The Ultimate Lo-Tech Gadget For Your Hi-Tech Phone: The Smartphone Projector
How many times have you come across a funny or cute video while surfing YouTube or Facebook, and had to immediately call the whole family over to watch it with you? That usually results in a few banged heads, followed by the smart decision to pass the phone around the room so people can view the video one-by-one.
Enter the lowest-tech gadget we’ve actually felt the need to write about in quite some time: the Smartphone Projector. Created a couple of years ago and marketed by a company called Luckies of London, this doohickey has quickly become a best-seller at a price around $30. It doesn’t reproduce HDTV quality video; in fact, the quality isn’t all that great. But it’s an ingenious approach to a very common need – and yes, the invention has been trademarked.
What Is the Smartphone Projector?
Believe it or not, the Smartphone Projector is simply made from a durable cardboard box and glass lens, which will magnify the image on a phone by as many as eight times. It can be used with Android or iPhones that have screens as large as 5.7 by 3.2 inches, to project photos or video onto any nearby wall or flat vertical surface.
The Smartphone Projector comes unassembled, so you have to glue the box together and insert the lens (better yet, get your kids to do it – it’s an easy project and the places to be glued and connected are clearly marked). You then insert your phone onto the gel pad in the compartment at the back of the projector and close the lid, and then focus by twisting the lens and moving the compartment and/or the projector until the picture reaches your desired clarity and size. The picture’s upside down? Then turn your phone upside down. The picture’s vertical instead of horizontal? Simply put a rotation control app on the phone. Hey, we warned you this was low-tech.
You’re not going to get studio- or home-theater quality displays with the Smartphone Projector. But it’s fun, retro and sort of cool, and may just come in handy.
What’s Better Than the Smartphone Projector? Smartphone Projector 2.0
Any inventor smart enough to make a fortune selling a cardboard box and a cheap glass lens is certainly smart enough to milk the product for all it’s worth. Meet the Smartphone Projector 2.0.
For just about the same price, you can purchase version 2.0 of this device which is – wait for it – already assembled! Not only that, but the Projector 2.0 is available in deluxe finishes, or in other words, four different colors of cardboard: brown, copper, black-and-gold or white (the latter comes complete with four colored markers so you can make your own design). They’ve thought of everything, including a matching cardboard box with a speaker inside if you want a complete audio/video system.
Quite honestly, we had two thoughts after seeing the Smartphone Projector. The first was that we couldn’t believe there wasn’t a higher-tech solution to the problem (actually there is, but it’s a specialty product mostly used by forensic experts which costs hundreds of dollars). Our second thought? We wish we’d thought of this gadget before Luckies of London did.