Review: Boxlight BumbleBee Projector

The perfect little projector for your Macintosh (January 26th, 2007)

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Product Manufacturer: BOXLIGHT Corporation

Price: $799 US

The Good

  • Tiny. Light weight. Completely portable. Battery powered. Uses LEDs instead of metal halide bulbs. Carrying case included.

The Bad

  • No problems with product found.

I always take my 12" PowerBook with me on bicycle tours to maintain a BLOG as I go. When I am editing my photos in the evening at a restaurant, campground, or hostel, groups often gather to watch over my shoulder. I have considered carrying a projector, but until now all digital projectors have been too heavy and bulky to haul along on my bike. In addition, no AC power is available, so I have had to compute under battery power. The BumbleBee solves these problems, and allows me to project my images wherever I go.

new class of projector

The BumbleBee is one of an entirely new class of truly portable projectors. Instead of using expensive, outrageously hot, high wattage metal halide bulbs, which last only 1,000 to 3,000 hours, the BumbleBee, uses a cluster of light emitting diodes (LEDs) like those in the latest flashlights, car headlights, and amazingly efficient home lighting. The LEDs used in the BumbleBee are expected to last more than 20,000 hours, and can be battery powered. The BumbleBee is a stellar example of this entirely new class of projector, with a weight of only 1 lb (add 3/4 lbs. for the included Lithium ion battery) and dimensions of 4.75" x 3.9" x 1.9". Note the small size, it actually fits in the palm of my hand or a jacket pocket.

for tabletop use

The BumbleBee only produces about 150 lumens, as compared to the 1000+ lumens of standard projectors, so it projects a smaller image with a minimum of distracting ambient light. It is not suitable for classroom, auditorium, theater, or outdoor use. The BumbleBee does best with a 40" or less diagonal screen. That seems tiny in comparison to the typical 84" screen, but when you compare it to a 32" home television, it is not bad at all. The native resolution is 800 x 600 SVGA, so as long as the projected image is small and the room is relatively dark, colors are crisp and videos refresh quickly to make for a satisfying viewing experience. It also supports a 4:3 aspect ratio, but is 16:9 compatible. The 21" x 30" Fast Fold Mini-fold Portable Table Top Screen from Da-Lite Screen Company, seems like a perfect match.

battery powered

In one test, I ran the Bumblebee and my 12" PowerBook under battery power until the Mac OS X power manager advised me to shut down at the 5% battery level. At that point, the Bumblebee firmware showed a battery level of 30%. That the Bumblebee battery was able to outlast the laptop bodes well for impromptu presentations.

SD card slot and AV inputs

The BumbleBee Secure Digital (SD) card slot, built-in slideshow firmware, and tiny remote control make it possible to present a slideshow without even using a computer. Slides from a digital camera, or created by Keynote or PowerPoint, and even videos, can be saved onto an SD card, obviating the need to haul a laptop along. With its S-Video, audio and video ports, the BumbleBee can also present slideshows and videos from an iPod. The onboard .3-watt speaker and an audio-out port that can be used in connection with portable speakers designed for the iPod, enable multimedia presentations.

perfect for mobile use

The BumbleBee is the ideal projector for home use, and for somebody on the go who makes presentations to small groups, such as a sales person, a board member, a building inspector, or even a bicyclist.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor. Incorrect information removed 1/31/07.

by Ed Noonan


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