Mini Projectors are Trending on TikTok. Here are the Best Ones to Buy

·7 min read

Mini projectors have been trending on TikTok lately, though not for the reasons you might think. Rather than streaming movies right onto their ceilings or on a screen set up outdoors, some clever folks are using them to project window scenes onto their bedroom walls for a change of scenery. Dubbed the “Fake Window Challenge” (although it’s less of a challenge, and more of a movement), the trend first took off in March when user @nam__p posted a video with the caption “How to use your projector the correct way.” He then projects a gorgeous aquarium shot and calming tropical rain seen through a window beside his bed, transforming his room into a destination of sorts.

For those travel-deprived people who’re desperate to be anywhere other than the home they’ve spent all of quarantine inhabiting, this has become a fun method of escape. Even after we begin to travel again, these handy little projectors can be brought along for impromptu screenings or set up in living rooms and on front lawns to bring friends and family together for a super-sized movie night. Below, you’ll find eight of the highest rated portable projectors that will work beautifully, no matter your plans.

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1. KODAK Luma 350 Portable Smart Projector w/ Luma App

This sleek little projector is just 4.4-inches square and 1 inch thick, making it incredibly easy to slip into a or onto a nightstand or table. It can be connected to your phone, computer or speakers using Bluetooth and WiFi, or with USB or HDMI cables. It is controlled using Kodak’s Luma App and works with both iPhone and Android, although the projector itself runs using Android programs (don’t worry, it will definitely work with your Apple products). Per one reviewer, “Perfect for what I wanted—something user friendly, portable, with a good picture. The projector comes with apps like Netflix, Hulu and Prime pre-downloaded. There are certainly some quirks with the connectivity of the phone remote and different apps, but I really do not mind. My expectations have been exceeded, I love this little gadget!”

$300 at Amazon

2. Apeman HD Portable Mini Projector

This handle-adorned model is the least expensive on our list (as well as one of the best looking), but don’t let the low price tag fool you—the Apeman is still a great device. It can project a 120-inch screen and supports 1080p HD video, but one of our absolute favorite things about it is the fact that it is vertically positioned, meaning you don’t have to worry about trying to get the right angle propping it upward to project on your wall. This is especially awesome if you plan to use yours outdoors where you may not have a table or tree stump available to lift your projector to where it needs to be. “I bought this as a gift for my son and I have to say I'm a little upset I didn't buy myself one lol,” reads one review. “The picture is perfect and it worked great on every surface I tried it on. It comes with a full size remote and it's made of good quality, sturdy material. Picture was bright and you're able to change up the focus as well.”

$50 at Amazon

3. Vankyo Leisure 3W Wireless Mini Projector

The Vankyo Leisure 3W is currently one of the best-selling mini projectors on Amazon, with more than 19,000 reviews. It streams 1080p HD videos with a 178-inch screen and works with both iOS and Android devices, but the real all-star feature is the advanced cooling system which limits the sound of fan whirring to an absolute minimum and makes it less likely you’ll want or need to add an external speaker. Most of the top reviews mention buying the Vankyo for use outdoors, and finding it to be a fantastic option, even in suburbs where street lights prevent backyards from ever getting too dark. Per one California.-based shopper, “I live in a suburb of L.A., and we were in the backyard with our lights out and a street light in the distance. And while it doesn’t compare to a TV, the picture brightness was very good for being outdoors. All in all, if you buy this projector, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.”

Buy it ($100)

4. Dr. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector

If you’re really worried about surrounding light, the Dr. J Professional HI-04 mini is 30 percent brighter than your average projector, making it better for use during the day or in larger cities where turning off surround lights isn’t really an option. You can also opt to include a screen you can set up either indoors or out, and there is a tripod mount on the bottom to make it easier to use no matter where you are. Like most of the models listed here, you can connect the projector to your other devices (both Apple and Anroid) using USB or HDMI cables.

$68 at Amazon

5. Yaber V6 Projector 8500L

For those willing to invest a little more, this top-of-the-line projector is currently on sale down from $530 to just $290, and based on reviews, it absolutely worth the splurge. The image is incredibly sharp and it can connect with your devices using Bluetooth and WiFi so you don’t have to worry about extraneous wires. The main feature touted by Yaber, however, is an innovative 4-Point Keystone Correction Function, which basically allows you to adjust all four corners of the projected image independently for better control over all. Out of more than 1,700 reviews, almost 1,400 give this project the full five stars, so if you’re interested, we say act now before the price goes back up.

$290 at Amazon

6. PVO Mini Projector

We love the adorable look of the two-tone PVO Mini, but more than that we love that it comes with an optional AC adaptor that can increase the brightness and battery length, when the need arises. It can project up to a 150-inch screen and has multiple port options, including a microSD slot, for handy connecting. Reviewers rave about how easy it is to connect with a Roku or Amazon Fire stick, or outside speakers for better sound quality. But again, the main draw (outside of aesthetics and price tag) is the wall adaptor, with many reviewers saying it makes a very impressive difference in image quality.

$70 at Amazon

7. AAXA Technologies P2-A 130-Lumen WVGA LED Smart Pico Projector

This is by far the smallest projector on this list. It’s roughly a 2.8-inch cube and yet packs a ton of high-tech power into such a tiny frame. Like most of the other models here, there are multiple ways to connect it to your other devices—USB port, HDMI cable, Bluetooth, microSD slot—although the battery only lasts about two and a half hours, which is still long enough to watch a movie. And while it runs on an Android operating system, it should work just fine with Apple products, too. As you might expect, reviewers say using external speakers is pretty much a must, but otherwise this handy little device is incredibly impressive given its petite size.

Buy it ($209)

8. Vamvo L4200 Portable Mini Projector

This highly-rated model produces a high-quality image and is easy to pack up and take with you, but we do want to note it doesn’t come with a battery, meaning it has to be plugged in to function. That said, it really hits that sweet spot in terms of quality and price for a home projector. It can project up to 200 inches and is incredibly bright, even when using in rooms or spaces with ambient light (like a suburban backyard). Almost every review mentions how easy the Vamvo is to set up and use, and many talk about how the fan is surprisingly quiet. “The quality of the picture is really nice,” raves one shopper. “The color is projected really well. It's vivid and life-like and unlike other ones I've used in the past you don't get any color bleeding. The brightness is great also. I use it for my children to watch some YouTube videos even during the day and it comes out quite clear.”

$110 at Amazon

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