Home' LAPTOP Magazine : October 2010 Contents PROJECTORS
BenQ Joybee GP1 Mini Projector
This mini projector offers better performance than the pico competition at an affordable price.
Not as lilliputian as a pico nor as big as an ultra-
portable, the BenQ Joybee GP1 Mini Projector is
well suited for business travelers who need to show
clients a crisp, bright presentation.
Measuring 5.4 x 4.8 x 2.1 inches and weighing
1.4 pounds, the GP1 is slightly larger and heavier
than the Dell M109S (4.1 x 3.6 x 1.5 inches; 0.8
pounds). Sadly, the power brick is the same weight
as the projector itself.
A silver ring protruding from the top makes it
easy to adjust the focus. This area also features
an indented circular panel of touch controls
backlit in blue. However, you have to
know exactly where to press---not
on the icon itself, but on the edge
of the circle---otherwise, nothing
will happen. The credit card--size
remote sports small rubber buttons
and worked well.
At the bottom front, a small foot
can be turned to adjust the image
height. However, when the foot
is fully extended, the 15-pin
connector on the back of
the projector raises the
rear edge of the GP1,
causing it to wobble. An optional dock lets you
play music, videos, and photos using an iPod.
The device is smart enough to know when it's
being tilted up or down vertically, adjusting the
image automatically so that it's not keystoned.
Menus were simple and easy to navigate. While the
SVGA (858 x 600 pixels) GP1 has a native aspect
ratio of 4:3, it automatically changes to 16:9 when
an external source has the same ratio.
The GP1 is rated at 100 lumens (twice that of
the Dell M109S) and a 2000:1 contrast ratio; within
a few feet of the wall, we
found it plenty bright,
even with overhead
lights on. Movies,
our notebook's desk-
top, and PowerPoint
crisp and colorful.
From three feet, the GP1
projected a 24-inch screen
You can also use the GP1 sans
notebook. We plugged a USB drive
into the back of the projector, and a simple
menu launched where we could select photos
or movies to play from the drive. Sadly, the GP1
can't natively play PowerPoint presentations; you
have to convert them to JPGs first. However, you
can create a slideshow on the projector itself,
as it lets you select inter val and transition types
The GP1 gets fairly warm: Even with the fan
blowing full tilt (quite noticeable in a quiet room),
the bottom of the device by the lens reached 105
degrees Fahrenheit after just a few minutes.
The BenQ GP1 is a very capable projector for
those looking to travel light. Its brightness is more
suitable than pico projectors for business presenta-
tions in larger rooms. While we wish its power brick
were smaller and controls easier to use, this is a
---Michael A. Prospero
Livescribe Echo Smartpen
The newest smartpen makes note-taking even easier and provides access to plenty of apps.
The original Livescribe Pulse added some much-
needed digital functionality to the age-old pen.
Its successor, the Livescribe Echo, is less of a
revamp than a refresh. The solid core functionality
of this device makes for an especially compelling
The Echo lets users capture audio and take notes
simultaneously using Livescribe's proprietary dot
paper. It records a digital image of what's written,
and recorded audio syncs with the text. Physically,
the Echo is slightly larger than a permanent marker,
measuring 6.2 x 0.8 inches. A microUSB and 3.5mm
audio jack sit on top. On the side, you'll find a
96 x 18-pixel OLED display, a power button, speaker,
If you need only to save a digital copy of your
notes, just start writing on a page.
Once you're done, the pen
recording. If you
want to record audio
as well, simply press the
Record icon on the bottom of
the page. Quality was surprisingly
clear. At the bottom of every Livescribe
page are a handful of control buttons for
adjusting features such as volume and playback
speed. Users can print out their own pages for free
if they choose.
Plugging the pen into a USB port copies data
to the Livescribe Desktop program. With custom
notebooks---think playlists in iTunes---users can
pulls notes from different notebooks into one.
Livescribe's online service lets users upload and
share pencasts with other Livescribe owners. Also
through Livescribe's website is a small app store for
programs such as a calculator or foreign language
travel phrase dictionaries. Some apps are more
frustrating than others; the Sudoku app requires
users to draw the grid and fill out each
row individually before the game can
even start. On the plus side,
the pen can launch an app by drawing a line and
writing the name of the app above it.
If audio is being recorded and you're writing
simultaneously, Livescribe says that the recharge-
able battery should last for more than 5 hours. For
recording only audio or writing, the battery will
endure for more than 6 or 12 hours, respectively.
The smartpen comes in 4GB and 8GB models.
The Livescribe Echo carries over all of the
same basic note-taking functionality that made
the Pulse a solid device. While the app store and
software aren't without their problems, the Echo's
physical improvements and the strength of the
Livescribe platform make it easy to recommend.
Easy to manage notes and audio
Improved ergonomic design
Great desktop software
Lots of storage
Some apps difficult to use
Recording earbuds cost extra
Custom notebooks don't support Macs
LAPTOP | October 2010
Small, compact design
Bright, clear images
Automatic keystone adjustment
Controls are tricky to use
Must convert PowerPoints before playback
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