Family vacations create the opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones, transforming moments into precious lifelong memories.
Recently I was thrilled to discover that keeping my children entertained while on vacation and at home was now easier with the ASUS ZenBeam E1. The ZenBeam E1 is a neat little portable projector that makes it easy to share memories - viewing photographs and videos from your vacation, or keeping the kids amused with a movie or YouTube video during those long waits or rainy days.
The ASUS ZenBeam E1 easily connects to game consoles, HDMI and MHL-enabled mobile devices, tablets and computers. In other words, the ZenBeam projects movies, videos, pictures, games or work documents from your smartphone, tablet, game console or computer to any flat surface. Connecting the ZenBeam to your media device is as simple as plug-and-play (with the right connection cables) which suits me perfectly as things that are too difficult, often get pushed to the side and forgotten.
Perfect for travelling
The ZenBeam is surprisingly compact, very lightweight (only 307 grams) with a slim, sleek design, making it ideal for travelling. Important components are protected by a durable outer shell offering peace of mind. The ZenBeam lens features a slide-back design which clicks into place to protect the lens. A protective leather case is included for transportation. The ZenBeam is so small I could comfortably fit it into my pocket and it would easily fit into any camera bag. That’s particularly helpful because I already have so much luggage when travelling with kids.
In addition to all of this, the ZenBeam doubles up as a safety device, operating as a flashlight emitting a steady white light or as an emergency light, emitting a flashing white light - ideal if you get lost when hiking.
What I liked about the ZenBeam
The built-in 2W speakers are one of my favourite ZenBeam features. This means you do not need to bring additional audio equipment, although there is a built-in audio port if you wish to hook it up to external speakers or headphones. The volume on the internal speakers can be adjusted; soft when you don’t want to disturb others or loud enough that viewers within a 2-3 metre radius can hear adequately.
Sometimes it’s the little things that matter. As such, I like the rubber feet under the projector which keeps the picture stable. A tripod adaptor is located along the bottom of the projector, so if you have a tripod you can safely and easily position the projected image to suit your environment.
Buttons located along the top of the ZenBeam are intuitive and I found it easy to adjust the volume, colour, contrast, and more, quickly and easily. Zoom and focus functions take only a few seconds to adjust.
Benefits of a portable projector for families
The ZenBeam E1 offers a number of practical uses for families. We often travel with friends, so the ZenBeam projector is a convenient way to share the memories captured over the vacation in the evening, while trying to settle the kids down.
In addition, the ZenBeam can be integrated into many aspects of everyday family life. I love the idea of creating an outdoor cinema to relax and enjoy the latest movies with the kids during the warmer summer months. Or if the weather is too warm (like in my case) my kids helped create an outdoor cinema inside the house using a simple white sheet. Then we kicked up our feet for a fun movie night with popcorn and snacks.
The projector can be used for family events like my mother’s upcoming 60th birthday where we can project a collection of digital photos at the party for friends and family to enjoy.
Running power of the ZenBeam (a little room for improvement)
The ZenBeam comes with a 6,000mAh battery, which according to ASUS can provide up to 5 hours of projection time. While that may be the case when utilising the projector on limited settings, I experienced 2.5 hours of run time with the volume and brightness at their highest settings, which is still long enough to watch a typical movie without interruption.
ASUS also boast that the ZenBeam can double as a power bank for your mobile device. I was unable to do this, as my smartphone only has one MHL port which was connected to the projector to run the movie. Thus this port would only be useful if you have the projector connected to another tablet or computer at the same time.
I found the length of time it took to recharge the ZenBeam a little on the slow side. From empty until fully charge (indicated by a green light) it took over 2.5 hours. The projector will work while plugged in, however you will need to ensure that you have a power source nearby which defeats the portability aspect, should you need it for longer than 2.5 hours.
Overall, the ZenBeam E1 offers a portable, affordable entry-level projector that will effortlessly fit into family life at home and on the road. Whether you pop it into your pocket, bag or suitcase, it won’t weigh you down. And with plug-and-play ease, the only question you’ll have to ask is who’s choosing the movie?