Small, cute, and extremely portable, the Kodak Luma 150 ($249.99) is a small, rectangular pocket projector, less than an inch tall and 3.9 inches on a side. Attractively housed in a white frame with gold trim, the Luma 150 can project photos and videos stored on a microSD memory card or USB thumb drive, or mirror a computer, phone, or tablet’s screen over a wireless or HDMI connection. Image quality is decent, though the projector’s low brightness limits useful image size, particularly in the presence of ambient light.
Pocket or Palmtop Projector?
The middle model of three tiny projectors in Kodak’s Luma line, the Luma 150 stands between the 75-lumen Luma 75 ($199) and the 350-lumen Luma 350 ($349). It’s either a large pico—meaning it’s (barely) pocketable—or small palmtop projector. Either way, it’s a DLP-based LED projector with a rated brightness of 150 lumens and a native resolution of 854 by 480 pixels, both typical for moderately priced micro projectors.
Looking at the projector from the front, the lens is offset near the right side. The area around the lens is angled slightly upward. The Luma 150 rests on four tiny feet, each about an eighth of an inch tall, and at the center of the bottom is a threaded hole for a tripod (not included). I noticed, however, that when setting the projector on a table, resting only on its feet, it could still throw a complete image onto a screen with none of the lower part being cut off. A mini tripod would have been useful, though, to raise it above any small obstructions.
The right side of the projector, as viewed from the front, has a small, metal focus wheel, positioned just back from the edge. I found it tricky to achieve a good focus using the wheel, but the Luma 150 lacks any automatic focus. Also on the right side, near the back, is the on-off button.
On the left side is a microSD card slot. I would have preferred regular SD, but the smaller slot works well on such a miniaturized projector. In back, along with a reset button that can be activated with a bent paper clip, are four ports. The first is DC-in, which when connected to the included wall adapter via a USB cable powers the projector and charges its battery—I can confirm Kodak’s estimate that the battery lasts for about two hours between charges. The other ports are a full-size HDMI input, a USB Type-A port for displaying content from a thumb drive, and an audio-out port for use with a powered external speaker or headphones.
On top of the projector is a small, silver-colored ring, which when the projector is turned on marks the center button of a four-way controller. When you tap the circle, it becomes LED-illuminated, as do otherwise invisible icons at each of the four points of the controller: return, forward arrow, back arrow, and volume.
By default, the projector shows four labeled icons when you turn it on: Wireless, Movies, Images, and HDMI. From Wireless, you can share the screen from your compatible Windows 10, iOS, or Android device. For this purpose, the projector acts as its own Wi-Fi hotspot and should appear on your list of available networks. Once you’re connected, you can activate your device’s screen mirroring software, which should identify the projector as a compatible device. Selecting the projector will let it mirror your device’s screen for as long as you’re connected. The user manual describes the procedures for mirroring of your device in detail.
The Movies and Images menu items let you play video files or show image files from a memory card or USB thumb drive, while the HDMI item lets you mirror your device’s screen over an HDMI connection.
Realistic But Often Faded Colors
I tested the Luma 150 under a range of conditions, from theater dark to considerable ambient light, and viewed a variety of content including movies, images, and web pages from a memory card or mirrored from my computer. An ideal size for a darkened room is about 36 inches (measured diagonally); when I went up to 48 inches, the image had begun to look faded. With ambient light added, a 24-inch image looked reasonably bright, but appeared more washed out when I increased the image size to 36 inches. In general, image quality was good, with fairly realistic (though occasionally muted) colors. Both photos and video were nearly free of the rainbow artifacts that frequently plague images from DLP projectors.
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The single 2-watt speaker’s sound is soft; you could always use the audio-out port to connect to a speaker or earphones.
Cool But None Too Bright
The Kodak Luma 150 Portable Wireless Projector is a stylish and highly portable pocket projector that can display content from wired and wireless sources as well as show files stored on memory cards or USB thumb drives. Although its overall image quality is good for a micro projector, its main drawback is that it simply isn’t bright enough to display images except at small sizes. This is fine if you want to show video at home or to small groups in a darkened room, but to get a larger useful image size (and better ability to stand up to ambient light), you’ll need a brighter model such as the 600-lumen, 1080p AAXA P7 Mini HD Projector. You will pay more for that Editors’ Choice projector, however. Another option is the Kodak Luma 350. We haven’t reviewed it yet, but it at least has the promise of being brighter than the 150.