When I reviewed the Sony MP-CD1 projector a few months back, I was impressed with the device but left wanting some features. It really felt like a missed opportunity on Sony’s part. The device was great, but it had some weaknesses that could’ve used shoring up.

At first glance, the Canon Rayo S1 seems like a better bet.

Is it though? Read on and find out.

What is the Canon Rayo S1?

The Canon Rayo S1 is a mini projector that boasts a 854 x 480 resolution, with a small lightweight profile (105 X 105 X 20 mm) that comes in at only 240g.

The mini projector gives off a premium feel, with its sleek black and gold coloration. It’s definitely nice to touch and feels like a solidly built device. There are multiple nubs underneath it to give it stability, as well as a capability to mount a tripod for even more added stability. Super stable!

It also boasts 4GB on-board storage, and can also function as a standalone Bluetooth speaker and a 3,800 mAh powerbank.

All the ports, as well as a toggle for the different modes are handily arrayed at the back. Don’t bother looking for it; there’s no HDMI port on the device.

The lack of a HDMI port is a major issue for me against the Canon mini projector, as it basically means a ton of different HDMI-only output devices like consoles aren’t compatible.

It seems to utilize a customized version of Android for its operating system, which can be navigated by the touchpad on the top of the device. It also has Wi-Fi capability, which allows streaming of media from your home network.

Battery life is clocked at a maximum usage of 2 hours, with a downtime of 4 hours to get a full charge. It’s going for SGD$559.

How it fares.

Using the Canon Rayo S1 was pretty intuitive and I didn’t need to consult the menu at all. The touchscreen on top of the device handles navigation, but I found it a bit finicky to use.

Now mind you, I hate touchscreens on notebooks too since they’re rarely as responsive as you’d like and the one of the Canon Rayo S1 isn’t any better.

While the UI is pretty bare bones, it works as well as it should, so it’s not really an issue. Plus, it’s not as if you’re going to be spending a ton of time looking at it anyways.

The mini projector can do some pretty nifty stuff like mirroring the screen on supported devices, which is great if you’re presenting stuff from a notebook or you want to watch Youtube (or Tubi.tv in my case) without fiddling with the built-in browser.

There’s no keystone correction that I’ve noticed with the projector, which means you’ll only want to project the image onto a flat surface. Even then you’ll want to adjust the angle, to really make sure everything’s projected correctly.

Anything else and you’ll get a weirdly angled image, which doesn’t make for a great viewing experience.

You can adjust the sharpness of the image via a handy slider at the side of the projector and finding the optimal sharpness isn’t an issue at all. Images and colors are pretty sharp and vibrant, certainly on par with the Sony MP-CD1 I reviewed earlier.

If you’re using it as a presentation device, the Canon Rayo S1 certainly holds its own. Text is clear no matter the screen size and you can easily make out words even from a decent distance out.

As a movie playing device (which is what most people will use it for), it’s a decent choice, though it’s sub-HD output (which is the same for other premium projectors too) means the picture is a tad blurrier than I’d like.

Like the Sony MP-CD1, the Canon Rayo S1 is a premium mobile projector, with the looks and features to match.

Ironically, the Canon Rayo S1 also shares much of the same weaknesses, the sound being one of them.

The audio really isn’t that loud unless you’re in a quiet room. If you’re watching a movie, you might want to consider plugging in better speakers. On top of that, the volume control buttons aren’t really that responsive.

They’re just nubs at the side of the projector and don’t extrude as much as I’d like. Fumbling for them in the dark is an issue, since you need to really feel for them as they don’t stand out. Luckily, you can hook up a headphone or separate speaker to the projector via the 3.5mm jack to boost the audio.

It’s nice as well to have the Canon Rayo S1 have a built-in powerbank capability though you’ll have to note that it’s NOT a separate unit. You’ll be draining the device when you use it as a powerbank.

It’s clearly not meant to function as your main recharge method (the small capacity is evident of that) but as an emergency recharge device, it probably will come in handy once in a while.

Still, the battery life is a disappointment. The mini projector lasted about 96 mins for me on a full charge. That’s via using the built-in browser to watch Tubi.tv. It’s certainly not as long lasting as the Sony MP-CD1 but not by that much.

The bottom line.

As a mini projector, the Canon Rayo S1 does a ton of things right. Its display is pretty good, there are a ton of different connectivity options, the built-in OS is easy to use and it also has alternate functions beyond just being a mini projector.

However, the lack of a HDMI input is a major oversight, which severely limits the devices that can connect to it. The sound isn’t that great too which is weird because one of its major selling points is its functionality as a Bluetooth speaker.

Of course, the biggest downside is the less than two hours battery life.

You won’t be able to finish some movies with a battery life that short. It’s not a major strike against the device (other projectors also suffer from similarly short battery lives) but there’s definitely room for improvement here.

Would I get it? That depends on what I’d use it for. For presentations and work related matters? Definitely. For other purposes? Not really.

TLDR:

Decent mini projector but some issues (no HDMI, tinny audio, battery life) prevent it from achieving its full potential.

The Good.
– Tons of connectivity options.
– Alternate modes.
– Premium feel.

The Bad.
– Battery life.
– Audio could be better.
– No HDMI.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.