Biz Expert Q&A: The Right Projector for a Successful Presentation

I travel a lot and give presentations before small groups. It’s always a hassle to make sure there is a projector at the location or that I can connect properly if there is one;  I don’t want to lug another heavy piece of gear around—especially with all the recent airline travel costs. What are my options?

—D. Williams
New York

The short answer? Load your presentation on a portable device (like a flash drive), store it online, or e-mail it to yourself. I frequently do all three, in addition to storing a copy on my laptop. However, if the venues you are visiting are not properly equipped, you should consider investing in your own projector.

Projectors have come a long way from their early days of being hefty and expensive. You now have a ton of options, depending on your price range and needs. If this is your first such purchase, shop around for one that is lightweight but inexpensive. The trend has been moving toward the “sub-five” group for a while now—less than 5 pounds and priced at less than $500. In addition, keep in mind lumens (brightness of the projector), projection distance, fan noise, and resolution (image quality).

For an ultra-lightweight solution, consider WowWee’s Cinemin Swivel (www.wowwee.com; $299.99); the multimedia DLP (digital light processing) pico projector swivels 90 degrees, features an 8-foot projection range, and works with iPods and the iPhone. Another good option is the P410M Pocket Projector (www.samsung.com; estimated $649.99). Although it’s slightly above the 5/5 range in terms of price, it lets you project files from USB storage devices, has built-in stereo speakers, and weighs less than 2 pounds—perfect for traveling.

Once you’ve homed in on a device, don’t hesitate to shop around. Hit the online comparison sites and check out reviews for more information.

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