Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Aiptek MobileCinema i15: test of a pico-projector for iPhone

Although their use remains limited pico-projectors are currently in vogue. While several manufacturers integrate these tiny projectors directly into their phones, Aiptek has introduced several accessories to add to the iPhone. The Taiwanese manufacturer is not its first pico projector, but it is not known for the quality of its products. What about MobileCinema i15? The response in our test!

A cover-battery-projector

The i15 is MobileCinema the form of a bag; it's probably the place to start. This is primarily a big bag for iPhone 4 and 4S, far from the "second skin" touted by Aiptek: it includes a battery effect. A small switch used to activate the charge mode, to provide a partial charge to the iPhone (80%). This extra battery is filled in three hours using a micro-USB port. 

Nothing prevents you from leaving the i15 MobileCinema the back of your iPhone constantly, but its imposing dimensions do not forget first. Its function is indeed primarily a pico-projector for iPhone projecting an image of a definition of 640x360 pixels using diodes and a circuit DLP. The lifetime of these diodes is estimated at 20,000 hours, and they are supposed to be powerful enough to easily display an image with a diagonal of about 150 centimeters. It is clear that this works in practice in a rather fair: the luminosity is quite modest (15 lumens) and the image will be satisfactory only in complete darkness.

We still wanted nothing more to a product as compact, so it's no surprise, but a known limitation of this technology, such as limited dynamic white and sometimes a little too white. This limitation is even less intrusive than under ideal conditions, we had no trouble enjoying reading a film with a diagonal of 150 cm not, but 400! Despite the dial of the development, then the image lacks a little sharpness, but it could almost be a small home theater. The built-in speaker to MobileCinema i15 is anecdotal, but plugs your iPhone to your sound system, and the illusion is almost perfect.

Apps for a crash in good standing

The implementation of MobileCinema i15 is extremely simple: just hold the switch to start a few seconds, and all applications are compatible with the TV output then will project their image. The list of applications that can exploit this projector is long, starting with the Videos app included, but it is for example impossible to project a web page. Aiptek has designed ShowU / Viewer, applications that, on paper, provide functions extremely interesting.

And more capable of delivering a web page or an image, these applications have the potential to transform the iPhone into overhead projector: all that is "seen" by the photo sensor is transmitted by the projector. One can imagine the potential of such a solution for teachers or lecturers ... if this solution was stable. We never succeeded in launching Viewer, and we never managed to use ShowU: the application requests the entry of the serial number MobileCinema i15, a procedure unnecessarily restrictive, and in our case since no blocking has never recognized our equipment. These applications are certainly an accessory function, but they are sufficiently promising that this problem is duly noted and regretted.

In conclusion

Would that this disappointment, the results of testing MobileCinema i15 would be extremely positive: it must certainly deal with the inherent limitations of pico projectors, but is doing well in this limited context. It can perfectly meet the needs of lecturers, teachers or moviegoers.

Remains at € 199, this is perhaps a bit expensive for a camera image quality in the end only fair. If it meets your needs better, but for now and for the rest of the world, it is just a gimmick. But a gadget which one looks forward to future releases, as and when improvements of this technology.

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