Toshiba TDP-FF1AU Video Projector

Toshiba TDP-FF1AU Video Projector

With apologies to the Beach Boys, wouldn’t it be nice if there were an inexpensive video projector that was small enough to fit in the palm of your hand yet capable of throwing a 68-inch image? And while we’re dreaming, how about giving it the option of operating on a Li-Ion battery. Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?

Toshiba’s go-anywhere TDP-FF1AU delivers on much of that dream. There’s just one crushing problem: This projector is about as bright as a black hole. OK, maybe that’s too harsh, but with a brightness rating of just 400 ANSI lux, you’ll need a room that can be darkened to pitch black in order to be satisfied with this tiny device’s output.

If you can’t do that, you’ll want a projection screen with both high contrast (in order to enhance the display of black and other dark colors) and high gain (in order to achieve maximum brightness). High-contrast screens, however, typically have negative gain ratings. This is because they use gray or silver fabric, which renders dark areas of the image closer to black while keeping bright areas of the picture about the same as they would be when displayed on a matte-white screen.

Toshiba bundles a rigid 23-inch tabletop screen with the projector, which is manufactured with a high-gain silver coating on its display side. It proved capable of reflecting an image in a room darkened only by miniblinds, which is something neither our usual Draper Piper test screen nor Epson’s Accolade Duet (reviewed above) could do. Toshiba’s screen, however, is really useful only for business presentations: It folds up to fit in the included carry bag, but a vertical seam right down the middle of it remains visible when in use.

As a business tool, we think Toshiba’s projector is a better value than the more than twice-as-expensive Casio XJ-S35 we reviewed in May (which is also powered by DLP technology), but we can’t recommend it for home-theater or gaming applications unless you can absolutely darken your media room.

Big Foot

It's easy for travel and business.

The Loch Ness Monster

Not at all bright.

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