MEGATech Video Reviews: AAXA LED Android Pico Projector

We have smartphones. We have smart Blu-ray players. We even have smart lightbulbs, so I suppose it's about time that we get ourselves a smart projector too. AAXA Technologies has an increasingly large catalog of mobile and pico projectors and now they're getting even smarter with the descriptively-named AAXA LED Android Pico Projector. It doesn't take the smartest of rocket scientists to figure out that this pico projector comes with a bright LED light source along with some Google Android action under the hood.

The Smarter Pico Projector

MEGATech Video Reviews: AAXA LED Android Pico Projector

With some of the earlier projectors from AAXA, we have been provided with older versions of Windows and some other unnamed operating systems. This time around, AAXA has made the conveniently powerful decision of putting Android 4.2 into this pico projector, giving us full access to just about every app through the Google Play Store. Of course, since there's no touchscreen, the usability of these apps is going to vary tremendously. I would not want to play Angry Birds on this.

The included IR remote does offer a "mouse" mode and there are some controls integrated right into the top of the rather compact device, but I found that navigating my way around was far easier by plugging a regular old computer mouse into the available USB port.

The core user interface is simple and a little crude, but it works. When you dig into the "advance" settings page through the "apps" shortcut, you'll find a very familiar Android look to the whole thing. The rest of it is skinned for the purposes of streamlining the user experience.

MEGATech Video Reviews: AAXA LED Android Pico Projector

As far as core specs, you'll find a 550 lumen optical engine that's DLP based and backed with a 20,000 hour LED light source. The projector itself features a native 720p resolution (though its max resolution is listed as 1080p). That alone makes this much more of a viable option than the GIGABYTE BRIX Projector with its practically unusable 854 x480 pixel resolution.

Other specs include the 2000:1 contrast ratio, manual focus with the slider on top, a projection image of between 10 and 160 inches, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of onboard storage, integrated 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.0, and two 2W speakers. Input options, beyond the built-in media player which can play off USB drives, include VGA, composite and HDMI. And since it's Android, you can do YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Vudu and other video streaming services too.

The AAXA Video Review

MEGATech Video Reviews: AAXA LED Android Pico Projector

It's obvious enough that the AAXA LED Android projector is not nearly as compact as the company's much smaller P3-X, but it's still compact enough to be easily thrown in a bag for your next business meeting or movie-watching party. I will say that the glossy plastic shell leaves something to be desired, though, and as with so many of these DLP-based projectors, the fan noise can really get on your nerves.

All this said, the overall experience with this smart projector is definitely a positive one. The 550 lumen projection meant that I had no problems with visibility, even when the room had a fair bit of ambient light. The basic video playback through the simple menu was great and the YouTube experience, which is essentially being run through a mobile browser, isn't too shabby either.

Having on-board WiFi and Bluetooth goes a long way, especially when it comes to supporting the rather anemic 2W stereo speakers. And the flexibility of Android, along with support for USB drives and devices, as well as HDMI for connecting a smartphone, tablet or laptop, mean that this really is the little projector that could.

MEGATechie Beautiful Sight or MEGATechie Dimly Lit?

MEGATech Video Reviews: AAXA LED Android Pico Projector

Both using the buttons on top of the unit and trying to navigate with the IR remote weren't the best of experiences and I found myself resorting to a wireless USB mouse most of the time. The lack of proper Android multitasking also meant that I could accidentally leave a YouTube video running in the background with no obvious way to close it without shutting the whole thing down.



What I will say is that the versatility and convenience of the AAXA LED Android Pico Projector make it a worthwhile investment for many usage cases. It's effectively the same $499 price (and body) as the AAXA LED Showtime 3D, and they both feature a native 720p HD resolution. What this means is that you have to effectively choose between the option of watching 3D videos or having convenient access to the Android platform and ecosystem of apps. For my part, I find far better value with the latter.

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