For anyone researching mini projectors, you’re bound to notice that there’s more differences between the lighting technologies used than you can shake a stick at.
The main two light sources used in modern mini projectors is not a bulb as such, they usually super bright LEDs or Lasers.
The difference between LED or Laser light sources
The two are technically very different light sources, yet sometimes they are confused for each other which is mostly due to the marketing department of mini projector producers misunderstanding the difference themselves.
A Laser is a monochromatic (meaning a single wavelength or color) optical source that emits a coherent beam of photons in a narrow beam. They they are employed in mini projectors is usually with a tiny motorized reflective surface that can distribute the beam very quickly across a large area so as to produce an image. Multiple lasers are usually involved to produce a full spectrum of color combinations.
LEDs (light emitting diodes) on the other hand are an incoherent beam of light that can go in many directions, not just a narrow beam. While the super bright LEDs in your common mini projector are focused into a narrow beam and operate in a similar way to Lasers by way of DLP technology, they are not lasers.
The other major difference is the power consumption, a true Laser (measured in W) requires a lot more power than an LEDs (measured in mW).
So is LED or Laser better for mini projectors?
Strictly speaking you’d probably get a more precise picture with a Laser driven projector at the sacrifice of power consumption. Additionally a laser guided image will always be in focus.
To the naked eye however, Super Bright LEDs that are found in modern mini projectors give out much higher levels of brightness and therefore appear sharper again.
If you’re after the best picture clarity and brightness combination we suggest looking at Super Bright LED driven DLP mini projectors.