GE PJ1 digital camera and projector

GE PJ1 review: This is a poor quality camera with a built-in pico projector that's not very useful

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GE PJ1
  • GE PJ1
  • GE PJ1
  • GE PJ1
  • Expert Rating

    1.50 / 5

Pros

  • Easy to operate

Cons

  • Poor image quality
  • Poor projection quality

Bottom Line

The GE PJ1 isn't a good product. Its camera is of poor quality and its projector isn't very useful. If you want a camera with a built-in projector, you're better off checking out Nikon's offering, which is actually a decent camera.

Would you buy this?

Poor quality aside, the PJ1 is easy to operate. You don't have to do much other than change shooting mode, choose whether you want to use the flash and play with the zoom. There are scene modes that you can switch to, but there is also an automatic scene mode that selects the scene for you. It's a reasonably comfortable camera to use, but its buttons feel cheap. The camera lacks a lens cover, which leaves the plastic in front of the lens prone to getting dirty; you have to remember to check it prior to using the camera, just in case it has been accidentally smudged in your carry bag.

Because the projector sits in the centre of the camera, the lens resides at the top-left corner position (from the way you hold the camera) which means that it's too easy for your fingers to obstruct the lens while taking photos. The projector lens is attached to a slider that sits at the top of the camera and this can be used to adjust its focus.

To use the PJ1 as a projector for displaying your photos, you simply press the projector button next that sits next to the shutter button. It's not of great quality, and we didn't expect it to be, but it wasn't as good as the projector in Nikon's S1100pj. With a 15 ANSI Lumens brightness rating, it's not a very bright projector, which means that to get the best results you have to project in an almost pitch-black room and from a close wall distance. It can project an image that is 120x90mm from 2.3m away and an image of 44x33cm from 90cm away. The closer distance gives you better detail, but that's not saying much because the projector's clarity is poor overall.

A dock ships with the camera and this can be used as a cooler while projecting for long periods of time. It has a built-in fan, which makes a sharp whirring sound while it's operating. A mess of cables is supplied for charging the camera and also for connecting it to the dock and to a computer. You don't get a separate charger for the battery, so you have to always use the supplied cables to connect the camera and charge it. It's a great solution if you like solving puzzles.

The PJ1's ability to project an entire computer screen is perhaps its best trait. You have to connect the camera to your computer using the supplied USB cable, and you have to install the supplied PC to Link software and click 'Start Capture'. The projector will then display the contents of your screen exactly as they appear on your monitor, except with much less clarity. Wether you project from a short distance or a long distance; whether you use the lowest supported resolution of your computer or not, text will not be easily legible and photos, graphs and charts will not look properly defined. The other problem is that the USB cable that is supplied with the camera is too short to allow for comfortable usage — you have to sit your laptop in front of the wall that you will be projecting on to. If you want a portable projector for business use, then consider a product such as the HP Notebook Projection Companion or Acer Projector C20 instead.

All up, the GE PJ1 is a novel product, but it's not very useful. It doesn't excel as a camera, and it certainly doesn't excel as a projector. For business presentations, you're better off having people crowd around your laptop rather than trying to use the projector; the only time the projector may be of use is when showing just-taken pictures to more than a handful of people at a time. But even then the clarity of the images won't be good.

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