When I was planning my computer skills workshops in the fall of 1999, one of the items on my wish list was an overhead screen projector. I called all over town looking to rent a unit, and the best price I could find was $300 a day! I decided to make do without a projector.

Recently, we at TechRepublic purchased an overhead projector—the Compaq MP1600. After sitting in on several meetings and training sessions where this little gadget was used to project a screen from a laptop computer, I’ve decided it’s what I want for my birthday this year.

Introducing the “microportable projector”
Compaq has coined the phrase “microportable projector” to describe the MP1600. Sitting on a conference room table, it takes up about as much room as a clothes iron. It weighs a little over four pounds and is compatible with most business computers, including portables, desktops, and workstations. The MP1600 accepts signals from VGA to SXGA (which includes Macs), and it connects to DVD players, camcorders, or VCRs through an optional video adapter.

The MP1600 isn’t cheap. The street price is around $4,000 for the unit, about $250 for the video adapter, and around $350 for the replacement bulb lamp module. However, if you’ve been renting overhead projectors at $300 a pop, this little device will pay for itself in short order. You can read about the 600 lumens, XGA resolution, and Digital Light Projection system technology on Compaq’s site.

If you’re constantly on the road doing training, lugging a 20- or 30-pound unit in and out of airports probably isn’t your cup of tea. Since many training facilities simply don’t offer a projector for computer screens, the Compaq MP1600, shown in Figure A, makes it easy for you to bring your technology with you wherever you go.

Figure A
The Compaq MP1600 is easy to transport and produces a bright, easy-to-read projection onto screens, whiteboards, or walls.

If you’ve used the Compaq MP1600 or any other computer screen projector, we want to hear how you like it. Please post your comments below or send us a note.