LG – HS102 review

portable projector with USB input
Photo of LG – HS102

Gone are the days when office equipment was large, bulky and normally forced to be chained to the desk or floor for weight or safety reasons. Now it doesn’t matter whether it’s a computer, a printer, a fax machine or media storage unit, virtually every piece of utility hardware has been shrunk to the point where it can be carried comfortably in a backpack, briefcase or even handbag.

One of the last mountains to be reduced to a molehill is the projector, but recently a number of machines have popped up with portability as their main concern, such as LG’s HS102. Packed in a tiny box you’d expect to contain a digital camera, the HS102 measures just 154 x 117 x 50mm and weighs only 780g.

Styled in glossy black, the company’s suggestion is that you mount it on a tripod as it comes with a suitable connection. Focus is entirely manual and the focus ring relies on small raised bumps that could be a lot more user friendly, bearing in mind there’s no zoom.

The lamp, on the other hand, is an LED unit rated at 160 ANSI lumens with a contrast ratio of 2000:1 and a maximum screen size of 60 inches, plus a projection distance of 1.6m. In reality a distance of about 1.25m feels comfortable and, because there’s no filament-based bulb, the warm-up time is swift – around 8 seconds – and the lamp life is a highly respectable 30,000 hours.

In terms of connections, the two most useful are the VGA for connecting to a PC and a USB port which allows you to play back photos, music and movies. With built-in DivX compatibility, that means JPEG, MP3, AVI and DivX files are all supported and can be played back without a PC.

Up to 1,000 files or folders can be displayed and in addition there’s an adaptor to convert component video to VGA and an A/V cable for use with, say, DVD players or game consoles. Sound can either be heard through the jack plug for headphones or via the integrated 1W speaker, which is adequate for presentations and little else.

The control system is manipulated either via highlighted touch-sensitive symbols on the top or (preferably) via remote control, which includes adding subtitles as well as horizontal and vertical flip; handy for both rear projection and ceiling mounting.

Ultimately you have to decide whether paying £550 for a portable business application is worth the money, because with a native resolution of 800 x 600 and a contrast ratio of just 2000:1, picture quality is the biggest casualty, especially if you switch to Eco mode which significantly dims the light level. Pixellation is marked and the images are generally flat, low in contrast and lacking in texture and depth.

Company: LG

Contact: 0844 847 5454

If you're a business traveller with plenty of presentations to organise and don't always want to lug around a PC, the HS102's USB input will be very attractive. However, if you are thinking of using this as a multimedia projector, the image quality should make you think twice.