How to make a portable smartphone projector (or buy one)

Using a projector it is possible to see films with a cinema effect at home, we will only have to equip a white wall, mount a support sheet, create the right dim light and enjoy our favorite TV series and movies with a much more engaging effect than normal televisions. However, high-end projectors are expensive and can hardly be placed at home to replace a good latest generation Smart TV.

If we want to experience the feeling of a projector without buying a high-end one, for replicate the cinema effect at home and also take it on vacation when you go camping or in other situations, you have come across the right guide: here we will show you not only the portable projectors that we can buy but also how to make a portable projector using your smartphone, so you can watch films and videos as if you were in the cinema at any time, even when we are away from home or in the garden (in the end, a white wall or tarpaulin is enough to project the images).

How to use a portable projector with your smartphone

First of all, we must distinguish the types of portable projector available on the market and usable with the smartphone. The first type of projector recreates a sort of “darkroom” in which to insert the smartphone and, through a system of mirrors, projects the image from the screen to the beam of light so that it can be viewed on a wall or a white sheet; the second type looks like a real mini projector (equipped with HDMI or wireless connection with Chromecast), suitable for transmitting the video from the smartphone to the tarpaulin or white wall, without the need to recreate any dark room. Obviously, the choice of one over the other also depends on when we are willing to spend and what quality we want to achieve.

DIY smartphone projector

The cheapest and easiest-to-use models are projectors to assemble, often supplied with a simple cardboard box in which to insert the smartphone. Of course, the video quality isn’t great, but it is more than enough to be able to display a movie or an episode of a TV series on a small wall, even when we are away from home.

On Amazon, you can find portable projectors of cardboard ready-made that should quickly recreate the cinema effect. These work by placing our smartphone inside it (with the screen turned on and facing the objective lens), and directing the beam of light on a wall or a prepared white sheet.

Given the constructive simplicity of this cardboard, we can very well build it ourselves at home, the full Art Attack style! Below we have collected all the components necessary to recreate the portable home projector:

  • Narrow and long cardboard box (shoebox is fine)
  • Hard cardstock
  • Magnifying glass (10X or higher)
  • Cutter
  • Hacksaw
  • Felt tip pen
  • Double-sided tape
  • Hot glue

After getting everything we need, we immediately cut the handle of the magnifying glass, cut one of the narrow edges of the cardboard with the shape of the magnifying glass, fix it with hot glue and proceed to create the support for the smartphone, which must remain in place inside the box. If we have never been great experts in manual skills and the art of do-it-yourself we invite you to watch one of the YouTube videos on how to create a projector at home, so as to have a precise idea of ​​the steps to be taken and what needs to be done to get the right resolution and the right focus to the images.

Buy the Portable Mini Projector for Smartphones

We don’t have time to waste on art attacks or cardboard boxes? Do we want to get at least acceptable quality from the projections? In this case, we will have to bet on pocket projectors The mini projectors, to be connected via cable or wireless to our smartphone and able to function as a traditional projector.

The first model that we recommend you to view is the VANKYO Leisure 430 Floodlight, available on Amazon for less than 80 €.

The projector has a native 1080p Full HD resolution, 1000 Lux brightness and 1000: 1 contrast ratio, HDMI connection, VGA connection, USB connection, microSD support, and electrical support via USB (we can connect it to a power bank, at the same smartphone or PC for power).

A cheaper and perfect portable projector as a gift for children to create the cinema effect at home or on a camping trip is the Vamvo projector, available on Amazon for less than 60 €. It is a truly portable projector, which supports the transmission of video from a smartphone via cable (USB-C to HDMI) or in wifi via Chromecast.

If we are looking for a very compact projector we recommend that you take a look at the projector OTHA D05E, available on Amazon for less than € 200.

On this projector, we find an LED lighting system, dimensions equal to 147.4 x 80.6 x 18.5 mm, the weight of 205 g, the native resolution of 480P, a contrast ratio of 2000: 1, HDMI connection, connection USB, audio interfaces, built-in rechargeable battery and touch controls on the back of the device (volume, playback, touchpad).

Do we want a wireless projector equipped and able to reproduce even without the aid of a smartphone? In this case, we advise you to take a look at the Artlii Play projector, available on Amazon for less than € 300.

This projector boasts a resolution of 1280×720 pixels, the contrast ratio of 3000: 1, LED backlighting, Android 9.0 integrated operating system, Wi-Fi connection, Bluetooth connection, pre-installed apps for watching the most popular streaming services (Disney +, Netflix, etc.), and the ability to install other apps from the Android store.

Conclusions

While we can’t completely replace a good 50 ” Smart TV or a cinema experience, these little projectors can be used by children to watch cartoons in their bedroom or when they are outdoors with friends – just one vertical wall, ceiling, or a simple tarpaulin to start viewing. Obviously you adults do the “art attack” as there are many dangerous objects! If you want an effective and good quality projector immediately, choose one of the proposed models.

If we are looking for real living room projectors, we suggest you read our guides How to use the projector at home. If instead, we wanted to project the PC screen with Windows 10, we recommend you read our article Project Windows 10 on TV with Miracast (wireless connection to screen).

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