Asus has debuted the ZenBeam Latte L1 portable projector as part of its “Be Ahead” product launch at the online-only CES 2021 expo. The mug-sized, battery powered unit with a built-in speaker is designed for streaming YouTube videos or games inside or outside the home.
Where portable projectors have previously been designed for mobile entertainment, the contemporary look of the Latte L1 is geared towards use in the home too, with Asus seeing tension over who gets to use the main living-room TV eased by family members being able to take their own big-screen entertainment into other rooms in the house.
The portable projector has about the same proportions as a 16-fl-oz coffee cup and looks a bit like a Bluetooth speaker. Indeed, it does have a 10-W speaker inside that benefits from Harmon Kardon sonic profiling and three different audio modes tuned for watching movies, listening to music or playing games. The speaker is driven by smart amp technology for the promise of distortion-free audio even at higher volumes.
The outer shell is covered in a fabric mesh, which Asus says not only helps with heat dissipation but also improves the tactile experience, and results in better sound penetration. The projector’s “eye” sits at the top, and the upper face is home to physical controls, which allow users to tap into the included Aptoide TV platform and choose from more than 2,500 entertainment apps, including YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix. There are also games hosted on the platform.
Users can also serve up content via the handheld remote, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for on the Aptoide platform, the Latte L1 has HDMI and USB inputs and wireless mirroring capabilities too.
Asus is promising 720p image quality at 40 diagonal inches from just over 3 ft (1 m) away from the wall, though the projector can manage up to 120 inches. And there’s an integrated kickstand for elevating the projected image, or the unit can be mounted to a tripod. The 300 lumens output will likely prove a little lacking when competing with room lighting, but draw the curtains and twist the dimmer and you should be good to go.
Asus says that users can look forward to “whisper-quiet operation compared to conventional compact projectors,” and the internal 6,000-mAh battery is reported good for up to three hours per charge in eco mode, or up to 12 hours if the device is used as a Bluetooth speaker only.
And that’s about all that Asus is giving away at this time. The portable projector is due for North American release in Q2 of this year. More details, including pricing, will be available then.
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