WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector Review

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

Imagine laying in bed, far too lazy to get up... but you're not ready to go to sleep either.  Wouldn't it be cool if you could watch TV or a movie on the ceiling, like some magical picture were to just appear out of nowhere?

Now, rather than just waxing poetic (or spending thousands of dollars on an expensive home theater setup) you can realize that dream with the Cinemin Swivel multimedia pico projector. 

Of course, the possiblities are endless with this little gem and can go far beyond just watching movies - read on to discover all of the entertainment flexibility the Swivel has to offer.

What is the Cinemin Swivel?

No doubt you may have already seen "portable" projectors in action, most likely at work while attending a presentation or a boardroom meeting.  These projectors generally have the footprint of a medium sized laptop computer but are, of course, much thicker and taller.  They can be quite difficult to configure properly but are more well suited to larger rooms.  What if it's only you, though?

The Cinemin Swivel pico projector answers this question.  Very small and pocket-sized, the Cinemin Swivel can be thought of as a portable personal entertainment and multimedia projector - versatile with dozens of usecases.  The Swivel has enough battery power for you to watch most movies all the way through (slightly over two hours) and at a maximum distance of 8 feet can project a screen approximately 60" diagonal.  At shorter distances, the picture is smaller and brighter.  I'm betting that you've already come up with a few ways that you could use this thing... let's see what it looks like.

Unboxing the Cinemin Swivel

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

The Cinemin Swivel comes securely and beautifully packaged in a very informative, nice-looking box with an outer sleeve.

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico ProjectorWowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

Upon opening the box, you are met with a cool semi-transparent protective insert with an old-fashioned movie projector on it.  I love this kind of personal, unique touch to a product's packaging.

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

Upon removing the device, you'll be struck at how totally small it actually is, and the power locked within.  It's not microscopic or anything, but is smaller than a handheld game system and will easily fit in your pocket, and feels heavy and well-assembled.

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Getting Started With the Cinemin Swivel

I was pretty eager at this point to get this pint sized movie theater up and running.  Fortunately, pretty much everything you need to connect virtually any video source is included in the box.

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

Of course, you'll want to get charged up first... fortunately, the projector comes with several power adapter attachments allowing you to charge the device around the world... making this great kit for travelers, road warriors, and globe trotters.  The plug attachments clip right on to the relatively small wall brick.

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

Once you're charged and ready to go, you'll find that one of the greatest things about the Swivel is the ease with which you can get it set up and running.  In the photo above, you'll see the cables that ship with the Cinemin - a USB adapter (for the charger,) an iPhone sync cable, a standard composite cable adapter (for connecting other video sources such as game systems, DVD players, etc.) and a cable to connect your iPhone or iPod Touch from the special connector to the Cinemin. Finally, you will also receive a nice padded slipcase fit exactly for the Swivel so you may transport it without harm (not pictured.)

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

Note that while the Cinemin Swivel will display any video source from the composite video adapter, it's optimized for use with the iPod or iPhone with the included adapter.  The included adapter is super easy to use - just plug it into the bottom of your iPod Touch or iPhone and then connect the video/audio cable that is supplied into the connector, then into the Cinemin.  Video sources from the device, including YouTube videos, video podcasts, movies, TV shows, etc. will show up.

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico ProjectorWowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

Also note that you won't have to wade through any confusing menus or setup screens.  Just attach and go.  The only thing you'll have to adjust for the picture is the focus, which is made relatively easy via the knob on the top of the unit near the lens.  You can also tweak the volume using the buttons on the other side - the Cinemin Swivel will automatically output sound via its internal speaker if you wish.  The internal speaker is functional, but not very loud, so I would strongly recommend a pair of headphones for the ultimate experience.

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Using the Cinemin Swivel Pico Projector - So Many Possibilities

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Right away, I can think of tons of ways to use the Cinemin Swivel pico projector.  Here's a list of what I've come up with so far, but how many can you cook up?

  1. Traveling salespeople could use it for mobile presentations
  2. Karaoke anywhere!
  3. To watch a movie while out camping
  4. Take to the locker room to review plays on video before the game
  5. Digital Graffiti and movable art
  6. A mobile photo slideshow - no more family members crowding around your smartphone
  7. Lazily watching a move in bed that is projected on the ceiling 

Admittedly, the very first thing I tried with the Swivel was #7 - watching a movie on the ceiling.  My experience was awesome with a few very minor quirks.  The picture quality was excellent for such a small projector - remember that it will not be as bright as a full size projector, but that is the compromise that must be made to achieve good battery life and a compact size. 

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

That being said, the picture quality at an 8" distance is fantastic, with good colors, great motion, and more than adequate brightness.  The Cinemin Swivel is equally impressive at short distances.  Also, don't lose sight of the namesake feature - the swiveling mechanism built into the projector is solid and adds tons of flexibility in terms of where and how it can project an image.

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

The photo you see above was exactly what I saw when laying on my bed watching the Cinemin.  Of course, it's really hard to capture in a photo what it's like to watch.  It achieves the perceived effect of "depth" that you just don't get from a small screen. 

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

One of the difficulties I had was ensuring that the picture did not wobble if I moved on the bed, a difficult task considering that it needs to be right next to you to project directly in front of your view.  A good solution is to place it on an end table.  Also, as I mentioned before, the internal speaker is a great addition but not quite loud enough to really enjoy a movie.  Thus, I would recommend an external speaker system or headphones for this purpose.

Conclusions

Overall, my time with the Cinemin Swivel was far too short - I could have watched dozens of movies on it over the next few weeks and never have gotten bored.  Rest assured that the Cinemin Swivel is NOT a gimmick - it's a very usable device that makes it easy to get the "big screen" experience in your home without breaking your back, your brain, or your bank account.  In addition to being used to watch movies and TV, it's got countless other practical and entertaining uses.

WowWee Technologies Cinemin Swivel DLP Pico Projector

To truly enjoy the Cinemin Swivel, it's important to understand what it is and it is not.  It isn't a full size projector, and isn't trying to be.  Thus, to compare it to one would be unfair.  The Swivel, for its size, is an impressive media projector that truly makes it easy to enjoy using in everyday life - all for a very affordable price.  The picture, while not equal to a $5,000 HD home theater projector, is very impressive and a pleasure to behold, and the portability is beyond compare.

The Cinemin Swivel is ideal for a number of people - travelers, backpackers, salespeople, artists, movie lovers on a budget, gamers, and more.  The Swivel can be pre-ordered now for $349.99 USD, and RoboCommunity members are entitled to a special exclusive coupon!  Click here for more details.

[View Specifications and Features of the Cinemin Swivel Pico Projector]

[Pre-Order or Purchase the Cinemin Swivel]

Comments

roschler's picture

Nice article Peter.

UK/Europe folk can also get the unit at Red5:

http://www.red5.co.uk/Wowwee-Cinemin-Swivel-pr-829.html

Is there any way to use it as a "live" projector? That is, plug into an input on the device and send it video and have it be projected in real time?

-- roschler

Peter Redmer's picture

Do you mean from a laptop/PC?  If so, then it seems the answer is yes, based on WowWee's website:

Connecting a laptop or netbook to Swivel requires additional cables
or converters, depending on your particular computer model. Consult
your computer’s user manual and ensure that it has video-out
functionality; not all do.

For laptops/netbooks with S-Video
Use an S-Video & Stereo Audio to RCA Converter (SVHS to 3 RCA)

For laptops/netbooks with VGA
The Cinemin Swap accessory (sold separately) is a compact powered box which converts VGA to an analog AV signal

For laptops/netbooks with DVI or mini-DVI
The signal will first need to be converted to VGA, S-Video, or Composite (a variety of cables are generally available), and then to the above connectors

In contrast, though, the iPhone (which I tested) doesn't output video of the OS; only when it's actually playing video.  So, I think it depends on the device, too.

 

Jenn Stubbs's picture

Peter, I am going to Uganda on November 4th to The Village of Hope Orphanage to work with some of Africa's most traumatized children. Most of them have never even seen themselves in a mirror, much less on video. I want to get my hands on one of Cinemin Swivels to take with me to show these children themselves. Any thoughts? Any chance the manufacturer might consider donating one to the cause? Thanks!!

Peter Redmer's picture

@Jenn - That sounds like a wonderful idea! Check your private message inbox.

GWJax's picture

Great Article Commander, One thing I think that it could be hacked into is the Wall-E U-Command or the Ultimate Wall-E. That would top these robots outs with this unit.

If anyone has a chance to get one, Id love to see it cracked opened and check out the light source for this. I wounder if it's one of those super bright white LEDs or a lamp. Thinking of a lamp I would assume that this would generate a lot of heat and requiring a cooling fan but I see no fan on this unit. Did you Commander?

Jax

Peter Redmer's picture

I don't think there is a fan inside, if there is, it's noiseless and very small! And, judging by the outer casing, I'm not sure where the air would eject from...

GWJax's picture

roschler said: Is there any way to use it as a "live" projector? That is, plug into an input on the device and send it video and have it be projected in real time? -- roschler

roschler, from what I see and have read the unit will project live audio and video since it uses the s-video connector or a set of RCA adapters. To me it seems to act like a TV set that is connected to a DVD,VCR, or what ever you your using. Now for the sound if using it as a large projector I would set up a an audio amp via the RCA connectors for the right and left audio and use some external speakers.

One question for you Commander, How dark does the room need to be to project it's largest viewing size or can you still view the picture in a standard lit room?

Jax

Micro Projector 5's picture

These rock but the second generation ones are going to be a lot better
http://wiki.microprojector5.co.uk

GWJax's picture

I want one of those laser pico's, that would be so cool to hack it into an R2D2..

Jax

Micro Projector 5's picture

totally awesome Idea, plus the laser one's auto focus so you could even animate him and they would focus on wherever r2 pointed it!

tfccbrenda's picture

Where do I get one of the attachments: cinemin swap? I need it for my laptop and have a critical use in early January.

agus's picture

Hi, have you got any answers abotu the cinema swap; if not, i´ll appreciate if you tell me how you fixed this.
Thankss a lot......

Lazary's picture

I have a cinemin swivel projector but after a first use, I charged it and didn't work anymore. If someone knows how can I fix it, please tell me. The support page doesn't work.
Thank you.

Lazary's picture

I have a cinemin swivel projector but after a first use, I charged it and didn't work anymore. If someone knows how can I fix it, please tell me. The support page doesn't work.
Thank you.

Jack7268's picture

I have a Cinemin Swivel and purchased the Swap to connect it to my PC. I click FN + F8 but can't get the signal to go to the device. My laptop screen says "presentation mode is disabled". Any help on how to get the signal to Swivel.

tfiser's picture

I bought this for my husband. I see some people got at least one movie out of it. My husband opened it today and it doesn't even work. What a rip off. Thanks Brookstone for the $300 dud. It was a real nice anniversary present for my husband today.