If you had a budget of around $100 ten years ago the chances are you’d be able to afford a box, without a Projector inside. But, prices have lowered, and these days for the same amount you can get the Projector too. Whether it’s any good would depend on the model, and whether you got the right model would depend on how much knowledge you had before purchasing. Well, so far you’re doing good. You’re here with me, seeking out advice from the master of all things Projection based. Enough about my exciting life though. You’re here for the review and I’m going to be focusing on the Lucky Clover 1080p HD Mini Portable Movie Projector. It’s cheap, but is it good? Where have they cut costs? What’s in? What’s out? Find out here.
- Huge Portability
- 1200 Lumens
- 800×480 Resolution
- Great Speakers
- TV Tuner
- Very Light Weight
- Quite Nice Design
- Rather Flimsy
Size and Design:
With its black finish, large Lens and small Vent the design is simple and looks pretty good. It’s not outrageously beautiful, but it’s a fair looking end product with your basic fast forward, rewind, pause and play options positioned on the top. I should point out that the Lucky Clover is quite flimsy, and all of these low-priced Super-Portables tend to break easily when dropped, so be careful when handling it. The measurements are 3.23 inches by 6.3 inches by 7.68 inches so it’s incredibly small and as such it will be easy to transport. The weight is 1.94 pounds. making the Clover one of the lightest Projectors on the market.
Setting up the projector:
Let’s start with the set-up because this affects portability, and in this case it affects it in a positive way. There is no set-up. All the basic image settings are done for you so all you need to do is point and view. You should be throwing out images in less than 5 minutes. More good news comes in the form of the Lamp Life. The average number of hours you have before needing to buy a new Lamp is around 6000. Here you get 20000 hours, so it’ll last an incredibly long time.
But what’s the picture like? For starters, it’s not 1080p. The manufacturers description may lead some buyers to believe they’re getting 1080p and I wouldn’t blame them. Afterall it is called the Lucky Clover 1080p Mini Portable, but Projector manufacturers are a complicated bunch. They mean that you can hook up your Blu-Ray Player via HDMI to the Clover and receive a 1080p signal. But, given that the Clover only has a native resolution of 800×480, you’re not going to be seeing anything approaching 1080p in the images it throws out. It’ll do it’s best to upscale, but still won’t reach HD levels. And with only an 800-1 contrast Ratio, even if an HD resolution was available, blacks and whites would still seem less clear than true HD. For $100 though,it’s a pretty good picture, and you’ll enjoy movies and games on it. You’ll also be able to watch and play at 220 inches, which is far larger than any TV. And they’ve slung in a TV Tuner as well so you can get digital channels.
How are the on-board speakers?:
The Speakers are really surprising. They’re 3 Watts and produce good sound. Not only is this louder and more clear than the sound included on most Super-Portables but it’s also better than the Speakers you get on some Projectors costing three times that of the Clover. You won’t need your own External Speakers here. The Lumens come in at 1200, which is better than the 400 Lumen average on Super-Portables but you’ll still need to view with the lights off. The difference between 400 Lumens and 1200 Lumens though, is that you don’t need to wait until all the light drains from the room.
I noticed during game-play that the response time is very fast so although you don’t get a gaming mode, you do get some good gaming. The Optical engine is also good, meaning that you’ll get 84 inches from 5 metres back making the Lucky Clover good for moderate-sized rooms as well as large.
I wouldn’t try using this for presentations, but for movies and games it’s quite good. The 800×480 native resolution is never going to be up there with HD in terms of clarity, but it is clear and for $100 it’s a fair deal. When you add on the TV Tuner and 220 inch images at a reasonably short throw distance, you’ve got a great unit for the price. At 1200 Lumens the room will have to be dark, but the sound is great with the 3 Watt Speakers, and the Lamp life is long meaning you won’t have to pay for a replacement for a quite a while. It’s extremely portable, weighing just 1.92 pounds, and has a tiny footprint. So you’ll be able to walk around with it, going to friends houses or work; wherever you need to view. Slightly Flimsy, but I couldn’t have designed a better device myself for $100.