Family Movie Night Al Fresco {3M Mobile Projector Review & Giveaway}

Wow! That was so much fun! We need to do that again.

Those are the things we were saying at the end of the night last night. We had just finished enjoying an entirely new experience. We watched a movie on a huge screen in our own backyard.

It was so much fun! We lounged in Adirondack chairs (made by Tim), snacked on Kettle Corn (made by me) and enjoyed peanut M&M’s (clearly sent from above). All the while we enjoyed a wonderful springtime seabreeze and had an incredible view of the starry night sky.

movie night 2b

Oh, and the movie was great too! We watched Seven Days in Utopia on NetFlix. It’s a great movie and had nothing at all to offend the family nature of the night.

All Made Possible by the 3M™ Mobile Projector

movie night 4This tiny projector, about the size of a walkie-talkie, has a (removable) rechargeable battery and plugs into your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

If we didn’t insist on a louder external speaker (plugged in through a headphone jack on the projector), we could have run the whole thing completely “unplugged” because the projector has its own built-in speaker.

The Screen and Picture

We hung a huge white sheet up under the market umbrella that lives permanently on our back deck. A few strategically placed metal clips and bungee cords and the “screen” was really pretty great. We didn’t notice the few wrinkles at all and the little bit of motion from blowing in the wind actually added to the ambiance!

We set the projector, the iPad and the speaker on a barstool about 9″ from the screen. The result was a HUGE picture almost 6′ wide. Larger than an 80″ TV.

movie night 1b

The picture clarity was surprisingly great, especially after it got really dark out. I guess you can’t call it HD on a sheet blowing in the wind, but even the text in the credits was clear and legible.

You know what was really cool? The beam of light shining from the projector. Little dust particles and bugs would get lit-up flying through it and it made the whole thing so “vintage” movie-like. Reminded me of the projectors we had in elementary school.

Other Uses and Ideas

You can buy an optional cord for this projector that allows you to project anything from your computer screen. That pretty much opens up a whole world of options. But we didn’t have that cord.

Without it, the projector only works for your Apple device. iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. And it doesn’t simply reflect what’s on your iPad screen. It displays the following (that I know of):

  • Photo slide shows from your photo gallery
  • Videos from YouTube
  • Videos from the NetFlix app including TV shows and movies
  • Movies in iTunes

But believe me, that’s enough to make it one great little gadget. Here are a few ideas we’ve had:

  • Use it at craft shows or trade shows to display images of your work in a slideshow
  • Set it up in your creative space with a slideshow of inspiring photos
  • Bring it to the beach and have a movie night on the beach! Hang a sheet on your car for a screen.
  • Take it camping and watch videos in your tent!

The possibilities are endless.

The speaker isn’t very loud and you can’t project a picture very far (or large) in bright surroundings. The more space between the projector and the screen surface (which can be anything white-ish) the darker it has to be in the room/outside.

The sound issue is easily solved through the headphone jack connected to external speakers or headphones. (get a headphone y-splitter and two people can use headphones together). The brightness/dark-room issue is pretty just much the way it is with projectors.

Overall, for a package so small and so simple, I’m pretty impressed.

And boy did we have fun. We’ll be doing that again very soon!

Win a $150 Target Gift Card

You can win a $150 Target Gift Card. Leave a comment below telling me how you do family movie nights.


No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post.
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post.
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 5/21/12 – 6/29/12.

Be sure to visit the 3M Mobile Projector brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!


  1. says

    The backyard movie sounds really cool!

    We are cramped for space, and so must do a movie indoors. Popcorn for the big folks, a chip or two for the littlest and a snuggle on the couch. We recently introduced our two boys to E.T. and they loved it!

  2. says

    We usually just rent a movie from Redbox, cuddle up on the couch with the kids and enjoy. This looks like much more fun and could be great for our summer camping trips!

  3. Kelly says

    Outdoor movies would be SO much fun, but we’ve never had the right equipment to make it happen. We usually spread out a blanket on the floor and order pizza and make popcorn and let the kids eat in the living room on the floor, what a treat! 😉

  4. says

    This sounds like the best family movie night ever! Would love to win! Maybe a good idea for my son’s birthday party? Hmm! Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. heidi greer says

    friday night is family movie night. it’ the one night where we all just sit and chill out, spend time together as a family. we live for friday nights!

  6. says

    Mama and I love to watch old classics. A little buttery popcorn and the DVD player allows us to enjoy a different movie every tursday night. If we had this neat little projector we could invite the kids, grand kids and the “greaty” ones to a backyard lolipuloosa!! Who says you’re too old!! Be a great way to remember and share memories of going to the drive-in with family no longer here.

  7. DianeM says

    I would sooooo love to do outdoor movies! We have a long garage right next to our patio that would work perfectly…actually watching a HUGE Yankee game would be fun too! Movie nights at our house are done inside – pizza, soda (a very rare treat for the kids) & we each take turns picking the movie for the week – I spare the 2 guys anything too sappy but my picks usually are the more ‘nerdy’ ones lol. Thanks for the giveaway!
    Smiles, DianeM

  8. Amy Poller says

    I’ve always wanted to set up an outdoor movie space for those hot Texas summers when it’s only bearable outside when the sun goes down.

  9. says

    We LOVE to do family movie nights. In fact, we did so last night. Not as cool as if we had done one outside, though. We watched The Adventures of Tin-Tin. Kids had chocolate milk, and we let them eat on the sofa. (something, we don’t usually let them do.)

  10. laura says

    We like to throw a bunch of blankets on the floor and get a bunch of snacks. Each week someone different gets to choose the movie and we snuggle in and enjoy!

  11. says

    My children are all grown up now so family movie night is just my husband and I now. It’s a pretty simple night…but popcorn is a must.

    But as my grandkids get older that will be changing. I can’t wait to try something like your outdoor movie!

  12. sharon says

    Family Movie Nites – we rotate who gets to choose. Then we have make your own ice cream sundaes and popcorn with M&Ms tossed in (for that sweet/salty taste). Would love to try the outdoor movie with family and friends.

  13. says

    What a fun way to do movie night. Lately we’ve done ours indoors, many times huddled around the computer monitor (Amazon movie rentals). It’s cozy for the hubby and me. We’re cool with that.

  14. says

    This is great! We’ve done the “backyard drivein” with a power point projector borrowed from Hubby’s employer, but we have to plan way ahead and never know if work will trump our reservation on it. We built a screen out of pvc and leftover tyvek house wrap – it is very durable and nicely reflective, so we get a nice bright picture. We even found the old “drive in” animations to do intermission – we run the whole thing off the laptop.

  15. Sally P says

    Our movie nights are in our living room with my two daughters – just love spending time together :)

  16. says

    We go to a campgrounds every year that has a big screen and projector. Movie night outdoors is the best and we always have ice cream. I love the idea of having your own projector and hanging a sheet from the car to watch movies. That would be a blast!

  17. Traci says

    What a fabulous sweepstakes! We had outdoor movie night for the kids in our neighborhood last year and they are all asking about it again for this summer…..what a fabulous addition a projector would be! Fingers crossed!!

  18. cindi m says

    definitely pop some popcorn w lots of butter and salt, turn on our big tv w surrounds sounds and recline in the theatre seating we have. FUN!!!

  19. Jennyroo says

    My family always does movie night in the basement on the bigscreen tv. We’ve never tried outside before, but now I really really want to!

  20. says

    We have actually used another device for outdoor movie nights, it was borrowed and I thrilled to see an affordable option like this! What a great party this would be.
    Our family movie nights consist of snuggling on the sofa with the latest release, still a great time to be together:>)

  21. Kim says

    Our movie nights are boring compared to what they could be with this device. I love the idea of craft shows and displaying your own work. The ideas are endless! My kids would not need snacks if we watched movies outside & they could run around.

  22. Kate says

    This is on our summer bucket list!!! Family/friends and a great movie what could be better!!:) thanks!

  23. tenika says

    we have the tiniest backyard so an outdoor bit isn’t possible but we have a “sleep over” type where we bring all of our blankets & pillows & lie on the floor as we watch the latest kid movie that’s come out.

  24. Kim says

    Friday nights – curled up on the couch with some popcorn and a bottle of wine for my husband and me! Best way to watch a movie!

  25. Jessica says

    We do Netflix night. Let the kiddos camp in the living room or all pile in our bed and watch a movie. If its cool enough we pile them outside the bounce house and let them watch on the iPad. How cool it would be to projr t it on the house.

  26. Karen L. says

    We’ve had campsite movie nights. This projector would be great for that–and a lot easier than carrying a big projector along!

  27. Nicole T says

    We sometimes all huddle around our little fire pit and watch a movie on our portable dvd player. It’s a small screen, but the kids still love it!

  28. Cheryl Walker says

    Would love to do backyard movies! We have a great new place now where we would actually have space :)

  29. says

    We don’t own a TV, but we got a large monitor for our desktop computer. Most of our family movie nights involve Netflix or a Redbox DVD. Occasionally, though, we cuddle up in our king sized bed and watch something on a laptop. Great fun, either way!

  30. says

    My favorite movie nites don’t happen all the time,. It is when I get to visit my granddaughter and we snuggle on the couch with popcorn and get to watch a movie we love.

  31. says

    Movie night occurs at least once a week at my house, but I have been dying to host a ‘drive-in’ movie night in our backyard. There is only one problem…we have no way to project the movie. Kind of a key component! this would be perfect and the size would make it so easy to store when the night is over. I need this 3M projector! :)

  32. GM says

    Our movie nights use family films that both the adults and kids should enjoy. We make popcorn, pile up on the couch, and enjoy ourselves.

    satsukirebel AT gmail DOT com

  33. says

    I love family movie night. My son and daughter takes turn picking a movie to watch (limited to 1 per night though). I’m always the one who prepare the snacks and drinks for our fun night cuddling on the couch.

    Amy [at] utry [dot] it

  34. says

    Our favorite way to do movie night is to plop on the couch after we’ve grabbed a bowl of popcorn!! Thanks for a chance to win and have a great day!

  35. says

    We usually pick something up at the video store for movie night and pile up in the basement to watch it. But! “Have an outdoor movie night” is on my summer bucket list! So I definitely need one of these little guys!

  36. Heather says

    Popcorn, candy, and lots of pillows make the perfect movie night around here! Love the idea of doing this outside. Maybe even on a summer camp out. Great gadget!

  37. says

    Movies nights are done with popcorn, herbal tea or sometimes soda and some kind of chocolate. We gather on the couch or sometimes in my bed and watch cuddled up together. Even the teenager. LOL!

  38. Tammy says

    I would love to use this for my son’s 16th birthday. We’re taking him and 8 friends to our cabin in the woods. Imagine putting up a large sheet, lots of lounge chairs, homemade popcorn and snacks, a nearby bonfire. Could be a fantastic way to watch a fun movie!

  39. says

    We just do movie night in our living room like normal. Your sounds so fun — I want to do that when we have a yard!

    Thanks for the chance to win! :)

  40. Dee says

    Our favorite way to do family movie night is to order pizza and pop popcorn! We also bring out the sleeping bags for extra comfort :)

  41. Jessie C. says

    Our family movie night always has board games, pizza/desserts and a great movie to enjoy together.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  42. anash says

    we dont do many movie nights as a family , however we do many family reading nights! Thanks for a super giveaway!

  43. Leann Lindeman says

    It is just my husband and I now… we will sometimes do movie night on Saturday! we have a nice comfy sofa recliner, so we are laid back.. nice and relaxed.

  44. Emily T says

    I have 3 kids under age 6 and they LOVE family movie nights…we usually get a Redbox and have treats. But it would be so much more fun with this little gadget! Thanks for the chance!

  45. Christina Tong says

    My favorite way to do family movie night is to make some homemade popcorn with variety of flavors such as caramel, white cheddar and classic butter and watch movies on Netflix.


  46. Hailey says

    That is too cool!! We love to pop some popcorn, make an ice cream station, and turn off all the lights. :o)

  47. Gina M Maddox says

    gina.m.maddox (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  48. Gina M Maddox says

    We love hanging out on the sofa with a big bowl of popcorn. The projector looks awesome!

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    gina.m.maddox (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  49. sy says

    We watch movies on our hdtv with xbox streaming, would love to watch movies in the yard with this projector. thanks for the review and giveaway.
    songyueyu at gmail

  50. Debbie says

    Love this idea. I have 2 tween girls (one almost a teen!). They love the idea of hanging out with their friends at night watching a movie!

  51. says

    we love to have family movie nights on the deck, but we watch it on the laptop, would love to be able to watch it on a screen against the house!

    xxkimhcxx at gmail dot com

  52. Kellie Rose Wilson says

    We love watching our fave old movies like Back to the Future, making popcorn on the stove, and smothering it with melted cheese


  53. Patricia says

    Wow. Awesome. We love to gather around the TV…some popcorn, theater candy, and rootbeer floats and don’t forget about a great movie.

  54. cw says

    We do friday night pizza, game, and/or movie night each week. We start with a picnic of pizza and then put our pjs on to watch a movie while snuggling under covers. I would love to do an outside movie in the summer, but the traffic by our house is too loud.

  55. Denise L says

    We have a 2 year old, so not many family movie nights lately. But I’m with you! When our little one gets older, I can’t wait to show movies outside on the side of the garage. Totally reminds me of the Drive-Ins of my childhood :)

  56. says

    I am looking for a portable projector with the ability to display split screen from two different inputs. I currently have a casio xja246 that

    can do this through the wireless display capability, but I need to be connected to the internet through wifi while using the projector, so

    wireless connection isn’t an option.

  57. Ashley Hatten says

    Choosing a movie everyone loves and turning the lights off and snuggling on the sofa under a big fluffy blanket!. I also like to make my movie snack mix (popcorn & M&M’s mixed together) Thanks so much!

  58. Tabathia B says

    renting a movie from blockbuster or redbox and picking up a pizza from little ceaser’s
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  59. Michelle H. says

    We usually rent movies on Saturday night and then buy candy and pop popcorn. We all put on our sweats and grab our pillows and blankets and claim a spot on the floor or couch.

  60. Eugenie says

    we usually order pizza delivery and Eskimo Pie and rent a dvd. half the time it seems to involve vampires movies.

  61. Betty C says

    Now that my children are adults with homes of their own it’s just me and the cats and they aren’t big movie fans. So I usually just watch bits and pieces of movies as I do other things.

  62. says

    We love making a really big family dinner, usually cooking together. Then we all get in our spots with cozy blankets and settle in for the movie. Simple, but it never gets old!

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

  63. Jill H says

    We like to make homemade pizza, turn all the lights off except one low light and pretend we’re at the Theater but with good food!

  64. amorette says

    so cool! way better than our setup- we do them on the desktop computer because we have no TV! this would be an elegant solution.

  65. says

    Movie night would not be the same without lots and lots of snacks! Sometimes we do chocolate covered peanuts with fresh popped popcorn (not that nasty microwave stuff) and its like I am a kid again in the backseat of my parents’ car at the drive in. I love it!

  66. Debra F says

    We have a big screen TV (not huge though) in the basement and every Friday night we do family movie night. We order from Netflix, pop pocorn, the kids get to choose either a soda or some candy and we watch as a family.

  67. April says

    We share the couch, turn down the lights and share bowls of home made popcorn! This would be so fun to do outside now that summer is here!!

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