Travelling cinema4 min read . Updated: 26 Aug 2011, 09:56 PM IST
Most mobile phones today can store movies, allowing you to watch them on the go, but the tiny screen and tinny speakers really kill the experience. A 1-inch Gandalf squeaking, “You will not pass!", is not impressive. With the right accessories though, turning your mobile phone into a portable entertainment station is easy enough, and doesn’t require any technological expertise.
The big picture
First up is the screen. Even the biggest smartphones are only 4 inches diagonally, and tablets, up to 10 inches. Watching a movie on these screens is not a great experience, and for a group of people, completely useless. Using a pico projector, you can get a big screen that you can carry in your pocket.
We recommend:Samsung SP-H03, ₹ 14,000
An inch-and-a-half in size, the SP-H03 is rated at 30 lumens and projects a bright, high-contrast screen, reaching a size of 80 inches from a distance of 8ft. It also has a rechargeable battery that works for almost 2 hours, making it even more portable. The lamp is rated for an impressive 30,000 hours of use.
To use, you need a phone with a video out (most phones support this, but require you to buy the cable separately) that you can just plug into the projector directly, and then run the movie on your hand-held.
Second, the sound on smartphones and tablets is usually worse than the screen. Almost all tablets place their speakers in strange corners, leaving them even less useful. While some of them have good sound quality, none can deliver volume. A good set of portable speakers will set that right. The ideal option is wireless speakers, so you don’t need extra cables.
We recommend:Creative D200 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker, ₹ 7,499
There are cheaper portable speaker options such as the Logitech Z120 (1,025), but wireless speakers that connect using Bluetooth allow easy speaker set-up. Connecting them to the phone is as easy as syncing a hands-free set. Creative’s D200 speakers are a good option, offering great clarity at the price. The D200 delivers 18W RMS, loud enough for watching a movie or listening to music.
A few other gadgets can help take the experience from good to great. The first is a Wi-Fi hard disk. A portable device fills up quickly, and it’s impossible to carry your entire library of books, movies and music with you. To get around this limitation, a new generation of Wi-Fi hard drives, which can send files directly to your smartphone without needing a computer as a bridge, are now available.
We recommend:Seagate GoFlex Satellite, Rs10,000
Smartphones and tablets don’t offer more than 64 GB memory. This sounds like a lot till you start filling it up. The Seagate GoFlex Satellite is a 500 GB hard disk drive (HDD) that can hold around 300 HD movies, and stream them to up to three devices connected by Wi-Fi simultaneously. The GoFlex is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, and comes with a free app to access the data on the HDD. It’s simple to set up, and connects to a new device effortlessly.
The next step is to get a battery backup. Smartphone batteries can handle movies, but possibly not after a day of calls. The battery will always die during the best part of the movie. That’s practically a universal rule. Portable batteries are simple inverters—you charge them up at home, and when your phone is low on battery, you simply plug it into the battery pack.
We recommend:ETO 2000/3000/3800/Brute, ₹ 2,450/2,990/3,590/7,450
It adds 4/6/7/12 hours, respectively,of power backup to your smartphone or tablet while you’re on the move. Instead of desperately looking for a power point to plug into when the low-battery indicator pops up, the ETO is a power point you can carry. It is the most compact range of battery backups, and no battery offers backup to match the ETO Brute. These are simple solutions with multiple jacks to charge a wide range of devices.
The final option is wireless connectivity. Since 3G in India is a relatively recent phenomenon, many people with smartphones and tablets don’t have 3G models. If you want to stream music or movies on the move though, a 3G connection can make a big difference. Instead of changing your handset just for this, buying a 3G to Wi-Fi hub makes a lot of sense.
We recommend: ₹ Tata DoCoMo Wi-Fi Hub, ₹ 5,999 plus monthly 750/1,000 for 2 GB/5 GB
If you don’t have a 3G phone or tablet, this device will act as a bridge between your Wi-Fi and 3G. DoCoMo has a higher entry cost than others but offers the best combination of speed (7.2 Mbps) and usage charges. All other cellular networks also offer options, and while DoCoMo has the best entry price, they all offer deals to existing customers, so you should try and find the best deals where possible.