Portability is the ongoing trend right now, with consumers sometimes preferring a device’s portable qualities over it having the best specs; a common occurrence in the laptop market. So who’s to say that projectors can’t follow this trend? Canon certainly thinks so and has thus come up with the Canon Rayo S1 Mini Projector.
Forget about those large, bulky projectors that hung over your head in class during the days when you were still in school, the Canon Rayo S1 Mini Projector dwarfs those monsters by a considerable margin.
The square-like aesthetic is retained, albeit in a much smaller package, measuring around 10 centimetres on each side. This extends to the thickness of the device as well, with it only coming in at only 2 centimetres thick. All in all, this gets you a working projector that weighs only 235 grams.
To summarise what all these stats mean, it means that the projector is highly portable. You can carry the projector in one hand, with it fitting comfortably in most palm sizes.
Should you want to go hands-free, you can also transport the device fairly easily by simply tucking it in your back pocket, or even your side pockets if they are big enough. You’d think it might be uncomfortable to carry it this way, but it’s actually similar to carrying a power bank due to how light it weighs.
Of course, the device’s portability is not in question, but does this mean it sacrifices in performance?
The device itself has two functions, as a projector and also as an external speaker. You can toggle between the two modes through a switch at the back; left for speaker and right for the projector, leave it in the middle to turn it off. I must add that the switch itself is rather cumbersome, you’ll find yourselves constantly changing modes instead of turning it off.
The projector mode runs on Android and has its own UI and interface to navigate around. There’s a touchpad at the top for you to mouse around the menu that is easy to grasp. The device can connect to a wireless network which you can use on its web browser to watch videos on sites like YouTube. The interface itself isn’t pretty, since its using an old version of Android, but it gets the job done.
You can connect your own personal media to the projector via USB or through a wireless connection. Unfortunately, there isn’t a port for HDMI, so if you want to display from your laptop without Wi-Fi and don’t have a thumb drive on hand, you’re out of luck.
To use the device, you can either leave it flat on a surface or affix it to a tripod by using the tripod mount found on the bottom; making it easy to manually adjust the projector screen to your personal liking.
The idea of having a portable cinema screen is indeed alluring, but reality is often disappointing. Don’t expect the 100-lumen rated projector to be able to achieve the screen sizes that its bigger brothers are capable of. 30 inches is the maximum you can go for screen clarity, anything beyond results in a dim and unclear image, even in dark conditions.
Not to mention, the resolution produced by the projector itself only goes up to 480p. While 480p is workable, especially for a portable projector, the standard for displays right now is a minimum of at least 1080p, so it’s disappointing that the device is unable to achieve that.
Image quality may not be something that stands out, but its sound quality does. Sound is crisp and clear, with no distortion heard even at loud volumes. This extends to its Bluetooth mode. It is especially perfect for watching action movies as the sound delivered gives it an extra dimension. Such a shame that it isn’t accompanied with a good image.
The Canon Rayo S1 Mini Projector can work independently on its own, with no need to be continuously attached to a power source. This is due to having internal 3,800 mAh battery powering it; you can even use it as a power bank.
However, while this might seem like a massive battery, especially in comparison to smartphones like iPhones which have less capacity, for a projector, this isn’t exactly very good. The device only managed to last just shy of 2 hours. That means that unless you’re charging it externally with a power source, movies with runtimes of 2 hours and above are simply a no go.
Overall, the Canon Rayo S1 Mini Projector has many aspects about it that might make it appealing to own. But make no mistake, upon using the device, its painfully clear that this cannot be a device that replaces traditional displays or projectors, especially for the price. In fact, You can find a Samsung 32-inch Smart television for less, you’re better off with that.
Photos by Soloman Soh of the DANAMIC team.