As more of us shoot videos with our smartphones, plenty of videos are now being shot vertically instead of horizontally. This isn’t a problem per se, but since the dawn of watching moving pictures, our video programming has been horizontal. Movies screens are horizontal. TV is horizontal. Yet people keep shooting their videos vertically. It can be annoying when you see one replayed on TV, but tech company Acer realised that perhaps people do not mind watching their videos vertically on their phones. So Acer has released a projector, the C250i (US$499.99), that is aimed at smartphone users. The projector is designed to display video either vertically or horizontally. Design and hardware The C250i is an amazing little projector with a unique design. It looks more like a large beer can than a projector. Epson EH-TW7000 home cinema projector review One end of the projector has a control panel and power button, while the opposite end has the input and output ports as well as the power input. There is a duplicate power input on the side so the projector can be situated vertically or horizontally, while the ends of the cylinder are flat. It’s 12-sided, which allows the user to put in on the floor or a table and rotate it until the image is in the right spot. Connections The C250i makes it very easy to connect your phone, tablet or computer wirelessly. When it boots up, you are presented with a home screen with icons showing the various ways you can connect. The choices include Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Bluetooth (for music only), EZCast, a USB flash drive, or via HDMI cable or USB-C cable. With the included remote control, you select your source and the next screen has clear instructions on what you need to do next. My first attempt to project was with my iPhone, so I chose iOS on the projector’s home screen. I was then instructed to join a point-to-point Wi-fi network transmitted by the projector. Once I did that, I could go to my iPhone’s control centre and touch the button to mirror my phone’s screen and then choose the projector as the destination. My phone’s screen appeared on the wall. Since I was holding my phone vertically, it appeared vertically, but when I rotated the phone 90 degrees, the image on my phone’s screen and on the wall also rotated to a horizontal widescreen image. One thing to note: I was not able to play Netflix, SlingTV or YouTube videos wirelessly from my iPhone to the C250i. They simply did not play. When I connected my MacBook Pro via HDMI, all the streaming video services played correctly. And one other note: If you connect to the projector wirelessly, you are using Wi-fi from your device to the projector, which means you cannot use Wi-fi to connect to the internet. Performance and battery life The C250i was very simple to set up and use. It has two tripod adaptors, but it’s designed to be laid on its side on a table. Once you get the picture on the wall or screen where you will watch, the projector automatically squares up the image (this is called keystone). The projector has one five-watt speaker, which is fine for viewing in a small room, but when the unit is powered on, there is a fan that runs. During quiet times in the audio, you’ll hear the fan. You can connect your own speakers through the projector’s headphone jack. The LED produces up to 300 lumens, which isn’t bad for a portable projector, but I’d recommend using it in a darkened room for best results. For reference, a similarly priced home theatre projector produces 2,500 lumens. The lens is easy enough to focus manually with a small thumb wheel. The C250i has a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, and can produce a 100-inch diagonal image, while the projector has a battery that Acer says will run for five hours. I’m not sure whether my loaner unit had a tired battery, but after an hour it was nagging me to connect the power cable. My advice is to keep it plugged in. Small, light, self-adjusting orientation, many connection options … I could find a lot of uses for this unique projector Conclusion This projector is unique, and I really liked using it. It got a bit dim at the maximum image size, but bringing it a bit closer to the wall resulted in a smaller but much brighter image. The speaker isn’t going to knock you over with sound, but for a small meeting or watching videos with friends, it’ll do just fine. This isn’t the type of projector you buy for a permanent installation. This is a projector you can toss in its included carrying bag and take with you. The fact that it can automatically adjust the image for vertical or horizontal projection is a big plus. Pros: Small, light, self-adjusting orientation, many connection options. Cons: Not the brightest. Speaker is a bit small. Bottom line: I could find a lot of uses for this unique projector.