For those of you that know me, I’m a bit of an electronics junky. I collect everything from tablets to external harddrives and more. Every time I come across a good deal for an electronic, I scoop it up no matter what it is. Most of the electronics I purchase I give away as gifts. Others I have around as a backup in the event that my primary fails. Some of the most commonly found items in my electronics collection are video related. I have items ranging from video glasses & projectors to digital cameras & security cameras and today I want to talk about one of my latest gadgets that bring a few of these technologies together. I’m talking about the 3M CP45 digital camcorder projector.
Even though most cellphones these days include cameras that can be used for taking still photos and recording video, very few include instant playback on larger screens. For instance, I am currently using the Droid Razr from Motorola. With it, I can take pictures and record video, but the only way to play them back for multiple people to view at once is by connecting it to a TV using the mini-HDMI port. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could playback pictures & video instantly using a projector instead, but not have to lug around another device? Well, that’s exactly what the camcorder projector from 3M does. Now, I know that there are pico projectors out there that allow you to connect your cellphone to them and there are projector cellphone cases and even a few cellphones out there that include pico projectors themselves. But, my cellphone doesn’t include a projector and I don’t want to have to carry my cellphone, a digital camera, and a pico projector (even though I have several of those too). Instead, I would rather carry just one device that does everything. Well, almost everything. I don’t want to have to give up the cellphone I’m currently using. But I do want the ability to record and playback pictures & video live using a projector. The CP45 digital camcorder projector is the perfect product for just such a thing.
The CP45 from 3M is an easy to use digital camera / camcorder that includes a built-in pico projector for instant playback. It contains a 2.4″ LCD that works as a viewfinder for the camera and provides quick navigation for managing and accessing files as well as the device’s settings. Even though the screen is not a touchscreen, it’s still very useful, has decent quality, and is bright enough for any environment.
Along with the 2.4″ LCD on the front of the device, you will find just a few buttons. Unlike most cameras and other electronics that include too many buttons to count, the CP45 includes the barebone buttons needed for operating this device. You will find buttons for switching between the digital camera and the camcorder as well as a button to turn on & off the projector, a menu button, a button for returning to the last screen, and arrow buttons which are used for zooming, panning, and navigating the menu.
On the back of the device you will find the camera lens along with a speaker that provides rather decent audio playback as well as a hole for mounting a tripod for video playback and a flash LED that can also be used for illumination while recording video. The picture quality of the CP45 is pretty good coming in at 5MP for still images and 720p for recording HD video. Even though my cellphone’s camera has an 8MP rear-facing camera which can also record 1080p video, the CP45‘s camera is still good enough for most of the things I would be using it for. Besides, the camera isn’t the only thing that makes this gadget worth it.
Located on the top of the device, you will find the projector which uses an ultra bright LED that can last up to 20,000 hours and can display screens anywhere from 10″ to 65″ of 1080p video playback. When moving the projector closer and farther away from your viewing area, you will need to adjust its focus by turning a small wheel located on the right side of the device. Once the device is in focus, it will stay in focus until you move the device closer or farther away again. The LED is extremely bright and even though it works best in dark areas, it also does a fairly good job in areas that are well lit. However, just like any other projector, this projector does not work in direct sunlight or in areas that are rather bright. The walls in my office are a bit of a light brownish color. But, this projector still does a good job of displaying images and video on my walls which is almost equal to the display on my white ceilings. 🙂 Since this projector is lightweight and portable, you can use pretty much anything for your viewing area. You can walls, ceilings, t-shirts, paper, etc… and will get basically the same quality on any area as long as it’s lightly colored.
On the right side of the device, you will find the focus wheel, the power switch, and the micro-SD slot. On the left side of the device, you will find a standard headphone jack as well as ports for mini-USB and mini-HDMI.
The CP45 comes with 2GB of internal storage which can hold to roughly 1000 pictures. The device also includes a micro-SD port which supports cards up to 32GB. Even though the camcorder can only record video at 720p, the projector is capable of displaying video at 1080p. With that said, you can copy high resolution movies onto the not-included micro-SD card or onto the internal 2GB storage using the included USB cable, and play them back at 1080p. On a fully charged battery, you can play back more than 1.5 hours of projection playback.
In the box, along with the projector, you will also find a power supply that also includes universal adapters that allow the device to work in almost any country since most countries have different power outlets. Also in the box is an RCA cable that allows you to connect any device to the projector such as DVD or bluray players, Xbox, or Playstation.
I’ve had a few days to play with this device and have been extremely pleased with it. The battery life is really good (compared to some of my other pico projectors and cameras). The audio and video playback are both really good. But, having the combined camcorder and projector in one, you can’t beat that! I can’t wait to take this thing with me on our next vacation. Priced at around $200 on Amazon, I would highly recommend getting the 3M CP45 digital camcorder projector if you ever find yourself needing a new camera, but also want the added benefit of having an included projector for instant playback.
Update: Even though the box says the camera only supports 5MP still images, the CP45 actually supports 5MP and 8MP still images. You can select 8MP by pressing the menu button and using the arrow buttons to navigate to the picture resolution menu.
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