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Velocity Micro's Shine puts a movie theater in your pocket (hands-on)

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We spent some time with Shine, Velocity Micro's new pocket projector, and were quite impressed.

Velocity Micro Shine Projector
Velocity Micro Shine Projector

Velocity Micro recently announced a number of new tablets and peripherals for CES, but we just spent some time with a rather unexpected product from the company: the Shine projector. Priced at $429 and small enough to fit into your pocket, the 300-lumen, DLP unit projects 1280 x 768 resolution video onto your screen or nearby wall. It features a mini-HDMI input, a USB port for playing videos from a stick or USB drive, and an IR receiver for use with the included remote. There's an internal speaker as well — but you'll definitely want to listen to your audio on an external system using the included audio output.

We took a look at the projector's performance in a darkened room and were quite impressed. While watching the trailer for Up as well as a Crysis video gameplay demo, colors were vivid and crisp with rich blacks, and looked great even when projected onto a white wall. Shine seemed to work best about three to six feet from the projection surface — and performance did quickly fall off when bright sunlight was let into the room — but the image still held up decently even when being thrown fifteen feet away. We missed true 1080p output, but not so much that we won't be eyeing Shine when it hits the market in the second quarter of this year. Even better, Velocity Micro indicated they have plans to expand the Shine line in the future with even more full-featured units.