From the April 2006 issue of Entrepreneur

You don't need an excuse to invest in a portable projector for your business. Whether you need to make presentations at your office or send it along with your traveling sales personnel, a good projector is key to making a good impression. It won't cost you a fortune to get a sub-6-pound projector that you can take on the road. Some feather-light 2- to 3-pound projectors are a bit pricey, but highly mobile entrepreneurs may be willing to pay for them.

If you glance at the chart on page 56, you'll see there are lots of projector manufacturers vying for your business. You should have no trouble getting the feature set and price you want. When looking for a portable, weight is a top consideration. Fortunately, manufacturers have been coming out with ever-lighter--and brighter--projectors.

Check out the $1,499 (all prices street) InFocus LP120. Its DLP digital imaging technology is typically found in super-lightweight projectors. The LP120 skims in under 2 pounds and can easily fit in a briefcase or a laptop case. Its 1,000 ANSI lumens is a serviceable brightness for most applications. The Hewlett-Packard mp2210 (2.4 pounds) and the ViewSonic PJ256D (2.2 pounds), both $1,499, are two other options for entrepreneurs who like to travel light. Resolution is another spec to pay attention to. There are three options: XGA (1,024 x 768), SVGA (800 x 600) and SXGA (1,280 x 1,024). It's a good idea to match the resolution of the computer you'll be using for presentations. Typically, that will be XGA. One budget-friendly XGA projector is the 4.8-pound Hitachi CP-RX60, which comes in at $899. The advantage of SVGA projectors like the Microtek MS4 is that they can be extremely affordable-just $699 in the case of the 4.5-pound MS4.

When it comes to features, brightness makes a difference in the kinds of environments in which you can effectively project an image. Brighter projectors can handle rooms with more ambient light. The $1,300 Sony VPL-CS20A and the $1,295 NEC VT480 both come with 2,000 ANSI lumens of brightness-enough to handle just about any room.

There are plenty of other bells and whistles available if you're so inclined. Check out the Epson PowerLite 755c. It has built-in Wi-Fi and an instant-off feature that bypasses the usual cooling-down period before you can unplug the projector. All that comes in a compact, 3.9-pound package at an affordable $1,499. The BenQ CP120 is a feather-weight 2.9 pounds and is compatible with 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi. Expect to increasingly see wireless presentation capability as a projector option.

Other features to pay attention to are lamp life, contrast ratio and noise. With so many options on the market, you should have no trouble finding the right portable projector for you. Talk to your IT person if you need help narrowing down the possibilities.

Shopping List
Whether you want maximum portability or minimum price, one of these projectors can make you see the light.
MANUFACTURER/
MODEL
CONTACTRESOLUTIONBRIGHTNESSWEIGHTFEATURESSTREET PRICE
BenQ
CP120
(949) 255-9500,
www.benq.com
XGA1,500 ANSI
lumens
2.9
pounds
2,000:1 contrast ratio,
built-in Wi-Fi, DLP technology
$1,780
Epson
PowerLite 755c
(800) 463-7766,
www.epson.com
XGA2,000 ANSI
lumens
3.9
pounds
400:1 contrast ratio,
built-in 802.11g, instant-off
$1,499
Hewlett-Packard
mp2210
(800) 888-0292,
www.hp.com
XGA1,500 ANSI
lumens
2.4
pounds
2,200:1 contrast ratio,
DLP technology
$1,499
Hitachi
CP-RX60
(800) 225-1741,
www.hitachi.us
XGA1,500 ANSI
lumens
4.8
pounds
300:1 contrast ratio,
whisper-mode option
$899
Infocus
LP120
(800) 294-6400,
www.infocus.com
XGA1,000 ANSI
lumens
1.98
pounds
2,000:1 contrast ratio,
DLP technology
$1,499
Microtek
Ms4
(310) 687-5940,
www.microtekusa.com
SVGA1,200 ANSI
lumens
4.5
pounds
1,500:1 contrast ratio,
DLP technology
$699
Nec
VT480
(800) NEC-INFO
www.necvisualsystems.com
SVGA2,000 ANSI
lumens
6.4
pounds
600:1 contrast ratio,
IR reciever for mouse control
$1,295
Sharp
XR-1S
(800) 4-VISUAL,
www.sharplcd.com
SVGA1,100 ANSI
lumens
3.2
pounds
1,500:1 contrast ratio,
low-power lamp mode
$1,099
Sony
VPL-CS20A
(877) 600-9368,
www.sonystyle.com
SVGA2,000 ANSI
lumens
4.2
pounds
Selectable wattage lamp,
4x digital zoom
$1,300
Toshiba
TDP-S8U
(800) GO-TOSHIBA,
www.toshiba.com
SVGA1,800 ANSI
lumens
4.4
pounds
2,000:1 contrast ratio,
monitor output connector
$799
Viewsonic
PJ256D
(800) 888-8583,
www.viewsonic.com
XGA1,500 ANSI
lumens
2.2
pounds
2,000:1 contrast ratio,
DLP technology
$1,499