Today it seems that projection technology is finding its way into all kinds of devices, including a select few cell phones and digital cameras. But image projection isn’t what these tools are made for, and it shows.
What’s especially nice about a projector such as Samsung’s ultraportable LED SP–H0sc3 is that it can be attached to nearly any multimedia device featuring an output connector, including some digital cameras. That versatility, plus its tiny footprint and image clarity, makes the SP–H03 an especially handy tool for users seeking anytime, anywhere playback of presentations, videos and photos.
Certainly the SP–H03’s biggest advantage is its diminutive size. Measuring 2.8 inches square and just 1.5 inches tall, this palm-size pico projector fits comfortably into a backpack or notebook computer bag without adding much weight (about 6 ounces).
The SP–H03 has 1 gigabyte of internal memory and built-in document and media viewers that allow users to project, without a computer, files created using Microsoft Office tools, as well as Adobe PDF, video, image and audio files. Audio playback is possible through an integrated 1-watt speaker or via speakers hooked up to the output connector.
Samsung says the SP–H03 delivers images ranging from nine to 80 inches in size, with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 854x480 resolution. The company also promises “unparalleled brightness in the pico category,” with a light output of 30 lumens.
The projector produced exceptionally clear, vibrant images in testing, if projected onto the right surface and with the right lighting. I used the device several times in my office and rarely had to dim the lights. When I projected a variety of file types at a distance of about 3 feet onto a whiteboard, the images were crisp. But as I moved the projector farther away and the image size increased, image brightness (but not clarity) diminished.
The projector includes an adapter for a DB15 cable, which would allow it to attach to a computer; a microSD card slot; and composite video cables. It also ships with a nice carrying case and a power cord. Together, the power cord and brick extend nearly 12 feet.
The detachable, rechargeable battery runs for about two hours, which should be adequate for most classroom activities. The built-in speaker provides enough sound to satisfy a small audience.
The SP–H03 has excellent controls and is very durable. Part degradation is unlikely, but security could be a concern. (Given the projector’s size, it’s more likely to be lost or stolen than it is to break.)
The IT staff also will appreciate that the SP–H03 has no filters to clean or bulbs to replace. Students who used it in testing found it to be intuitive and required no training.
The SP–H03’s retail price also is appealing, particularly for businesses on a tight budget. Compared with full-size projectors, which sell for hundreds of dollars more, the SP–H03 is quite a deal.
I found the focus slider to be somewhat touchy. When I was positioned fairly close to the surface upon which I was projecting, the slider was especially sensitive to adjustment.
Another disadvantage, albeit a minor one, is the absence of an HDMI port, which would allow users to connect to some newer DVD and Blu-ray players, and even cell phones.
But overall, the SP–H03 is a very cool product with tons of potential.
John Case is technology coordinator at the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center in Bellefontaine, Ohio.