Jun 01 2013

GI’s “Palm Of Your Hand” ipico Projector

Occasionally here we like to take out the latest Gizmos for a test run by ordinary readers from an assortment of a variety of jobs.  Over the last few weeks we had the pleasure of kicking the tires on the Ipico tm handheld projector.   Created by the fine team at General Imaging we first had the pleasure of watching this FLCOS (Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal on Silicon) projector in action at the CES in Las Vegas.  Based on our initial viewing New Gizmo Blog went online to beabigshowoff.com and decided to take an in depth look at the ipico.

We asked three ordinary professionals: a university professor, a retired principal and a computer database programmer (our geek) to take the Ipico tm for a drive and to give us feedback on this device.  In the end they were to provide us with an overall evaluation on the products features, cost, user friendliness and software integration.

Just out of the box the General Imaging the PJ205 ipico Handheld projector

User Friendliness:

Overall our gizmo test drivers rated the User Friendliness of the Ipico tm to be in the very good rating.

“The ipico handheld is so easy-to-use that a technologically illiterate person can effectively use the device”

This device is very light (4.8 ounces) and the size of a cell phone (4.4 x 1.9 x 0.7 inches) which make it ideal for travel.  You can easily store the handheld in a lady’s purse or coat pocket.

At only 0.7 inches the ipico Handheld is the width of my garage door opener

Whether an experienced gadgeteer or newbie, the Ipico tm handheld projector is very easy to use.  The operating instructions for the device out of the box are simply

  • Unpack the Ipico tm
  • Charge the device right out of the box.
  • Connect it to an iPhone or iPod Touch.
  • Slide the left button to focus on a nearby wall.
  • Open the application and use
  • Once connected the user leverages the switch on the side to operate the manual focus.

 

Although the handheld is very easy to operate, what challenge we did encounter was with the instruction manual provided.  Our reviewers found it to be challenging to read the font size of the instructions.

Product Features:

The features on the handheld were very good for home use.  One could easily display images or videos in the comfort of our home.   The most important features of the ipico we found to be is that of stability and battery life.  There were no hardware issues with our evaluation of the product within an hour long presentation.  The battery life and cooling of the product were excellent.

The one challenge we did encounter was within our classroom evaluation was the use of the product in larger rooms.  Our reviewer found it slightly challenging to project images in a larger classroom or presentation size room.

As advertised with the product we were able to also to test the ipico with iPhone (4S, 4) and iPod Touch (4, 3) without a problem.   However our reviewers suggested that the developers should consider a dongle adapter (s) that would make the ipico handheld interface with the iPod mini and iPhone 5.  We were able to connect and display photos and video with the iPad but had screen projector challenges as a result of the overlay of the iPad over the handheld.  This challenge could also be addressed with an adapter.

Cost:

The price of the PJ205 ipico Handheld on Amazon is under $100.  Overall our reviewers rated the Cost of the Ipico tm to be in the good rating.

Part of this rating can be attributed to the thrifty nature of our gizmo test drivers.   However if you look at the price of the Ipico tm in comparison to other handhelds, you probably already know that  from a consumer standpoint General Imaging has priced the handheld just right.

  • Pocket Projector for iPhone® 4 and 4S Devices                   $199.99
  • Pocket Mini Projector for iPhone® 4 Devices                       $229.00
  • ISONIC HD4 Hand Held Projector for iPhone 4 & 4S           $1,199.00

 

Software Integration:

Although a device’s hardware compatibility is important, the evaluation of a device’s software integration is an essential component to any purchasing decision.   Core to our software tests were the operation of the ipico handheld with what we call lunch bucket apps such as twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Safari.  However in order to use these applications a software download of the ipico app from the iTunes app store is required.  The app is easy to find, simple to install and free of charge to use.

A New Gizmo tester projecting a video with the ipico handheld in a lighted room

With the ipico app we were able to successfully operate and display content from our key software list.  Overall we rate the software integration of the handheld to be Good, however we encountered a few challenges that should be noted.

  • Photo App– We were able to display pictures with the photo app with more than adequate response (click to display) resolution.  However the one inconvenience was that photos must be displayed in slideshow mode.
  • YouTube App – Resolution (click to display) response with Youtube running on top of the ipico app was excellent.  Our tests leveraged older and recent YouTube apps.
  • iTunes App – Video’s on iTunes worked well, no issues running iTunes on top of the ipico app.
  • Safari / Firefox / Browser Apps – Users must use the supplied ipico internet browser app.  There is no integration with other browsers.  The challenge with this is if you go to a site that requires flash you are unable to display it with the ipico app.  Our teacher found this to be a challenge with today’s classroom integration with the internet.
  • Facebook App – Facebook worked well, no issues running iTunes on top of the ipico app.
  • Twitter App – We were able to show twitter posts however there were some occasional display issues with the ipico.

 

Displaying a video on the ipico in a dark room – great resolution!!

Bottom Line

Where can you purchase the ipico?   beabigshowoff.com

Top 3 things we liked:

  1. Very easy to use, small, lightweight, portable and easy to travel with.
  2. Much more affordable price wise in comparison to other hand held projectors.
  3. Battery life would work well for presentations or personal use.

Top 3 things we would have liked to see added or changed:

  1. Hardware:  Although it is not advertised to support, we would prefer a dongle for attachment to iPhone.  This would also enable the ipico to be used with the iPad.
  2. Software:  Would prefer if the ipico would mirror what is on the screen in comparison to the dependency on ipico app.  Currently photos have to be displayed in slideshow mode.  Would prefer to display them in regular mode.
  3. User Friendliness: User manual challenging to read.   Also some information in the manual not on the device. No label of buttons on the ipico for on/off, manual focus, lighting

Summary:

The challenges with the handheld should not dissuade our readers from acquiring the ipico handheld.  New Gizmo would recommend purchasing the ipico handheld.  This is a great device for home use, presentations and even in a (small) class room.

Shane Fernandes is a Senior Editor / Blogger with New Gizmo Blog. He studied computer engineering in university, but what really interests him is the telecom industry. After writing for several online gadget reviews for a few years, he ended up working at a former well known Canadian Telecom company.  Shane has a unusual habit of disassembling gadgets. Although he usually gets everything reassembled in adequate working order, with the exception of a few watches.

Permanent link to this article: http://newgizmoblog.com/2013/06/01/gis-palm-of-your-hand-ipico-projector/

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