most is the PH30N has a built-in battery that lasts for about 4 hours, more than enough to watch a couple of movies. So you can pop this projector in a handbag and start projecting in seconds, it’s about the same size as a small book.
It also has wireless connectivity options, screen mirroring is supported, and you can also use Bluetooth. The PH30N has a built-in speaker but the quality is not the best, so I suggest connecting an external speaker with the 3.5mm port. I think the best thing about this projector is it’s so portable. You just need to turn it on and connect a device and you’re good to go.
Native vs Supported Resolution:
The native resolution on a projector is the maximum number of pixels it can output at one time. Supported resolution refers to file formats that can be read by the projector but will be downscaled to a resolution the projector can handle.
For example, most projectors that have a native resolution of 480P can support 1080P media, but the 1080P media will be downscaled to 480P. Always make sure to look at the native resolution of a projector and not the supported resolution.
How to Connect a Smartphone to a Projector
Double-check the projector’s connectivity options and see which ones are compatible with your phone. Apple products might not be compatible with some projectors but most Android phones work.
1 – Screen Mirror
The projectors on our list all have screen mirroring features. Most projectors use Miracast for the screen mirroring technology which is supported on almost all modern phones. The easiest way to enable screen mirroring on your phone is to pull down the taskbar and tap on the screen mirroring icon. Next, locate the projector’s WiFi network, and your phone’s screen should appear on the projector. To switch to fullscreen, rotate your phone to landscape mode.
2 – USB-C to HDMI Adapter
If your projector does not support screen mirroring you can still connect your phone but you’ll need a USB-C to HDMI adapter. Plug the HDMI end into the projector’s HDMI port and the USB-C cable into your phone.
3 – Casting Sticks
I usually recommend attaching a casting stick to your projector because it makes casting media from your phone to the projector a lot easier and you can also watch Netflix without copyright blocks. The cheapest casting stick is Roku but Chromecasts and Fire TV work well too.
You might have noticed that some projectors use different projection technologies. The most common type is LED but there’s DLP, LCOS, and LCD.
LED is the most popular technology because it’s more durable (bulb lifespan is much longer) and it requires less power and generates less heat. LED projectors are usually budget-friendly and designed for casual use.
DLP (Digital Light Processing)
DLP projectors are used for commercial purposes, mostly in theatres and other venues. The technology is based on using microscopic mirrors to add more pixels to the image thus improving the visual quality. DLP projectors don’t have a very long lifespan but the projection quality is bright and vivid.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
There are usually two types of LCD projectors; one chip and three chips (3LCD). With one chip, the light is sent through a colour wheel that contains the three primary colours. 3LCD has 3 individual beams for each colour and no colour wheels. 3LCD is known for its brightness and vivid colours.
LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon)
Finally, LCOS is a combination of LCD and DLP technologies. It uses light beams, usually with three colours, as well as tilting DLP mirror technology. These projectors can emit significantly more light at higher resolutions than other projectors. The downside is LCOS projectors are very expensive, heavy, and rare.
Why Can’t I Screen Mirror Netflix to the Projector?
The reason you can’t screen mirror Netflix to a projector is that Netflix content is copyrighted and the app blocks content from being sent to external screens. Screen mirroring is limited to non-copyrighted media such as personal pictures. Connecting an HDMI cable or using the USB wired option should bypass Netflix’s copyright restrictions.