ASUS ZenBeam S2 portable LED projector
4.6Overall Score
Name: ASUS ZenBeam S2 portable LED projector
Price (RRP): $999
Manufacturer: ASUS

As part of my travel kit, I normally carry a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. That way I can kick back in the hotel room at the end of the day and sent Netflix from my computer to the hotel TV. Assuming I can reach the TV’s HDMI input.

What I’d really like to do is replace it with the ASUS ZenBeam S2 portable LED projector.

ASUS ZenBeam S2 Features

The ASUS ZenBeam S2 projector is a tiny little thing, but you can use it to project a large image on a convenient wall or (better yet) screen. ASUS says that it suits a screen size of 40 inches or 60 inches at the lower end (it depends which promo material you read) up to 120 inches. Yet the projector itself is only 120mm by 120mm by 35mm tall and weighs a hair under 500 grams. It comes with a neat padded zip bag, so it’s highly totable.

And truly portable … for a while. Included with the projector is a mains power supply, but built in is a 6,000mAh, 22Wh battery. The output of the projector is rated at 500 lumens. On the battery it runs at 200 lumens for two hours, or 50 lumens for 3.5 hours.

You can use the ASUS ZenBeam S2 as a power bank, too, if required.

921,600 Microscopic Mirrors

The light engine is LED-based with a rated life of 30,000 hours. For all practical purposes, that’s forever. It uses DLP technology to form the image.

DLP uses (usually) one chip, called a Digital Micromirror Device. Instead of light being transmitted through pixels which can be opaque or transparent, as with an LCD projector, light is reflected off the chip’s surface. Each pixel is formed by a microscopic aluminium mirror which is hinged at one end. The signal causes the mirror to tilt up by 17 degrees redirecting the light.

(Does that seem almost unbelievable? Well, it does to me, too, and I’ve been writing about DLP for probably twenty years. The important this is that it works.)

The ASUS ZenBeam S2 projector uses a 0.3-inch DMD with 720p resolution. That’s 1,280 by 720 pixels. I haven’t done much with projectors of less than 1080p resolution for perhaps a decade, so I was interested to see what effect that would have on the picture quality. Texas Instruments does now have a 1080p DMD that’s nearly as small, but it would likely take a major redesign (and price boost) to fit it in to a ZenBeam.

ASUS ZenBeam S2 connections and controls

The ASUS ZenBeam S2 is remarkably well-endowed with connections. It has a HDMI input with support for signals up to 1080p60. (It also works with such signals as 576i50 and 1080i50, even though the manual doesn’t mention them.)

It also has a USB Type-C port, which supports USB 3.1 and meets Gen 2 standards. That means DisplayPort compatibility. You can plug in some modern computers for display that way.

It has a USB Type-A socket, the sole purpose of which is to supply power for other devices. And there’s a 3.5mm audio output socket for headphones or external speakers.

The projector does actually have 2 watt stereo speakers built in.

And the projector supports dual band Wi-Fi, but only in a limited way. It won’t connect to your Wi-Fi network. Instead, it’s for direct connections via Miracast or Wi-Di, which should be available on most modern Android phones and Windows 10 computers.

On the bottom is a quarter inch screw mount, compatible with camera tripods. There’s also a low, two-position stand to raise the front of the projector. On the top are the control buttons. A small remote control is included.