First Foray into Digital Projectors for the PC

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Forum' started by Hunter2021, May 25, 2023.

  1. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    I read this review on Notebookcheck which said mostly good things about the cheap and portable projector HY-300:

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/HY300-cheaper-portable-projector-now-available-globally.707993.0.html

    [​IMG]

    Also was amazed by this video showing in action the auto keystone correction feature of the projector:

    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/vqJ8Oi0JCXw

    Also read good reviews by verified purchasers on Aliexpress.

    Also liked that it doesn't need a tripod to adjust the tilt angle.

    So, I am giving the projector a try and will let you all know how it goes. It's my first projector so want to start with 720p to figure out the quirks of projector vs computer monitor. Then will get more expensive 1080p+ projectors with better quality later...
     

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    Hunter2021, May 25, 2023
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  2. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    It wasn't too long ago, if you wanted a budget projector you had to put up with the really crappy resolution of 320x200 (same as the old school VGA games). Then all of a sudden technology makes a quantum leap to 720p for the budget segment...

    Anyways, my projector is on it's way from China, I ordered it last week...

    here are some actual images I pulled from Aliexpress buyer reviews -- the pictures look actually impressive for el cheapo LCD projector:

    Review1.jpg Review2.jpg Review3.jpg Review4.jpg Review5.jpg



    My ONLY concern the projector might not be able to handle 4:3 aspect ratio properly. Most of my nostalgia DOS/WinXP-based games are in the 4:3 format!
     
    Hunter2021, May 29, 2023
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  3. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    Very nice for sub USD $100 projector:

    Review10.jpg Review11.jpg Review12.jpg Review13.jpg Review14.jpg
     
    Hunter2021, May 31, 2023
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  4. Hunter2021

    MisterEd

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    With a brightness of only 120 lumens you are going to have a dark room with the room lights turned off.

    Compare that to a projector I bought 7 years ago:

    Epson EX7240 (1280x800)
    Date: 02/16/2016 $600
    Brightness: 3200 Lumens
     
    MisterEd, Jun 11, 2023
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  5. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    I've had this projector for 1 week now. Took only 2 weeks delivered from China to North America. I'll write a more in depth review in a few weeks...

    120 lumens is plenty brightness. After sunset my wall becomes plenty of fun. Don't need complete pitch black only the sun needs to go down below the horizon.

    For comparison, my desktop monitor has max 250 nits brightness and I usually need to dim it down to 27-33% to stop it from hurting my eyes. Basically my desktop monitor only needs to output 70-80 lumens to serve my needs. But because a projector covers a larger area, 120 lumens sounds about right.

    ------

    Now the quick short review:

    1. Projector is amazing for watching movies and anime. Projector also amazing for reading news websites. I never want to go back to a desktop monitor/tablet to read the news.
    2. Projector doesn't work for old school gaming (I still need to find a way to display 800x600 natively without having up-scaling and aspect ratio issues. Of course it would become a 1280x1024 issue if we're dealing with a 1080p projector, but the max 4:3 image 720p can accommodate is 800x600).
    3. Before I got this projector I was using a tiny 23.8 inch PC monitor as a TV from across the bed. I was debating whether I should upgrade to a 27-inch or even 34-inch gaming monitor. LOL. I can easily get a sharp 48 inch (diagonal) image on the wall for media consumption with this projector. I'm never going back/downgrading to anything less than 50 inches!
    4. Projector gets blurry around the edges. Projecting a flat image thru spherical lenses will do this compounded by the use of cheap lenses. This is the only major negative with the budget projector.
    5. Projector only works from straight dead on and no more than 30 degrees incline. To achieve such optimal condition, I had to stack a pile of books on top of a tall stool and place the projector atop!
    6. It's the year 2023! I'm sorry y are we still dealing with archaic 720p resolution? I watch a lot of English-subtitled contents from WeTV, the streaming service of China's largest entertainment company Tencent, the owner of League of Legends, King of Glory, etc. Now get this, they're actually struggling to stream 1080p to millions of viewers at the same time. During peak hours, good luck trying to view 1080p seamlessly without lag. 720p is still pretty modern by WeTV standards!

    Tentative overall rating: 4.5/5. Recommendation value: Very High!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2023
    Hunter2021, Jun 12, 2023
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  6. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    One of the biggest drawback of the HY300 projector is setting it up in the middle of the room (or near the bed if you want to project to the opposite wall of the bedroom) with the unsightly wires. In the future, I'd probably skip this kind of projector and opt instead for ultra-short throw. Like the quantum jump from 320x200 resolution to 1280x720 in the budget projector segment, I hope they make the quantum jump to ultra-short throw next so I can place the damn thing on a table next to the wall:

    roborockprojecorheader.jpg c3fcc4ca_beb2_412b_909c_53b6760da95e.jpg

    (Roborock smart projector R1)
     
    Hunter2021, Jun 14, 2023
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  7. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    Blackout curtains are kool. I never had one prior to today. I never knew a simple piece of thin cloth could block out so much sunlight!
     
    Hunter2021, Jul 12, 2023
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  8. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    Final review for HY300 720p projector (I got mine for about $80 USD shipped from Aliexpress):

    1. I'm never going back to PC monitor to watch movies/dramas/anime. I had a 34-inch PC monitor that I bought from Amazon (but quickly returned it). That monitor cost me about $500 USD. The enjoyment factor I got out of briefly using that monitor (before returning it) not even a fifth of the enjoyment I get out of HY300 cheap 720p projector!

    2. You'll need blackout curtains (not any kind of curtain but ones specifically designed to block out the sunlight) to make it work. Otherwise the projector is useless until the sun dips below the horizon. I used removable 3M wall hooks to hang the curtain without destroying the wall or needing to install a curtain rod. Total cost was $20-$25 inclusive of blackout curtain fabric + wall hooks (BTW I used mini safety pins chained together to "tie" the curtain to the wall hooks). Now I can use the projector even at noon where the sunlight is the brightest!

    3. Don't need to use remote control. I hate dealing with AA/AAA batteries for the remote. Can just plug in USB mouse to select HDMI input.

    4. It's a cheap projector, so image will be clear but bad/blurry away from the center. When watching motion videos, the blurriness don't even matter/not noticeable.

    5. The longest I used the projector without wiping dust from the lens was about 2 weeks. The dust don't even interfere with picture quality/not noticeable so it's not really an issue with the projector accumulating dust over time.

    6. Projector accepts 1080p input then downscales to 720p. Most games you have to set the display resolution to 1080p or you get image artifacts. Not a deal breaker but games look worse downscaled to 720p than native 720p.


    Rating: 4.5/5
     
    Hunter2021, Aug 3, 2023
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  9. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    A little update, it's been over 4 months and there is A LOT of dust trapped inside the machine in between the lens and the LCD screen.

    If I had to do it over again, I would get a Xiaomi 1080p Redmi projector instead. Xiaomi boasts a dust proof design, so a longer usable lifespan.

    It looks like once the image of the HY300 projector gets all clogged up with dust, I will switch to a Xiaomi anyways!
     
    Hunter2021, Oct 6, 2023
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  10. Hunter2021

    MisterEd

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    The manual for the projector says to "Regularly clean projector vents, or dust may cause cooling malfunction". Isn't that enough?
     
    MisterEd, Oct 6, 2023
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  11. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    It's dust trapped inside the projector that requires complete disassembly to be able to clean... so not feasible. Here you can see Xiaomi boasts that they designed their Redmi projector cooling system such that dust never gets in between the lens and LCD (dust proof design). It's the projector I'm going to get next after the HY300...

    51012dcb_b9e8_4d67_91d2_f201c77016b7.jpeg
     
    Hunter2021, Oct 16, 2023
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  12. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    Here comes Lenovo, their new projector now using Huawei CPU chip. It's going to be a tight contention between Lenovo and Xiaomi for my next movie projector after my current (dusty) HY300 retires from service...

    hisilicon-projector-12.jpg
     
    Hunter2021, Oct 19, 2023
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  13. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    New Lenovo Xiaoxin 100S cheaper projector revealed with 270 CVIA lumens brightness

    Lenovo has revealed the Xiaoxin 100S projector in China, with a pre-order campaign starting this November. The cheaper 1080p model has up to 270 CVIA lumens brightness and can throw images up to 150-in (~381 cm) wide. Other features of the Android projector include automatic image-perfecting tools and built-in speakers.

    Lenovo-Xiaoxin-100s-projector.jpg

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/New-L...with-270-CVIA-lumens-brightness.761068.0.html

    ---

    IMO, 120 Lumens (HY300) is more than bright enough when used with blackout curtains. In fact sometimes at night, I found the 120 Lumens on a bright white screen (aka notepad) a little too bright!
     
    Hunter2021, Oct 22, 2023
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  14. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    Lenovo Xiaoxin 100S

    Good: Cheaper than Xiaomi
    Bad: Almost impossible to source for international buyers (ie. little to nil listings on Aliexpress)


    Xiaomi Redmi Projector Pro

    Good: Easy to source (Aliexpress has multiple listings by different sellers)
    Bad: More expensive than Lenovo Xiaoxin 100S


    Product quality wise, I think both should be the same. They're both reputable companies with outstanding products to sell!
     
    Hunter2021, Oct 22, 2023
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  15. Hunter2021

    Samir

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    More china shilling? 'aliexpress' 'reputable company with outstanding products? aliexpress is where all the fakes are, that's not reputable, that's illegal.
     
    Samir, Nov 17, 2023
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    TMTGTR likes this.
  16. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    I just ordered a Xiaomi 1080p Redmi Projector 2nd gen. It was on sale. I love these occasional Aliexpress sales. You can collect coupons for use with ANY seller not just the ones listed on their coupons page. I only got $25 off THE REGULAR PRICE. If it was a 11-11 or Black Friday sale, the discount would have been much bigger!

    Anyways, this kind of device is brilliant! My XP mini-PC which I use as an HTPC can't do 10-Bit 1080p @ 60fps nor 4K @ 30fps. I simply copy the video file onto a flash drive, plug it into the projector and it works!

    When u consider the 720p HY300 projector in the 1st post cost me only $80 USD shipped, which is actually an android TV box powering a projection LCD screen, it's pretty amazing it can do everything with videos my XP PC can't. I can't imagine how much kooler the Redmi 1080p dust-proof projector will be that I bought for myself for X-mas!
     
    Hunter2021, Dec 24, 2023
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  17. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    This guy doesn't know what he's doing. His hazy-looking video output with $8000 USD 4K laser projector on expensive $1000 USD projector screen looks worse than my $80 USD 720p projector on barren, screen-less bedroom wall.



    The key (secret) ingredient he's missing are black-out curtains. You'd be surprised how a mere $30 USD blackout curtain kit will turn a cheap projector into a cinematic experience!
     
    Hunter2021, Dec 30, 2023
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  18. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    My Redmi 1080p projector 2nd gen is on it's way from China via Aliexpress (with holiday sale coupon).

    These were the selling points that prompted me to buy it:

    1. The pro version uses aspheric lenses. I'm not sure about the standard version. I hope it does too. If we project a flat image thru a spherical lens, the part of the image further away from the center becomes blurry and loses focus. Aspheric lenses solve this problem.

    2. WANOS panoramic sound. It's basically using an algorithm to simulate surround sound (with the built-in speakers). No need to use a 3rd party audio plugin. I used to use SRS Audio Sandbox to do this in WinXP until Win7 came along and did it better with their built-in virtual surround algorithm. This is a projector using an internal Android TV box to drive the image, so having panoramic sound built into the sound system is a plus.

    3. Dust proof design. The optics system has been sealed up. Yes, there is a fan inside to promote airflow, but dust can never enter the optics compartment and interfere with the projected image! Unlike my other cheap projector that has accumulated a permanent layer of dust trapped inside the optics system!

    4. MIUI TV (not Android TV) built into the projector. I don't know if anyone has ever owned a dual Windows/Android device before. But I did and the same movie played on Android looks washed out and poorer dynamic range than when played in Windows. Hopefully MIUI TV is not a skin on top of Google Android (that makes the image look washed out), but a skin on top of a customized Android Open Source Project with better color profile!
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2023
    Hunter2021, Dec 30, 2023
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  19. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    Redmi-Projector-2.jpeg


    My Xiaomi Redmi projector 2 finally arrived!! I bought the green one on the top right. I still need a way to "dispose" of my current 720p HY300 projector that has trapped a lot of dust under the lens before I could use this new 1080p projector by Xiaomi.

    Reviewers are raving about how it provides 3-D sound thru WANOS panoramic sound. I look forward to trying that out.

    Anyways, I'm simply amazed by the crispness of the projected image on my barren (screen-less) wall. The old 720p projector looked blurry as you move away from the center of the image. The new Redmi doesn't seem to have that problem, or at least maybe it does but I still need to play around with it some more.

    I love the auto-focus feature. There isn't a knob to manually adjust the focus. I know that with my old 720p projector with manual focus only, after you adjust the focus and "let go" of that knob, the recoil from that motion already put the focus off a little, so you can never get the focus just right vs let the machine do it with no recoil motion after letting go...

    In terms of quality, the Redmi Projector 2 feels like a high quality "Apple" imitation product, meaning this is about the highest quality you can go short of getting a 4K laser projector! (Every body including Huawei loves imitating Apple).

    What I LOVE MOST, I got it during the Holiday sales + coupon on Aliexpress. The price immediately shot up by $80 after I bought it. I love this kind of shopping experience, let all the suckers (erm ppl) after me buy them up at over-inflated prices!!


    More info about the Redmi Projector 2nd gen can be found here:

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/New-X...-Redmi-Projector-2-Pro-revealed.753684.0.html
     
    Hunter2021, Jan 10, 2024
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  20. Hunter2021

    Hunter2021

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    This thing is a hot seller. It even made it's way into the Korean market. Here's some Korean dude showing you how to disassemble to clean the lens:



    BTW, if I had to do it over again, I would skip this kind of cheap projector and get a Xiaomi instead (which I already bought from Aliexpress as my second projector). Xiaomi makes high end tech toys. The quality is way up there with Apple. Avoid cheap generic products like the HY-300!
     
    Hunter2021, Jan 18, 2024
    #20
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