There are many projectors on the market for every budget, but if you’re looking for portable projectors that work great with smartphones, then this article is for you. Using a projector to share pictures of a recent trip or vacation with the whole family can be a lot of fun.
You can also use these projectors for business presentations, watching movies, playing video games, and lots of other activities. Or maybe you just want to build a home theatre. Either way, here are some of my favourite portable projectors for smartphones.
When you’re done reading this article, you’ll know what are the best smartphone projectors and the easiest way to connect a phone to a projector.
Let’s dive in.
Best Smartphone Projectors:
1 - Projector APEMAN Mini Videoprojector Portable 4500 Lumens
The APEMAN Mini is a really nice budget-friendly projector that has plenty of connectors for a wide variety of devices. To start, it has a maximum projection size of 180” with 480P native resolution, and a 2000:1 contrast ratio. With a 4,500 LUMENS LED lens, the images are bright and crisp!
You’ll be happy to know the projector has two built-in speakers, so you can watch movies on the go without having to carry any external speakers. Speaking of carrying things, the APEMAN Mini only weighs 1 kg. However, it does not have a built-in battery.
As for the connectors, it has one HDMI, VGA, USB, Micro SD, and even AV. To connect the projector to your phone you would need an HDMI adapter, most likely an HDMI to USB-C adapter. It’s also compatible with casting dongles, such as Miracast and Chromecast.
2 - ELEPHAS Mini Portable Projector
The Elephas Mini Projector is a futuristic, lightweight, projector that can fit in your pocket. It only weighs 0.30 kg, basically like a little box. The Lumen number is unclear, it’s advertised as 3,500 but customers say that’s unlikely. You can also watch 3D movies with it.
The maximum projection size is 100” with a contrast ratio of 1000:1. The native resolution is 480P and it automatically scales to fit the projection size. As you might have guessed, it has a built-in battery and speakers, and the battery can be charged via a power bank.
Another notable feature of the ELEPHAS Mini projector is it has Wi-fi and two apps; YouTube and Koala. This makes streaming it from your phone much easier.
The connectors are standard; 3.5 mm for audio, 1 HDMI port, 1 USB, and one DC5V charging port. Overall, a really cool and ultra-small projector. Don’t expect any crazy brightness!
3 - GooDee 5500 G500 Lumens Portable Mini Projector
Getting back to the normal-size projectors, I really like the GooDee 5500 Lumens projector because not only is it really bright but it also has a higher native resolution than most mini-projectors, at 1280×720.
The projector is compatible with higher resolutions, but it will downsample them to 720P which still looks pretty decent.
It’s got 5,500 LUMENS, a 3000:1 contrast ratio, a maximum projection size of 200”, and it only weighs 1.25 kg. While it doesn’t have a built-in battery or Wi-fi, it does have speakers. It also has the basic connectors; 1 HDMI port, 1 AV, 2 USB, and 1 VGA.
Once again, to connect your phone, you would need an adapter or a casting dongle (I recommend Chromecast). So if you’re looking for a nice mid-range projector, then this one is worth checking out.
4 - ViewSonic M1 Portable LED Projector
Looking for a professional mid-range portable projector? Then the ViewSonic M1 is worth checking out. At first glance, the most interesting thing about this projector is its small builtin stand that supports a variety of angles.
For the technical features, it has a maximum projection size of 100 inches, a native resolution of 480p, built-in speakers, a rechargeable battery, an LED lamp, and 250 Lumens. While not the brightest, it’s pocket-sized and extremely portable, weighing only 0.3 kgs.
The connectors are standard, except for one USB-C port which is nice for Macs, Android phones, and some Apple products. It has the following ports: HDMI, Micro SD Card, USB Type-A, and USB Type-C. It does not have VGA or RCA ports, which most modern devices aren’t compatible with anyways. A great pocket-sized projector!
5 - NEBULA Anker Capsule
If you’re looking for a futuristic mini-projector for your smartphone, then the Nebula Anker Capsule is something to consider.
As a matter of fact, the Capsule is one of the most smartphone-friendly projectors on our list because it has built-in wireless casting (running on Android 7.0) and you can control it directly from your phone by using the Capsule Control app. No need for adapters!
The projection quality is decent too; it uses IntelliBright algorithms to create a crystal clear, 100 ANSI picture, with a maximum projection size of 100 inches. The resolution is the standard 480P at the 16:9 aspect ratio.
The Capsule has an HDMI port, a USB-A port, Bluetooth, and Wi-fi, powered by a micro-USB cable. The can-sized projector also has an internal battery that is rated to last for up to 4 hours of video playback. Highly recommended.
What to Look for When Buying a Smartphone Projector?
When looking to buy a smartphone projector, there are a number of features to consider, such as projection quality, brightness, battery lifetime, and connectivity.
Compatibility with Casting Dongles
As I mentioned earlier, probably the best way to convert your projector into a smart media device is to plug in a casting dongle into one if its free HDMI ports, I recommend the Chromecast Ultra. Bear in mind, some projectors aren’t compatible with Chromecast, even if they do have HDMI.
Separate Software, such as Android.
Another good feature to look for in smartphone projectors is a platform such as Android because you can stream content directly to it over the Wifi network. You can also install apps on the projector. In some situations, certain projectors aren’t allowed to directly stream copyrighted content, such as Netflix or other video streaming services. Make sure to read the fine print.
USB-C or HDMI Ports:
When it comes to connectors, what you want is a projector that has a bright clear image and is compatible with the ports on your devices, usually HDMI for laptops, or USB-C for modern smartphones (and Macs). If your projector only has HDMI ports, then I recommend buying a USB-C to HDMI adapter. The other ports, such as VGA or RCA are a little outdated and not really necessary.
Can You Use Smartphone Projectors During Daytime?
You can use a smartphone projector during daytime in a bright room but since portable projectors don’t have the brightest bulbs, it will be hard to make out the image. For mini-projectors especially, it’s important to keep the viewing area as dark as possible. They’re probably not best for office presentations in well-lit rooms during work hours.
The best smartphone projector is one that’s compatible with Wifi, Chromecast, or your phone’s individual ports. Once you find one, it will change the way that you watch movies or media forever, especially if you have a family with children. These projectors are perfect for family nights. If you’re looking for a more permanent setup, I recommend going with a bulkier but brighter mini projector, it will be well worth it.