Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2: High Style, Low Brightness, High Price - CNET

1 week ago 23

It's the uncommon projector that crosses my way with an aesthetically beauteous design. There are plentifulness of cool projectors, immoderate cute projectors and adjacent immoderate that could generously beryllium called "neat." The Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2 is arsenic stylish arsenic immoderate projector I've seen, and would look close astatine location surrounded by Apple devices connected an Eero Saarinen array flanked by Corbusier chairs.

Like

  • Gorgeous design
  • Built-in Android TV
  • Looks similar an Apple product

Don't Like

  • Not agleam enough
  • No battery
  • Priced similar an Apple product

Unfortunately it's comparatively costly and the representation prime and features don't rather lucifer the fantabulous design. It's not precise bright, the colors are a spot off, and its contrast is capable astatine best. And dissimilar astir truly portable projectors, it lacks a built-in battery.

For little wealth the Anker Mars II Pro offers much brightness, the aforesaid contrast, and a artillery that lets you ticker movies anywhere. Overall the Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2 is simply a spot of a miss, though conscionable by a (stylish) bit.

Specs and such

  • Native resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
  • HDR-compatible: Yes
  • 4K-compatible: No
  • 3D-compatible: No
  • Lumens spec: 500
  • Zoom: None
  • Lens shift: None
  • Lamp beingness (Normal mode): Not listed

The Mi Smart Projector 2 has what I see modular specifications for a projector of this terms and size. Full HD (aka 1080p) resolution is good, arsenic galore inexpensive projectors are 720p oregon less. While it is HDR compatible, support successful caput it doesn't person the opposition ratio to bash thing with precocious dynamic contented (but to beryllium fair, many projectors are atrocious astatine HDR). 

The 500-lumen rating is communal for tiny portable projectors. However, I measured 162, little than astir of its competitors. It's dimmer than the Anker Solar, Anker Mars II Pro and adjacent the Samsung Freestyle, each of which are rated for adjacent to the aforesaid lumens. Remember that higher brightness, successful summation to improving representation quality, besides allows a projector to make a larger representation that inactive looks decent.

As is usually the lawsuit with tiny projectors similar this, there's nary lens displacement oregon zoom. The lone mode to alteration the size of the representation is by moving the projector. The autofocus works reasonably fast, though, which is good.

Android TV, HDMI and Wi-Fi, but nary battery

The Mi Smart Projector 2 is arranged with its bladed  distant    adjacent  to an Irn-Bru soda tin  for scale.

Projector, distant and a beverage.

Geoff Morrison/CNET
  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • USB port: 1
  • Audio output: Headphone output
  • Internet: 802.11a/b/g/n 2.4GHz/5GHz
  • Remote: Not backlit

It's ever large to spot a tiny projector with a full-size HDMI input. You astir apt won't request to usage it, though. Like respective projectors we've seen lately, the Smart PJ 2 has built-in Android TV, truthful you get the afloat mentation of immoderate streaming services you want. Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime and truthful connected are preinstalled. Others, including HBO Max, you tin instal via the included Google Play Store.

The dependable is beauteous good, acknowledgment to 2 5-watt drivers. A spot excessively overmuch treble for my taste, but much bass than you'd expect for specified a tiny box. Like thing this size, it falls isolated if you crook it up excessively loud. That bounds ends up being plentifulness loud, though, and successful a tiny country you'd person to rise your dependable to speech implicit it.

The small, bladed distant has a dedicated Netflix button. Unlike respective of the Smart PJ 2's competitors, however, there's nary dedicated telephone app.

My biggest gripe is that this tiny portable projector lacks a battery. Most successful this size and terms scope do. Those that don't, specified arsenic the Samsung Freestyle, typically person the quality to tally via a USB artillery pack, but the Xiaomi can't bash that either. You'll person to plug it into a modular powerfulness outlet via the included powerfulness adapter. It's the aforesaid size arsenic a ample phone/tablet charger, but connects to the projector via a tiny circular DC powerfulness connector seldom seen anymore successful tiny devices similar this. Meanwhile, the USB transportation connected the Xiaomi tin complaint your instrumentality if the projector is plugged in, but can't proviso the projector itself with power.

Picture prime comparisons

The Smart Projector 2 sits connected  a bluish  canvas.

The Smart Projector 2's representation is created utilizing LEDs and a DLP chip.

Geoff Morrison/CNET

The Mars II Pro is arsenic adjacent to a nonstop examination arsenic you tin get. It's astir precisely the aforesaid size, and is rated for the aforesaid 500 lumens. The Anker is little solution and $50 cheaper. I connected them to a Monoprice 1x4 organisation amplifier and viewed them side-by-side connected a 102-inch 1.0-gain screen.

Read more: How We Test Projectors

As you'd astir apt expect, these projectors are acold person to 1 different than not. Their contrast ratios are astir identical. However, the Anker lacks immoderate representation adjustments, truthful determination are immoderate aspects to the representation that are amended connected the Xiaomi. Shadow details, for instance, look acold much grey and little realistic connected the Anker than with the Xiaomi. 

Colors are not precise close connected either projector. Both are astir arsenic wrong, and rather chill oregon bluish in color temperature. On a location projector I'd person a bigger contented with this, but for a tiny portable it's astir apt fine. Nothing looks overly unnatural, but everything looks a spot off.

The 1080p Xiaomi's greater item was decidedly noticeable. The Anker looked a small brushed erstwhile viewed side-by-side. That's not a deal-breaker by immoderate agelong though, due to the fact that solution is conscionable 1 facet of representation quality. If you didn't person the 2 adjacent to 1 another, it's doubtful you'd notice. 

The astir noticeable quality is really the brightness. The Anker looked rather a spot brighter than the Xiaomi. I measured astir 162 lumens retired of the Xiaomi and 337 retired of the Anker. So yeah, astir doubly arsenic bright. It's communal for manufacturers to, shall we say, fudge their brightness claims. Here's what that means successful practice. And earlier you springiness Xiaomi flak for being truthful overmuch lower, Samsung rated the $900 Freestyle astatine 550 lumens and it puts retired 197. The morale? Don't spot immoderate manufacturer's lumen claims.

The Xiaomi has a mode that you'd deliberation would boost brightness, but alternatively it conscionable makes the representation exceedingly green. Maybe you'd beryllium capable to ticker a projector mode that makes everyone look similar Kermit, but to me it's not casual being...

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Brightness aside, there's not a wide victor betwixt the 2 successful presumption of representation quality: the Xiaomi has amended detail, the Anker greater airy output. If the Anker had representation settings, that'd astir apt nudge the needle successful its favor. But then, you're astir apt not buying either of these based solely connected representation quality.

There is, however, 1 significant, perchance crucial, difference: The Anker has a battery. It tin task an representation anywhere, whereas the Xiaomi needs an outlet. That's big.

Pretty close

I emotion the Xiaomi's design. It's conscionable a fantastically chic projector. If you slapped an Apple badge connected it, nary 1 would question it. 

The occupation with the Mi Smart Projector 2 is the Mars II Pro. It's somewhat cheaper, brighter, and it has a battery. It doesn't look astir arsenic stylish, but that's a tiny antagonistic erstwhile we're talking astir thing smaller than a lunchbox. It's not similar it's going to predominate your surviving room. If the adjacent mentation of the Xiaomi has a battery, oregon is 2 to 3 times brighter, it'd beryllium a existent contender.

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