A bright portable projector that won’t break the bank
Portable projectors are a great way to add functionality to your entertainment setup. They work great at home plugged in for movie night, but the uses go way beyond that. Going camping and want to watch a movie under the stars? Want to invite your friends over for a movie, but don’t want to be inside? With built-in batteries, portable projectors open up a whole new world of possibilities. We’ve taken a look at our fair share of portable projectors on 9to5Toys, and the AAXA M7 projector offers an impressive feature list for the price. Be sure to click on the video below to see all the details.
Introducing the AAXA M7
First, let’s take a look at the AAXA M7 specifications. At $488, the projector packs a 1080p image at up to 1,200 LED lumens when plugged in. Battery life can last up to three hours in eco mode, and the M7 has built-in sound.
A major difference to what we’ve seen with other portable projectors recently is that the M7 doesn’t have smart TV capabilities, meaning some sort of media input will need to be provided. But, with an HDMI port and a USB port, it’s easy to add your favorite streaming stick, computer or game console.
For comparison, the last portable projector we tried was the XGIMI Halo, which features an Android TV, 800 ANSI lumens, and the same 1080p resolution with an $800 price tag.
One thing to note in the comparison between the M7 and the Halo is that the lumens rating is in a different standard. While XGIMI uses the standardized ANSI lumens measurement, AAXA uses an LED lumens rating which can be a bit misleading. In an article by Benq, LED lumens can be converted to ANSI lumens by dividing the number of LEDs by 2.4. So in reality, AAXA’s 1200 LED lumens rating is more like 500 ANSI lumens.
That being said, 500 ANSI lumens is still good enough. Anker’s $580 Nebula Capsule II, which is also a portable projector, is only rated at 200 ANSI lumens, for example.
Measuring 7.5 x 6.5 x 2.25 inches, the M7’s small design makes the projector easy to pack for travel or outdoor adventures. On the front is the lens. On the back, the projector has a three-way power switch. On the left side are dedicated focus buttons, 3.5 headphone port, AV-in port, USB-C port, TF card slot (basically micro SD but with more capacity compatibility limited to my knowledge) and a reset button. On the right side of the projector are the power jack, an HDMI port, a USB-A port, and an LED status light.
Above the projector are capacitive touch buttons. These are useful for adjusting audio, parameters, and keystone distortion.
Video AAXA M7
The background is quite bare, which is a bit of a shame. For portable projectors, having some sort of mounting option or at least something to change the angle of the projector like adjustable feet is pretty handy. Unfortunately, without it, it’s a bit more difficult to get the M7 into the ideal position for viewing. You can see in the video that I used baby toys to angle the projector to align it mostly with my screen in the basement. There is an optional ceiling mount kit that can be purchased separately.
However, the M7 projector has vertical keystone adjustments, making it easier to compose an image when the projector is not in the optimal position. It’s a manual setting, not a multipoint system like the one found on the XGIMI Halo.
A nice feature is that the power switch can be turned on, off, or charged. In charging mode, the projector can act as a power bank and charge external devices connected via the USB-A port.
A bright picture
While the rest of the projector may lack some features like Android TV and mounting options, the AAXA M7’s image is incredibly bright for the price. There are three different brightness modes. When plugged in, all three modes are available including boost mode which will take full advantage of the 1200 LED lumens. When running on the internal battery, the picture is limited to a standard 650 LED lumens mode and an even lower eco mode. To achieve these full battery life figures, the projector will need to be in eco mode.
The image is very sharp with a 1080p image. Focus can be adjusted both from the physical controls on the projector and the dedicated buttons on the remote.
By day, the color of the image left a little to be desired in my opinion. In a dark basement with some ambient light from the windows, the image was overwhelmingly green. I was able to get it closer to where I wanted it thanks to the built-in color temperature controls, but it still looked a bit off.
At night or in a very dark room, however, the bright image of the AAXA M7 is superb. Watching Star Wars the Force Awakens was very enjoyable with dark blacks and bright whites. I was testing it on a 100 inch screen and was very impressed with the quality for the price.
How is the game?
The AAXA M7 performs well for casual gaming, but there is some input lag. It doesn’t feel as bad as some other projectors when not in a dedicated gaming mode, but I probably wouldn’t choose to play an FPS game on the M7. Forza Horizon 5 felt pretty good, though.
Audio AAXA M7
Since the M7 works as a portable speaker, another important aspect is its built-in audio – two speakers with 4W power. Although they work for playing audio, they aren’t great. I would compare them to budget laptop speakers. But, again, for the price and portability of this projector, I’d be surprised if they blew me away. The sound will be loud enough to be heard in a room, but it’s not the best quality.
Another thing that affects the audio is the fan noise of the M7 projector. In boost mode, it’s quite noisy. During any moment of quiet audio in your media, the projector is easily audible and distracting. Standard mode reduces the fan, but it’s still quite audible and distracting. Eco mode makes the projector much quieter and also extends battery life. But, it is a bit weaker than the other two modes. Nighttime with a small screen is fine, but when tested on a 100-inch screen, it might feel too dark.
AAAA M7 remote control
The included remote is functional, but it feels like a budget. It’s very light. All features can be controlled with the remote, but some aspects are not intuitive.
For example, changing the color temperature requires pressing the little shutter-shaped button between plus and minus, which takes you to the inputs menu. Then you have to press the back button to enter the main menu and enter the settings to adjust the color temperature. It took me a while to figure out and was not an intuitive process.
The remote must also be pointed at the rear of the projector to make changes. I couldn’t get the projector to work from the front or the side.
Taken from 9to5Toys
At just $488, the AAXA M7 is an affordable entry into the realm of portable projectors with a super bright image. It lacks some of the quality of life features I’ve grown accustomed to with other portable projectors like the XGIMI Halo, but these products cost a lot more.
For some use cases, the M7 is a perfect fit. AAXA markets the M7 for exterior decorations such as holograms and 3D projections for Halloween or other parties, for example. If you just want a portable projector with enough brightness and battery life, this is it.
Likewise, for van life and RV amplification, the M7 can be a great choice. Mount it somewhere to use it indoors or take it with you to watch something outdoors. Just make sure you have a hotspot and a streaming stick to stream, load a few videos onto a USB or micro SD card ahead of time, or bring a console to play video games.
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