Gadget freaks that we are, we’ve always had a particular soft spot for pocket-sized projectors. We just love the ‘impossibility’ of such small things producing such big pictures. With the arrival of 3M’s CP45, though, this soft spot has the potential to turn into a full-on lustathon. Why? Because despite being one of the smallest projectors in town, its svelte form also plays host to a built-in HD camcorder. Swanky.
3M CP45 – design
The CP45 seems way too small to accommodate either a projector or a camcorder, never mind both. It really does fit easily into any normal pocket, taking up no more space than a couple of glued-together Smartphones.
It’s also very easy on the eye with its rounded corners, high-gloss white finish, and ‘single layer’ fascia, complete with touch-sensitive buttons. We can’t think of many other things that could inspire more envy than the CP45 when you whip them out of your pockets.
3M CP45 –specifications
The CP45‘s camcorder can take 3MP, 5MP or 8MP photos, or record with an HD 1280x720 resolution. It offers a digital zoom, but sadly no optical one.
The camcorder also has a light for filming in dark conditions, automatic brightness compensation, and 2GB of internal recording memory for up to 40 minutes of HD video or 1000 photos. You can also add an optional MicroSD card (up to 32GB).
The projector’s resolution is 800x600 – shame this isn’t HD – and it claims a strong brightness of 20 lumens, as well as playing most file formats via supplied conversion software.
3M CP45 – ergonomics
As a camcorder, held upright, the CP45 sits comfortably but reassuringly solidly in your hand. It’s well balanced too, and most buttons fall comfortably to hand. A more convenient zoom button would have been nice, though.
The screen is remarkably sharp and colourful, too, and survives all but the brightest direct sunlight.
In projector mode the connections all feel sensibly positioned, and you can get the picture up, running and focussed in seconds.
3M CP45 – the camcorder bit
Dumping recordings made with the CP45 onto a Mac for evaluation independent of its built-in projector, we were surprised by how colourful and vivid they looked. They also looked definitively HD in resolution terms, except for where we’d made the mistake of using the digital zoom tool. Noise levels are low.
The only serious problem is that the auto light adjuster seems in permanent over-drive, adjusting the brightness of your recordings so often that it can sometimes become a real distraction.
3M CP45 – the projector bit
The CP45’s projector pictures are, surprisingly, bright enough to be watchable up to 50in in size without completely blacking out your living room/office. And we even stretched images to beyond 65in with the curtain’s drawn. Colours are among the most natural we’ve seen on a pocket projector, too.
However, the CP45’s lowly 800x600 resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio don’t do true justice to the recordings made by its own camcorder, and there’s some noticeable colour lag during camera pans.
3M CP45 – verdict
3M hasn’t just squeezed two different gadgets into one tiny box with the CP45. It’s actually squeezed two well-specified different gadgets in there – a fact that ensures that rather than just being another pint-sized gimmick, the CP45 is instead a genuinely useful and great value device that even manages to straddle the usually unassailable family and business divide.