Pico Projectors. Any Good Uses for One? - AVS Forum
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I've got this AAXA projector on the way to my house for review, and wondered what the real market for similar devices might be. My shipment was delayed as they upgraded the battery and packaging, but I'll have a review on my blog by next weekend.

It doesn't have it's own little screen, but will play/display MP4/MP3/WMA/OGG/WAV/AVI/WMV/SMV/BMP/JPG/GIF/TXT content stored locally. 12 lumens LCD lamp. Rated for 30,000 hours. Projects from 7" to 50". 640 x 480.

Given the low price, do you believe these will find a real market? Are they a short lived gimmick? Do YOU want one?

I got the iPod cable with mine. Hoping to watch a movie from it on my ceiling. In two pockets I can carry family movie night so long as there's a white wall to project onto.

All opinions welcome.
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:41 PM
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As I've just ordered the Walmart rebadging of the same projector, I'll be looking forward to your review. Not only was the price lower but the ability to take it back to Walmart if it truly sucks was a nice advantage.

At CES in January pico projectors were literally everywhere. It seems like every manufacturer was at least displaying a prototype. I liked the Optoma one, good brightness and color saturation but it's double the Walmart price and about half the pixels.

I plan on using it in my classroom as well as on my ceiling for bedtime viewing after the wife has gone to sleep.

The SD card feature and battery is a real treat and makes the portability truly useful unlike other pico projectors that require cables and power supplies to work.

Maybe AVS should launch a Pico projector forum?

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Old 04-06-2009, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply, Robert. I'll have to check out the Walmart version as well.

I got a few ideas from my coworkers today. One woman who has a gymnastic daughter liked the idea of having one for entertaining the young athletes "girls" with movies or film of past meets. This happens when they room together while at out-of-town meets. Previously they have gathered around the small screen of a portable DVD player.

With the potential of a 50" view (in a very dark room) I'm reconsidering my plans to make a home theater in the spacious attic, and may convert a spare closet into a mini-theater instead.
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Old 04-07-2009, 04:06 AM
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Keep us posted. I am extremely interested in this little projector, but I am waiting on reviews.

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Old 04-07-2009, 04:50 AM - Thread Starter
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It's on the UPS truck for delivery right now. They usually show up around noon.

Anyone else with an interest? With prices around $250 these projectors seem like they should create their own market. And then there is the feature growth potential. Next year's models will have lens shift or keystone correction. I see LEDs getting brighter. I see batteries getting better. The future is bright and well projected.
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:15 PM
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Actually the Walmart unit (Nextar) is a different projector. My buddy ordered that unit for a bit less than what I paid for the AAXA projector and I noticed that both his case, battery, and menu system is totally different. As far as I can tell the AAXA P1 projector is slightly brighter, but the real difference is that the Walmart unit is more blurry around the edges. Otherwise there's not a whole lot of difference but as I understand it the guts of the two units are indeed different.... Whether or not worth the $30 price difference, I'm not sure...
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I've got my initial review up on my blog now. Many photos. Have a look and tell me what you think. So far I'm impressed. I just need a screen. My house doesn't have any white walls. Testing to this point has been on a textured ceiling.
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:45 AM
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The URL for the Aaxa P1 Projector user manual is not set up correctly on the aaxa web site so here it is if anyone wants to check it out.

P1 Projector Manual
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V8boosted View Post

Actually the Walmart unit (Nextar) is a different projector. My buddy ordered that unit for a bit less than what I paid for the AAXA projector and I noticed that both his case, battery, and menu system is totally different.

The photo of the nextar projector on the Walmart.com site looks exactly like the AAXA . Yet the specs look like they are for a totally different device. Even the dimensions don't agree. The image, however, is cleary the same product as every vent hole and option is in the exact same place. I wouldn't trust the Walmart page. Their specs mention a tripod mount and there is none on my AAXA.
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:51 AM
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Sounds interesting for total portability.

But don't do it for a home theater - go with a Infocus 4805 at the very least, or a 720p pj - many of which are between 600 to 1200 clams right now. You'll want the additional rez for the larger screen...

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Old 04-08-2009, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I've already got a Sanyo PLV-1080HD for home use. The AAXA I bought just to evaluate, but I might set up a single person theater using a comfortable lounge chair, decent screen, an ipod Touch and the AAXA. All in a spare closet, eventually.

I'm looking for a simply 18" or so portable desktop projection screen that could be set up on a converence or cafe table yet folded to fit in a briefcase. Something mainly to demonstrate the AAXA with.
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:56 PM
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I don't think anyone considering these picos are seriously going to use them for large theatrical applications. They are a fun portable toy.
Thanks for the review 4dthinker and for the iPod cable idea. I'll have to report whether the walmart one is worth it or junk.

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Old 04-08-2009, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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At the moment the specs for all the Pico projectors look the same, and with at best 12 lumens you don't get a very large useful image unless the room is very dark. I see a potential though, as the portability (pocketability) of the technology is seductive.

We spent a year trying to find an affordable laptop to power a projector where I work, but thinking small ended up using a Sansa View to drive the projector. In testing it's composite video output handled photos and video better than the VGA output of two netbooks we evaluated. The Projector is a small but powerfull Dell model, but it is still far from pocketable.

Samsung will be bring out a cell phone and seperate PMP with projector onboard later this year. Once the "market" comes up with a nice screen that is also pocketable, the tradition of dragging a laptop and bulky projector to conferences may fade away. Or at least limiting projected presentations to large venues will go away.

I see individuals sitting in my university food court with a notebook PC open for study or entertainment. Now imagine a front/rear projection screen pulling diagonally up out of the center of each table. Now everyone seated there can enjoy a Youtube video from your iPhone, photos of that party last night, etc. The personal technology becomes social, and still fits in your pocket.
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:01 PM
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I love my aaxatech pico projector, but if you're trying to use it for home theater use - 12 lumens ain't going to cut it, go with a 1080P home theater projector - you're expecting way too much!

However if you're just using it to watch some TV shows on the ceiling or just throwing around a 60" video on walls it's great for that.

Here's Eva Mendes hanging around on my ceiling in 50" size
LL
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't think anyone expects a Pico to replace home theater or data projectors. That's what this thread is about... Are they a gimmick that will fade away quickly, or will they be the new device that eventually everyone will want?

I'm just wondering what the "killer" app for them will be. I predict a few clever uses will be found though, because these projectors are cheap enough and portable enough to be experimented with. The roadblocks I see are:

- screen. At least in my house the availability of a projection surface is not common. I can make one easy enough, but it won't be as portable as the P1 is.

- tripod/support of the projector. The nextar adds I've seen imply it comes with a little tripod. My AAXA doesn't have anything that looks like a mounting point on it. Even a little adjuster foot that would prop up the front of the projector would be nice, followed by some keystone adjustment or lens shift capablity.
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:22 AM
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Might be pretty cool to pack when going into the boonies for the minimalist camper.

pmp/ipod/psp + this pj projected on a white towel or pillowcase...

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Old 04-09-2009, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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You're right, Brown Rad. We make a yearly trip out to an ancient farmhouse for a large family reunion. Electricity, but no TV, VHS, DVD or other electronic entertainment for the evenings. Plenty of white sheets though. Bring the projector with an iPod cable and there will be a couple dozen relatives with an iPod and content to share on a big (50") screen. I'll recommend taking along some reasonable self-powered speakers to plug into the headphone jack though.
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:32 PM
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Got my Walmart Nextar today. If it is not the AAXA, it sure is a good mimic...

Here is the box:



Here is the projector on the included clip-on tripod and box contents:



Here is the projector on about 22" diagonal image in the day with the drapes closed.



Here is the Nextar on an old rear projection film transfer box:



Sorry about the pics, I took them with my iPhone....

Overall, I really like this toy. Good brightness, great price, like the tripod, can't wait to use it at night! Just don't expect too much from these picos...


To the user who said it was fuzzy, I'm wondering if your friend remembered to take off the tiny plastic protective coating off of the lens (I kid you not). It was very hard to see and I used the projector for about 10 minutes before I noticed it and peeled it off, voila, sharper picture!

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Old 04-09-2009, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlr View Post

The URL for the Aaxa P1 Projector user manual is not set up correctly on the aaxa web site so here it is if anyone wants to check it out.

P1 Projector Manual


By the way, that manual is EXACTLY the same as the Walmart Nextar's...

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Old 04-09-2009, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Clark View Post

By the way, that manual is EXACTLY the same as the Walmart Nextar's...

Thanks for the review! It's interesting that the projectors are so similar, I'm glad you like it - I love mine

I think the similarities might be related to this (quote from AAXA's press release):

"AAXA Technologies announces the release of its P1 micro projector. Combining off-the-shelf components with AAXA’s proprietary LCOS chipAAXA’s micro projector brings affordability to the pocket projector market while improving brightness and image quality. Weighing in at 6 ounces and no larger than most PDAs, this diminutive unit projects a usable 12 lumens at a resolution of 640x480. The unit is capable of producing excellent picture quality and brightness in most lighting"


Perhaps the "richvideo" chip is the same thus the same instruction manual, but a different optical engine? I know for a fact my AAXA unit is a better than my buddy's Nextar, but maybe Nextar has improved their design?
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Old 04-09-2009, 05:04 PM
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Interesting your Nextar doesn't have the edge distortion that my buddy's Nextar has - I guess they improved it!
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:01 PM
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Edge distortion: no. Corner brightness difference: yes.
Like every LED pico projector I've seen at CES and the many samples on youtube except maybe the Optoma, there is a varying degree of dimness in the corners or "vignetting".

Maybe that's one of the better design improvements of the AAXA...

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Old 04-09-2009, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Dthinker View Post

I'm just wondering what the "killer" app for them will be. I predict a few clever uses will be found though, because these projectors are cheap enough and portable enough to be experimented with.

Did anyone here see the MaximumPC article where they built their own Touch Surface display using an old projector, an acrylic sheet and some infrared LEDs? It's a fun-looking DIY project that I would love to play around with.

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/fea...ter?page=0%2C0

I wonder how something like this would work in such an application. Granted, the image brightness would probably be a bit dim (especially if you try to go too big on the screen size) and the resolution is pretty low, but the shorter throw distance and small size would certainly help in keeping the size of the cabinet smaller. And the fact that it's in an enclosed cabinet might help to overcome the lack of lumens (like an RPTV). Or if you really want to get ambitious, you could "stack" them for more lumen output.

Could be fun.
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:53 AM
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Hmm, micro SD support, and 1gb internal memory...

Last time I went camping we were huddled around my psp late at night watching 300 and other movies. This would definitely be an improvement!

I also bring along a Duracell 600 powercenter for recharging (and also for emergency jumpstarts, inflating rafts, etc.) when I go camping, so this would be a great addition.

Question for any techies - the specs say "Power Consumption: 0.9-1.5..." - is that in amps? That would be way doable with my powercenter, meaning at least a week's worth of movies every night (at least 2 movies a night)...

This might even be something good to pack in with the emergency supplies - just have some preloaded movies for the family ready to go...

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Old 04-11-2009, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I wish they had packaged a tripod with the AAXA. With no tripod mount it's a pain to use. Looks like the Nextar tripod was custom made for it. I'm sure it would fit the AAXA. Anyone know where to get one just like it?
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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I couldn't find anywhere to buy the tripod that comes with the nextar, so I made my own mounting platform.
I've written it up in my blog. Tell me what you think.

4D
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Dthinker View Post

I couldn't find anywhere to buy the tripod that comes with the nextar, so I made my own mounting platform.
I've written it up in my blog. Tell me what you think.

4D

Great solution! Very clever.

All that the tripod is that comes with the Nextar/AAXA clone is a plastic clip around the sides that snaps on.

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Old 04-12-2009, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Robert. I've also built a little screen which I'll write up sometime next week.

I've got several coworkers who own iPod Touch's. Every one of them instantly saw the value in having a portable mini projector, as they've all experienced moments when a Youtube or personal video, or even a photo wanted to be shared with others, and the little screen meant only one or two at a time could see.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
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The little speaker in the AAXA is worthless. It seems to have gotten worse since the first time I used it. As such, headphones are highly recommended. But if you want a VERY portable and versatile speaker to go along the little Samsung BS300 is a good solution. It works with a patch cord included, but also has bluetooth for any bluetooth capable player you might have. It will even work as a speaker phone if you pair it with a bluetooth capable cell phone.
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Old 04-19-2009, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Dthinker View Post

The little speaker in the AAXA is worthless. It seems to have gotten worse since the first time I used it. As such, headphones are highly recommended. But if you want a VERY portable and versatile speaker to go along the little Samsung BS300 is a good solution. It works with a patch cord included, but also has bluetooth for any bluetooth capable player you might have. It will even work as a speaker phone if you pair it with a bluetooth capable cell phone.

You've got that right. The internal speaker on my Walmart pico crapped out after a few days and will play and pass through audio from external sources but not from media stored on the projector itself. I ended up returning it to Walmart and I will probably order another one, but there are some interesting ones coming down the pike from China:

http://www.obsessable.com/projector/...led-projector/
http://foreverplus.manufacturer.glob...-Projector.htm

LED, 720p, 70 lumens, 50000 hrs...

For sound I've been using these little babies also spotted at CES:
http://www.macfriends.com/grandmax-t...akers-red.aspx
They are usb rechargable and magnetically hold to each other when not in use. They sound pretty good and play loud.

Here's some pics





Sorry 4D, starting to feel like I'm thread crapping...

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