Oh, Hammacher Schlemmer. “Offering the Best, the Only, and the Unexpected for 161 Years,” the Hammacher catalog is more fun than the first time you discovered choose-your-own-adventure books. The first time, when you flip madly through the pages, back and forth, making snap decisions about which door to take, then you get to page 74 and it says YOU HAVE DIED and you cry and throw the book away and never read again. The same thing happens with Hammacher. At first you’re ecstatic. “The only digital camera swim mask?!” you exclaim. “Paroxysms of ecstasy have verily consumed me!” And then you find this.
Why It Should Be Cool:
Pretty simple, really. It’s a projector that you can hook up to stuff with small screens so you can see it better, or you could carry it in your laptop case with you to give on-the-fly presentations. It is, in the words of Hammacher’s description, “like having a flatscreen monitor tucked into your pocket”.
Why It’s Not Cool:
Besides the fact that anyone who shows up at a conference and whips one of these out is going to be immediately branded an epic tool and no one’s going to pay attention to them anyway, there are some teensy problems that become apparent when one reads the specs on this thing. First is the resolution. 640 x 480. For the technologically challenged among you, that’s shitty. On my monitor, it works out to a (non-widescreen) rectangle about 6 x 4.5 inches. It says it’ll project up to a 20″ screen, which works out to 40 pixels per inch. In case you don’t do Photoshop and that doesn’t mean anything, that’s about a quarter of the clarity you’re getting from an iPod. It also has a contrast ratio of 20:1, which is quite literally 250 times worse than a normal monitor. That’s like the difference in horsepower between a Bugatti Veyron and a lawn mower. Finally, the low low price you’ll be forking over for this shit brick is $300. You can get equally small projectors that are better in every way for quite a bit less.
If you want technology that the 80s would laugh at for more cash than the cutting edge, go for it.