We’re no strangers to projectors here at MobileTechTalk, I’ve reviewed the majority of them myself. So when a company reached out, after reading my scathing review of a competitors product, they offered to send me one of their newest projectors, the portable, LED-based Aaxa P6, and I’ve got to say, for the most part, I’m impressed.
- Gorgeous Picture Quality
- LEDs over Lamps
- Decent I/O
- Really small
- Obnoxiously loud fans
- Crappy Remote
- Speaker is useless
- Seriously loud fans
Disclosure: Aaxa Technologies sent me (Dom) the Aaxa P6 to review over a month ago. Due to many issues in my personal life, the Aaxa P6 review got pushed back, and the Aaxa P6 got more and more ingrained into my daily life, making it harder to remember I was meant to be reviewing it. Aaxa did not pay for this review, nor do they have any control over the outcome of this review. Once this has gone live, Aaxa is retrieving the projector for the next reviewer.
Specifications – Aaxa P6
- 1280×800 Native Resolution
- 600 Lumens Max brightness (when plugged in)
- 350 Lumens Max Brightness (When on Battery)
- 2000:1 Contrast ratio
- Manual Focus
- Manual Keystoning.
- 80 minutes on battery power.
- HDMI 1.4b input
- Mini VGA input
- AV-in (via 3.5mm jack)
- headphone/audio out (via 3.5mm jack)
- MicroSD (T-Flash) Card slot
- USB 2.0 Type A port
- DC Power in Jack
If you want to have a bit more of a complete look at the Aaxa P6’s specifications, check out the Aaxa P6 page on Aaxa’s website here
Hardware – Aaxa P6
This is the easier part of a projector review to write. The Aaxa P6 is a small, portable projector, which in and of itself is not necessarily bad, but the execution leaves a little bit to be desired.
Starting with materials, the P6 is plastic fantastic, no way around that, but Aaxa made 2 cardinal sins here, they’ve got polar opposite colours, in my case, it’s black and white, and they are both glossy. Glossy plastic doesn’t look good on stationary objects like TVs and game consoles, but on things like the P6, which is meant to be portable, so much so, that they included a battery in it! Glossy just doesn’t work. It gets fingerprints everywhere, especially on the top, which is more egregious as the black part, it also picks up scratches incredibly fast, making that nice new projector look older and battered pretty quickly.
Usually, I’m pretty happy when Items have a bit of heft to them (550g) but the Aaxa P6, once again with its emphasis on Portable, the extra weight seems to clash a bit with that. But the P6 does have a slight advantage here, when placed on a table, the extra heft on the little silicone feet mean that it doesn’t shuffle or vibrate on the table a lot, which is great, but you should probably be using a tripod with the ¼-20 threading on the bottom.
Looking at the front of the Aaxa P6, we have the lens on the left-hand side, and on the right, we have “P6 Pico Projector” badging as well as a “DLP Texas Instruments” badge, just in case you didn’t know who the DLP chip is from.
On the right-hand side is absolutely nothing, perfectly clean, for better or for worse. Switching to the left is where the majority of the I/O is, with the Power switch, Focus Dial, LED status lights, an upside down HDMI port, two separate 3.5mm jacks, one for audio transmission and the other is for AV/in via the included adaptor, and lastly is the mini VGA port with an also included adaptor cable to full-sized VGA, nice that they give you the option, even if I would have personally dropped the AV/in for a second HDMI port. Switching to the rear of the projector is the MicroSD slot for storing media, next to that is the USB-A port, also for loading media. Next is what appears to be a status LED, though I can’t remember ever seeing it turn on, another guess is that it is the IR blaster for the remote. Lastly, is the DC in 19v jack, which is something I have an issue with. With the advent of USB-C and USB Power Delivery is able to supply up to 100w of power, the P6’s 19v 2a (38w) power adaptor could have easily been a USB-C port, and could have also meant it could be charged with any USB-C power adaptor or power bank, you know, like other portable devices.
Up top is where we have the buttons, a 4-way directional pad and a centre selection button, and three separate buttons for menu, power and back. These buttons honestly aren’t great. They’re yet more plastic buttons, likely to keep the cost down, but the bigger problem is that they rattle and have a lot of play, not something I really appreciate, especially when the remote control is so damn awful I end up using the buttons so frequently. Next to those buttons are two large air intakes with 2 what appear to be radial fans. These are loud, but I’ll get to that later. Lastly, the bottom has a few small vents but the main attraction is the ¼ 20 threading on the bottom for a tripod.
Overall the P6 feels like a weird mishmash of good design but poor execution. For example, it’s got a pretty nice selection of ports, but they’re all on one side, meaning heavier cables could tilt and move the projector. It’s plastic, meaning it is better for travelling, but it is glossy plastic which picks up scratches like no one’s business, it’s meant to be portable, but to charge it you need an extremely importable setup. It feels like if the Aaxa P6 had gone through a few more months of focus testing and material selection it could have been a better product.
Projection – Aaxa P6
This is going to be fun, the Aaxa P6 has a stunning picture in the right settings. If I’ve said it once, I’ll have said it a thousand times, but I’ll keep on screaming. Lasers and LEDs are the future of projectors, and Pico Projectors are getting in on the action early.
One of the (many) benefits of using LEDs instead of a standard lamps, is that they’re instant on, meaning that the projector doesn’t need to warm and go through a weird colour phase before you get the ideal colours, there is no brightness ramp up, turn it on, and they’re at max brightness with the ideal colours, lovely.
Another benefit to these is that they require much less upkeep than a standard projector bulb. Whereas a standard bulb will last a couple thousand hours (4000-6000 is common) these LEDs will go on for 30,000 hours before showing signs of degradation, and even then, it is much less noticeable.
Light also appears different with bulbs vs. LEDs. For example, the P6 is a 600-lumen peak brightness projector. That is not a whole lot, most home theatre projectors are between 2000-3000 ANSI lumens. But due to the use of LEDs instead of bulbs, the P6 appears much, much brighter than it actually is. On more than one occasion I’ve thrown the P6 on the tripod in my office, plugged my Roku or Chromecast in the middle of the day with my curtains open and watched some stuff, whether it be YouTube, Netflix or more, sure it isn’t the brightest, and if you do close the curtains you’ll obviously get a better picture, but it’s much less fussy and far brighter than the numbers alone lead you to believe.
One slight issue that I have is the lens of the P6, It’s what I’d classify as a semi-short throw projector. It’s not quite in the crazy short throw of the Optoma GT550 or the ML750ST, but it doesn’t need to be as far away as other standard projectors. Initially I tried to mount the P6 where my usual office projector is, but due to the fact there is no zoom option (either optical or digital) the image was far too large for my wall, meaning I had to have a tripod or a light stand in middle of the floor, not too bad, but slightly annoying.
Sound – Aaxa P6
This is the part of the review I’m not all that happy to write. Let’s just get the easy stuff out of the way, the included 2w speaker? It’s garbage. I’d rather use a pair of Poundland headphones than listen to it, simple as. If you’ve got a little portable speaker it’ll be easily 10x better than this, basically pretend this speaker doesn’t exist.
Now, the other sound; those fans. I can’t open up the Aaxa P6 so I can’t find out exactly what types of fans they are, but I can tell you one thing for sure, they’re goddamn louder than they have any right to be. If for whatever reason you didn’t heed my warnings and are using the built-in speaker, and you have it plugged in because you want to have that full 600 lumens of brightness, well you’ll likely hear the fans more than the actual audio, when turning on, it might as well be a harrier jump jet trying to take off. I don’t know if it is because they’re cheap fans, just bad fans or the fan curves on them is wrong, but if you have the P6 plugged in somewhere for more brightness, you better have a damn speaker and be as far away from the projector as possible, as it gets obnoxious real fast.
Conclusion – Aaxa P6
So, how do I feel about the Aaxa P6 overall? Well, I really like it. As I said in the disclosure section, I actually had integrated it into my daily life so well I forgot I was even meant to be reviewing it, I just used it. I wish the P6 was a solid matte black, I wish the buttons didn’t rattle as much, I wish It were quieter and I wish the remote didn’t suck so hard, but despite all of that, the picture quality of the P6 is so stunningly good, that I’m going to miss having it in the house.