TV screens are getting larger and larger. But their pricing grows accordingly. Say, a 55-inch LCD screen TV costs 3-4 thousand yuan ($$440-589); a 65-inch TV is priced at 7-8 thousand yuan ($$1030-$1175); a 70-inch TV can be got for 10 thousand yuan ($1470). I am not going to imagine how much a 100-inch TV will cost. In this sense, the best replacement for an LCD TV can be a laser projector. Looking at the products from this category launched in past two-three years we can say there is a real progress. So when Xiaomi announced its own model this afternoon, no one was thinking it’s a revolution. But the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector stands out in the crowd due to a list of great features.
The Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector was unveiled during the Xiaomi MIJIA annual conference held today in Beijing. Actually, the idea of making a cost-effective laser projector is not anything new. It was born a few years ago when Xiaomi’s VP Liu De announced they have designed a fancy Laser Projection TV that costs up to 100.000 yuan ($14.706). The pricing made the product become unaffordable to large masses. So Xiaomi has had to venture into its own research and development of an affordable laser projector. As a result, we are able to get our hands on a laser projector providing a 150-inch TV experience. And though we say this is the most affordable TV projector if taking into account its features, it’s the most expensive Xiaomi product. It took two years from the company to make the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector. So let’s see what can offer the world’s first theater-class laser projection TV.
Like other Xiaomi products, this projector comes with a minimalist design. The fuselage is mainly made of plastic. The front panel comes in white, while the back panel comes in black. As you guess, it’s speaker’s part. The overall design is similar to other projectors, but this one comes with more rounded corners.
The side carries an outlet as well as a height adjuster.
There are three legs on the bottom. But only two of them are adjustable.
The back of the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector comes with a number of interfaces such as three HDMI ports (one of them supports ARC, thus you can connect a 7.1 surround audio speakers), USB3.0 port, 3.5mm audio jack, AV interface, fiber optic audio output, and Gigabit network port. However, there is a USB2.0 on the right side. You should also know there are two baffles hiding the screws fixing the motherboard. Thus you can upgrade it whenever you want. By the way, the lens will provide 25.000 hours of a lifetime (thus it will serve you up to 34 years if using 2 hours per day). So when your projector requires a lens replacement, Xiaomi will come in with a new motherboard. Replacing both components you will save a lot and have a new laser projector.
On the right and left sides of the lens, we can see two infrared sensors. Once they notice foreign objects, the brightness is lowered immediately to prevent the eyes from damage. The touch light switch is placed below the lens.
As I said, there are three tripods on the bottom. But there are also cooling holes, two speaker holes, and 4 screw holes for installing a bracket.
The XIaomi Mi Laser Projector uses Xiaomi Mi TV’s custom speaker system total of 30W (built-in high-power dual full-frequency + dual high-frequency high-fidelity speakers).
The remote control looks identical to Mi TV remote control. But the company has added a white plastic are below the main buttons, so it is a bit longer.
To understand how this projector works, let’s take a quick look at the technologies used in modern projectors. Actually, there are 2+1 technologies. First, 3LCD is an innovative technology that utilizes 3 chips to deliver true-to-life images. 3-Chip LCD technology works in the following way. A light source projects white light onto a combination of mirrors that split the light into red, green, and blue. Each of those chips takes the electrical signal and creates an image. Then 3-color images are combined into one via t a prism. It passes through a lens and is projected onto a screen.
Second, DLP technology works in a different way. The final image is created by microscopically small mirrors laid out in DMD chip. The number of mirrors corresponds to the resolution of the projected image.
And the latest technology called LCOS has appeared on the market a couple of years back. It’s an advanced version LCD. LCOS is a small reflective active-matrix liquid-crystal display (often called ‘microdisplay’) that uses a liquid crystal layer on top of a silicon backplane. Currently, some LCD projectors use transmissive LCD, which allows light to pass through the liquid crystal.
As Xiaomi wants to come in with a projector that displays clearer images, it decided to use DLP technology in its Mi Laser Projector.
In addition to this imaging technology, Xiaomi also uses a light source technology known as ALPD3.0. The latter enhances the intensity, contrast, and brightness of the image. Earlier when projectors were using light bulbs as a light source, the lifetime they provide was too short. So the manufacturers switched to LED light-emitting diodes. But they cost too much. So, a blue laser combined with a yellow powder program has become a mainstream.
As for ALPD 3.0 technology, it uses a special monochrome laser + phosphor technology. This allows bringing a list of advantages such as:
- The color reproduction is more accurate due to a higher proportion of red as well as a greater color gamut;
- The brightness and contrast are improved;
- The light source life is improved.
When placing the Xiaomi Mi Projector too close to the wall, you can cast a 50-inch screen. But if you want to get a larger screen of 150 inches, just put it 50cm away from the wall.
This product uses a large depth-of-field optical lens supplied by the Japanese Ricoh (0.233: 1). According to the official statement, the laser projector’s maximum brightness can reach up to 5000 lumens as well as static contrast ratio does up to 3000: 1.
Note: It’s highly recommended to turn the lights off when using the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector to get the best performance.
The Mi Laser Projector comes with all the content available on the Xiaomi Mi TV.
Read: Xiaomi Mi TV 4 Review
As the remote control supports the Xiaomi universal remote control app, many functions will be familiar to you. Say, a long press will pop up a shortcut menu including focus and keystone correction options.
You can also adjust focus via the left and right keys.
In addition to focusing you can also make three corrections referring to the brightness, image parameters, and projection methods.
Moreover, there are three modes for brightness correction. The standard mode is set by default. The viewing mode will give a priority to the accuracy of the color reproduction. And the highlight mode will give priority to the brightness and contrast of the image.
The image parameters are identical to regular TVs.
The projection mode allows you to adjust the direction of the mirror and many more.
Projectors and TVs are not competitors, but they can substitute each other in many cases. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the most important advantages of projectors is the portability. Plus, it can provide larger screen experience.
As for the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector, the performance can be comparable to many high-end TVs. But let’s not forget we are dealing a projector, not a TV. So some quality loss should be taken not seriously.
At last, the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector costs 9999 yuan ($1470), but we are not concerned about it. Say, Japanese projectors from the same category cost 5 times more. The product will go on sale on July 4.