Product: Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD
Looking for an iOS device dock that will not only play music and charge your device, but will also double as a projector? Look no further than the Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD. Slightly larger than most iOS device docks, this projector has a built-in dock and was created with those backyard movie nights and impromptu Instagram/photo sharing sessions in mind.
With many of our friends ditching the TV in favor of a projector and pull down screen in their small apartments, I too have considered, with my tiny TV viewing habits and even smaller apartment, what it would be like to free up the space reserved for the TV by using a projector. When I spotted this projector at a recent event, I knew we had to see if this was the entertainment unit of my dreams. With the built-in iOS device dock and speakers, the Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD sounded like exactly what I was looking for.
As you might expect from a device with a dock, setup is fairly easy. The biggest learning curve that I encountered with this device was getting used to actually placing my iOS device in the dock and navigating the menus on the remote to play content. I will be the first to admit that I am pretty spoiled by AirPlay on the Apple TV, so the idea of physically plugging one device into another and not being able to mirror was my biggest frustration/ disappointment. In order to view content from your iOS device that you have docked in the projector, you have very limited options.
You can play content that is in your Photos app on the device, you can play videos from the Video app (so content that you've shot or items purchased in iTunes), and play music and music videos also through iTunes on the device. There are also a few apps like Netflix that will allow you to project, but these are pretty rare, and to view videos the best bet, if using the dock, is to make sure that they are in the Videos app on your device. Of course, like any projector there are also inputs, so if you want to connect your DVD player or say, use the HDMI input for an Apple TV to wirelessly mirror your iOS device, that's a snap.
The speakers are comparable to other midrange iOS device docks and were loud enough to be heard over my rather loud air conditioner. With 2800 lumens, optimal viewing happens when not in direct sun, and in order to really see the HD 720p you want to be in a dimly lit or dark room. The handle made the device easy to relocate from one room to another, as well as to bring along to a neighbor's, and I found it makes for a nice impromptu backyard summer movie night.
Final Thoughts: With a $799 price tag, the Epson MegaPlex MG-850 HD is more suitable for those looking for a projector than a dock. However, with the ideal mounting for many projectors being up high, which defeats the purpose of the dock, the right environment for this device is one where you want your projector to have speakers and pull double duty as a dock.
The MG-850HD Projector is perfect for someone who wants a way to watch the movies on their iOS device on a larger screen and doesn't want to own a TV. The Epson is a nice one-stop solution with integrated speakers, and I used it as often as a dock as I did as a projector. I can see this, for those fortunate enough to have guest rooms, being a great entertainment unit, providing a way to listen to music and share videos with guests visiting with iOS devices.
Pros: Compact design with integrated speakers, iOS device dock lets you charge your device while playing content from it.
Cons: No AirPlay. Playing content without the use of additional peripherals off your iOS device requires it to be docked, which means mounting the projector from the ceiling or up high does not work. Not a mirror, and only certain apps allow for viewing of content when docked.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was purchased/provided by reviewer/manufacturer for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Epson, Joelle Alcaidinho)