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Samsung SP-H03 Review

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Samsung SP-H03 Review

Image courtesy of Samsung

Pico projectors are amazing devices, and it’s easy to get overcome by their “wow” factors. At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t matter how tiny the device is if it doesn’t do the job well. In the case of the Samsung SP-H03 LED pico projector, you’re getting a good deal for $299.

At a Glance

The Good: Tiny, clear picture

The Bad: Battery life a bit short, battery easily loosened

Dimensions

The SP-H03 is a black, squat brick that can easily fit in your pocket. Official dimensions are 2.5 inches wide 1.5 inches by 2.75 inches in diameter, and it weighs about half a pound. Let's just say it one more time: That's downright tiny. When you're used to lugging around 5- or 6-pound projectors, being able to throw one in your pocket is always impressive.

But since Samsung isn't the only pico projector player in the market, how does it hold up? Well, first thing is first -- this is not an HDMI projector, so you should not expect a high-def performance. At $299, what you are paying for is portability, and in that category Samsung delivers.

Ports and Controls

Despite its minuet size, the SP-H03 packs in a number of ports. There is a MicroSD slot, so you can jam in the memory card from your cellphone or Sansa and start projecting immediately -- no cabled needed. There is also a mini USB slot and AV In, PC In and headphone ports. You will, however, require adaptor cables to use most of these, so the projector isn't exactly ready to use "out of the box."

The SP-H03 is controlled by a backlit touch interface on the top of the projector. The controls are fairly intuitive, and the focus adjustor slide on the side of the device is a piece of cake. If you're using a MicroSD card, you can be up and running in a matter of seconds.

The pico projector also carries 1GB of onboard memory, and what this means is that you can actually load up the projector with some media to take with you.

Battery and Speaker

Battery life is rated at two hours by Samsung, and I received one hour, 37 minutes during testing -- so don't expect to watch most full-length movies without bringing along the power cord.

This brings us to the battery. The portable battery attaches to the bottom of the projector, and there were a few times that it abruptly detached from the projector and crashed to the floor. While this didn't affect the performance during testing, it is something to be aware of. It's important to ensure the connectors are properly lined up and the battery is truly locked into place before you movie it around.

There is a 1-watt speaker in the SP-H03, and it does a nice job for impromptu presentations. If you want something better for when watching videos, you can attach external speakers.

So How Does it Look?

Again, you need to remember that this isn't an HDMI projector, such as some of the other projectors reviewed on this site. That said, the picture was impressive. The SP-H03 is rated at 30 lumens, which is a drop in the bucket compared with full-sized projectors. But while pictures could be difficult to discern in sunlit rooms, the quality was much better at night or in a darkened room. Of course, what you're projecting will be a determining factor in the quality. Those grainy videos you shoot with most cell phones aren't meant to be blown up to 3 feet wide.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung SP-H03 would make a great choice for road warriors who require projectors for demos to small groups of people. This is not a presentation-hall projector. Students and teachers may also benefit, although they will require the ability to darken the rooms in which the media is shown.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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