Monday, May 11, 2015

Sprint LivePro: A projector for All Seasons?

The All In One Android Project From Sprint

                Billed as the “Swiss Army Knife” of projectors, Sprint’s Live Pro packs a plethora of capabilities into a rather diminutive device.  Measuring 4.7 inches square and weighing in at 14.1 ounces – or 0.88 pounds -- it may not fit into a shirt pocket, but it certainly won’t be a burden to carry.  The big question that you have to ask yourself is “Will you have a need for it?”


           Feature wise, this Android projector is loaded.  It comes with a Micro SD card slot, connectivity to the Sprint network 3G and 4G LTE, HDMI port, Bluetooth, Hot Spot capability, MicroSD  card slot, MicroSIM card slot, can operate as an external battery charger and comes with its own cables, which is a nice convenience.  In short. It does everything you would want a mobile projector to do.

           The Live Pro uses a somewhat stock version of Android Jelly Bean.  I was bit surprised it did not at least have Kit Kat installed.  That maybe in the pipeline. As anyone who has Android phone can testify, their os upgrades are painfully slow in arriving.

                On the plus side, this projector can operate in a way similar to a smartphone.  Installed are the basic Google apps most people would need, and there is no “fluff” wasting space.  This is a blessing in that the internal storage available to users is just 2 Gigs.  This could be a moot point.  This is a primarily a projector.  When you factor in how much it does, it doesn’t seem too farfetched to see calling abilities as well. 

                Hardware wise you are looking at a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, clocked at 1.2 GHz, and backed by 1GB of RAM.  Operations are swift, but do not expect flagship responsiveness.  For what it is designed to do, the layout, speed and handling are decent.

                Aesthetics, or as I like to call it “the cool factor,” the Live Pro is not hard on the eyes.  The body is plastic, but I did not find it coming up terribly short in the looks department.  When sitting on a desk, it will draw attention to itself, in a positive light.

The native resolution is 854 x 854 and can be projected up to a 120 inch display on a wall or other surface.  For optimum viewing, the placement range is anywhere from ten niches to ten feet from the surface you are projecting.   Go further and image quality is compromised.

The Live Pro does come with speakers, and it also comes with a somewhat loud fan.  Once it gets going, it tends to soften, but be prepared for a bit of noise.

                Although presented as a device that families and general tech consumers can use, the real application for the device is more suitable for business professionals: in very specific.   

                In situations like small conferences in the field, or in a place where one should bring their own equipment, the LivePro could fill a need.  When I gave it a test run in a real world situation where it would be an appropriate fit, it worked  well.  

The side view of the Live Pro

                The Achilles heel that prevents the LivePro from being a sound choice for pure entertainment are the limitations of the screen.   Projected image quality is not sufficient for viewing video for extended periods.  The quality is acceptable for a power point presentation and a video of brief duration, but not more strenuous activity.   In brief, image quality is decent, but not spectacular. 

                For some educational purposes, such as teachers in remote areas, I could see the LivePro being a real life saver. The only serious caveats are that you should always carry the power cord and confine use to a dark room.  Dim lighting renders images projected simply too pale.

                Once you have answered the question about the practicality of the projector, the second question regards the price points.   Tech like this does not come cheap.

                The full retail price is $ 499.00, which feels a bit high even taking into account its multitasking abilities.  Reducing sticker shock, Sprint offers it at $ 299.00 with a two year service agreement.  There is also a 24 payment option of $ 18.75 with the last being $ 18.74—they are precise.
                Data plans are always shifting.  It just depends time and specials.  When I checked on line the lowest price it was $ 35.00 monthly.  Numbers can add up fast, so make sure you are aware of the long term cost of ownership.
                One idea that struck me was if it was possible to simply buy the LivePro without a service plan.  If you’re primary function is projecting, you could dispense with service plans.
                I did not find anything on the Sprint site offering it without a service plan.  Then again, things change in the mobile world, and there is no harm in asking.
                Advertised as something general consumes may want, the reality of the LivePro is that it is very much a niche product.  If you are a professional on the road in some very specific situations, the LivePro could be the right fit.    Even if it does fit your needs, there are limitations.   As much as I liked the device on one level for its ambitious stance, I felt there were compromises that a nearly $ 500.00 projector should not ask.
 Short battery life, just acceptable image quality and price points that are high, I don’t see this as a mainstream product.  It has a very defined place in the tech market for some very specific needs.
Even though it does just about everything that one would ideally hope for in a projector, that does not make up for some serious limitations that general consumes may not be willing to accept.  
  • Dimensions: 4.7 inches x 4.7 inches x 1.1 inches (120.6mm x 120.6mm x 28.5mm)
  • Weight: 14.1 ounces (400 grams)
  • Display: 4-inch WVGA touchscreen display with 800x480 resolution and Gorilla Glass
  • Projection Display: 10 inches to 10 feet
  • Projector Type: DLP
  • Lamp Brightness: 100 lumens
  • Lamp Life: 20,000 hours
  • Contrast Ratio: 1,000:1
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 or 16:9
  • Battery: 5,000mAh Lithium-ion battery
  • Memory: 4GB internal memory (ROM), 1GB (RAM) microSD™ card slot supports up to 64GB
  • Ports: HDMI; USB

If you enjoy these presentations, check out my web site, Behrmannart for more content.  

If you like art, and want to see more, check out my GoFund Me page, to support this project.
Email me with any questions.

No comments: