These past few weeks we’ve been getting hands-on with something pretty remarkable. It’s something we never thought we needed, but after using it we’ve definitely been wanting one. The Touchjet Pond is a tiny projector with the capabilities of projecting an 80-inch image on your surface of choice. What’s more, it also turns that surface into a touch-screen, but is something so small worth the £600 asking price?
When the Touchjet Pond arrived, I couldn’t wait to set it up. I opened up the package, plugged it in, and inserted the batteries into the stylus and remote. After pushing the switch a little whirring sound began and my wall lit-up with the little start-up splash image.
After a few seconds I was presented with a very familiar screen… My wall had turned into a giant Android tablet. Already I was impressed. The start-up was fairly quick, setting up was a total breeze, and I was playing with the device in around 5 minutes.
Once you’re all set up and you’ve got your image on the wall, fans of the Android operating system will already be quite familiar with the interface. From the settings app to a number of pre-installed streaming apps, there’s pretty much everything you need to get started using the Pond.
Now, the Touchjet Pond can be used in a number of ways, first, in the home it can be used as the source of the best movie-night you’ve had, as well as offering the biggest game of Angry Birds that you’ve ever played. With access to the Google Play store you can download pretty much everything that you can download on your Android Phone and Tablet, from games, to productivity apps, to drawing apps.
Speaking of which, the Touchjet Pond claims to make any surface a touch-screen, and they’re not wrong, in a sense. In the box you’ll find a remote and two stylus pens. These are the things which turn your wall into a touch screen. So even though they are correct, in a way, they’re not. Using the stylus isn’t as simple as you’d think either as you can’t just draw on the surface like you would a normal pen.
The way the “touch screen” feature works is that when you touch the stylus on the wall, the end emits a little red light, which the main projector can identify and register a touch. What this means is that most of the time you have to hold the stylus at an angle in order for the touch to register, which can make drawing a little awkward. In addition to this, there’s also a button on the stylus which lights up the end, allowing you to use the pen without actually touching the wall, which works much better for games or apps which require more swifter movement, and you’re worried about marking your wall.
While setting up and getting to grips with the TouchJet is relatively simple and easy to understand, it’s optimal environment isn’t as easy to achieve. As you’d expect with a projector, especially one at this size, the room has to be pretty dark in order to clearly see what’s been projected. In addition, the build-in speaker is hardly cinema quality, and despite having it full-whack, can be quite difficult to hear what’s on display.
Once night had fallen, we managed to set up the Touchjet Pond on a tripod placed behind our bed. We loaded up a handful of movies using a USB Stick and began watching. Things were dandy for a few moments, until the built-in fan started whirring away, but not just a little whir, this thing sounded like it was about to take-off.
This meant that hearing the built-in speaker was an effort in itself, so we ended up having to plug-in some external speakers, which worked fine, but the volume range of the device and the speakers we used was hardly adequate thanks to the noisy fan, meaning movie-night was cut short.
We tried a number of configurations using the built-in bluetooth so we could move the speakers away from the projector, as well as a handful of different speakers, but none were quite as loud as this little guy. Fortunately there is a solution.
It seems having the Touchjet Pond plugged in while in use causes the device to get warmer due to the power supply powering the device and charging the in-build battery. Pair that with prolonged use and boom, noisy little projector. Take the power-supply out of the equation and things are much better. The only down-side you have here is that the battery lasts about as long as a single 90-120 minute movie – again, not ideal if you’re planning to make a night of it.
The Touchjet Pond is however an expensive luxury which, at least in our household, would only get seldom use. Where the Touchjet really shines is through educational and business use, the second use-case I mentioned above.
The TouchJet Pond is small enough to be carried around to presentations, its battery does last with fair usage, and it’s easy enough to store away without having to hook up a huge projection kit. It’s fully interactive, and offers away for people, specifically students, to work closer with presentations or demonstrations without the need for a massive dry-erase board.
Though we looked at the device for more personal use around the home, I feel the Touchjet Pond shines more as an educational or business tool. Sure, being able to watch Netflix on an 80-inch display is fantastic, but it requires forethought and not everyone has a huge blank-white wall in their bedroom, like we have.
This review was conducted with a review sample of the Touchjet Pond.