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BW Businessworld

In Good Form

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Pico projectors, or pocket projectors as they're more commonly referred to, have always walked a fine line, much like any other ultra-miniaturised product. Make them too small, and they typically scrimp on features and picture quality; make them feature rich and they're just too bulky to carry everywhere. Can 3M's latest model, the feature-rich-on-paper MP180 manage to deliver on both counts? Read on to find out!

Form factor wise, the MP180 is indeed large by the usual pack of playing cards standards for this segment, and it's closer in size to a biggish torch, with most of the size taken up by the huge battery. Pocket projector this isn't, though it will still fit very comfortably into a big jacket pocket or just about any small bag. The finish is rubbery, which makes it easy to handle even for the clumsiest of hands.

Thanks to its size, connectivity options abound on this baby, so you get a mini-USB port and a VGA/AV port that can take a variety of connectors via adapter cables. Included in the box are a D-Sub adapter and a composite video/stereo audio adapter, along with a USB cable, and a nice little desktop tripod. The projector even features a slot for adding a microSD card, which allows you to add extra capacity to the already impressive 4GB memory built in. This ability is a big win — being able to store presentations, slide shows and videos is hugely convenient, and it supports playback of PPT, XLS, PDF along with a host of other popular office and movie/music formats. Couple this with the two-hour battery backup, and you really don't have to carry a laptop or any cables to the presentation!

Fancier still is the fact that this projector packs in Bluetooth file transfer capabilities and … wait for this… built in Wi-Fi so that you can access the Internet and access a presentation or streamed content you've stored on your website! Of course, the most obvious extra is the 2.4inch color LCD screen on top of the unit. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it — you could browse the contents of the built-in memory or load up a website before projecting it onto the nearest flat surface? Except that the MP180 is let down by a horribly poor touchscreen experience. We've been spoiled silly by modern capacitive touchscreens, and the MP180's resistive touchscreen requires more than a firm prod to use. While the menus are still navigable, the text entry experience — say for entering a Wi-Fi password or a website address — is abominably poor. Plus, the MP180 often seems a bit anaemic under the hood, and you're left waiting for menus to appear several seconds after you've quit an application.

All the fancy doodads (and the one large bugbear) won't matter if performance is poor, and the MP180 delivers an above average experience. It's bright enough for a 40-inch display in a darkish room, and colors are vibrant and accurate. Contrast is a little disappointing, but that impacts movie viewing more than the office experience. Recommended for the suits who need the capability and the portability.

Rating: 7/10
Price: Rs 29,900

Multitasking Mouse
Most homes are running out of space, and the consumer electronics industry is responding in good measure, what with the surfeit of all-in-one products — multi-function printers, integrated screen-PC combos and the like. Which is why LG's LSM-100 is such a big (actually rather small) deal — it's one part mouse, one part scanner — talk of multitasking! It looks no different than the average mouse, perhaps a tad taller, but completely forgiven given that it's packing in a hand-scanner underneath.
Once you install the bundled software and select the scanning resolution, all you have to do is hold down the Smart Scan button and you're ready to scan documents and photos. It takes some getting used to for best results, but the practice is well worth it. Best, because the device isn't constrained by size like a traditional scanner, users can use it to scan documents larger than what most portable scanners can handle (LG tops its capacity at A3 sized-pages. The scanned image can be saved in JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, XLS, DOC and PDF format and shared to a multitude of social networks. I quite liked its OCR text recognition technology – with this, you can scan and then have the text available for editing/use in a word processor later.
At 3,500, this isn't meant for heavy scanning use, since there's a lot more manual work involved for each scan. A good option for households or businesses with a space crunch and the odd-scanning job to do.
Rating: 7/10
Price: Rs 3,500

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