The Kodak Luma 350 Portable Smart Projector ($349.99), the flagship of the company’s Luma type of palmtop projectors, is brighter compared to the Kodak Luma 150 unit, but what really sets it in addition to the Luma 150 and the Luma 75 is its integration of the Android 6 operating-system, permitting you to install and run Android apps. It projects a reasonably large usable image because of its brightness, is okay for everyday movie viewing, and does well at projecting photos. It earns our Editors’ Choice for a palmtop entertainment projector.
Anatomy of a Portable Projector
An LED-based projector that uses Texas Instruments’ DLP technology, the Luma 350 includes a rated brightness of 200 ANSI lumens and a claimed 3,500:1 contrast ratio. Its 854-by-480-pixel, a.k.a. FWVGA or 480p resolution, common amongst mini projectors, computes to a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. As is typical of LED-based projectors, the source of light has a lengthy rated lifetime, 30,000 hours, that ought to more than outlast the life span of the projector itself.
White with gold trim, the Luma 350 includes a simple but handsome design. It measures 1.1 by 4.4 by 4.4 inches (HWD)-including the four tiny feet it rests on, which add maybe an eighth of an inch to its height-and just fits into my outstretched palm. It really is highly portable, weighing just 12 ounces.
The Luma 350 includes a typical form factor for a palmtop projector, square with rounded corners when viewed from above. At the top of the projector are Kodak and DLP logos, and toward the trunk is a little, silver circle.
When you press the energy button, on the proper side when viewed from the trunk, the circle becomes illuminated, revealing itself as the central virtual button of a touch-sensitive four-way controller. (It really is flanked by illuminated left, right, up, and down arrows.) The lighting is out in about five seconds invest the no action, nonetheless it reappears when you press the guts of the circle. That controller is duplicated on the thin white remote, which adds power, home, return, volume-control, menu, and mouse buttons. The remote requires two AAA batteries (not included).
Navigating with the remote proved far better than with the projector’s built-in controller: With out a home button on the projector itself, with all the projector’s own controls it had been possible to get stuck in a few menu choices without having to be able to go back to Home short of rebooting these devices. A straightforward solution is to add a mouse to the USB port (right-clicking with it’ll get you home). But if you are running content from a USB thumb drive, you do not have that option and had best stick to the remote, or use Kodak’s Luma iphone app (for iOS or Android) to regulate the projector from your own phone.
The free Kodak Luma iphone app lets you navigate using its own four-way controller and virtual home, return, and power buttons; launch software or purchase them from the Google Play store from within the Luma app; and use a touchpad to regulate a cursor.
Easy Focus Adjustment
In back are an audio tracks jack, a USB Type-A port that fits a thumb drive, an HDMI port, and a jack for the included wall-wart power, plus a hole for a pin or paper clip in the event you have to reset the projector. On the left side, behind the lens, is a vertically oriented focus wheel that if you ask me smoothly brought the projector to an excellent focus. On underneath of the projector, together with the feet and a grille for the built-in 3-watt speaker, is a threaded hole for a tripod.
Within the Luma 350 is a rechargeable 7,500mAh battery, which lasts a lot more than two hours between charges and takes about four hours to totally charge.
It’s a Projector…and an Android Device
Unlike the Kodak Luma 150, the Luma 350 has Android 6.0 included in it. It isn’t the first Android-based projector which has come through PC Labs, but it’s among the finest implementations I’ve seen, up there with the Anker Nebula Capsule II, which runs the Android TV OS.
You can run Android apps-it comes preinstalled with a small number of frequently occurring ones, like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, Redbox, and Twitch, and the software store itself, that you can download your favorites.
When you turn the Luma 350 on, you are soon taken up to the home screen, which big radio buttons for the software take center stage. At the upper right are battery-level and Wi-Fi indicators, in addition to a display of the existing time. At top left, to the proper of a Kodak logo, are three links, with the house link highlighted. Others are Source and Settings. Under Source are buttons for HDMI, Screen Mirroring (Miracast for mirroring Android devices, AirPlay for Apple devices), and File Browser. From the latter you can run content from the projector’s memory or from a USB key.
From Settings, you is capable of doing a number of tasks, you start with connecting wirelessly via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a mobile app. Connecting the Luma 350 to my Wi-Fi network was easy-I attached a mouse to the projector’s USB port and used it to navigate a virtual keyboard where I entered my password, and it immediately connected. You can access the projector’s 8GB of internal memory (which about 3.3GB were free on my unit).
One feature quibble: Kodak backs the Luma 350 with a meager one-year warranty.
Good Photos, So-So Video
The Luma 350 projects a good-size image considering its modest brightness. I tested it both in darkness and with varying levels of ambient light. In a dark room, you will see images up to about 60 inches (measured diagonally) without significant degradation, with the perfect image size about 48 inches. With the introduction of ambient light, about 36 inches seemed the perfect size. (Observe how we test projectors.)
In testing, I projected content from a USB thumb drive, in addition to over an HDMI connection from my computer. I viewed several videos from among our normal selection. Image quality is typical of an LED-based DLP projector of modest brightness-that is to state, fine for everyday video watching, however, not up to the standards of videophiles.
I noticed several issues, do not require serious in itself. There is hook color imbalance, where some white areas appeared with a greenish tinge, and reds were oversaturated. There is a hint of posterization, abrupt changes in color or tone where they must be gradual. In a few scenes, particularly in bright areas against a dark background, I saw the rainbow artifacts that often come in the images from single-chip DLP projectors. Regarding the Luma 350, many persons wouldn’t even notice them, nevertheless they could prove annoying to persons sensitive to the effect.
Audio, meanwhile, from the 3-watt speaker is rather loud, and is of decent quality. Photos on the whole looked good when projected with the Luma, with good color and a good amount of contrast.
A Prince Among Palmtops
In market where many recent mini projectors seem to be as much speaker as projector-I am currently reviewing many of them-the Kodak Luma 350 retains the classic palmtop look, though with Android beneath the hood. The Luma 350 doesn’t have the thumping-loud audio system of the Anker Nebula Capsule II (though its speaker is no slouch) nonetheless it will come in at a lower price. Having the ability to throw a good-size image in a dark room, and with an integral battery you can recharge, the Luma 350 is an excellent companion for home use and travel alike. It becomes our latest Editors’ Choice palmtop projector.