Posted on September 18, 2012
The AAXA P4X Pico projector is larger than most true Pico projectors. (Of course, most things really “pico” need a microscope to be seen.) On the other hand, it’s smaller and lighter than that next larger class of pico projectors called pocket projectors. No matter, the AAXA P4X is a very small and lightweight projector. It competes head to head with Optoma’s PK320 which we recently reviewed. Both being a good deal brighter than previous sub-1 pound projectors.
In the case of the P4X projector, this Pico projector claims 80 lumens when plugged in. Measurements were very close to claim (more info on that later). Unplug the P4X Pico, and brightness claim drops to 45 lumens. Hardly dazzling, but still brighter than almost all of the significantly smaller pico projectors.
The P4X comes with a small credit card style remote, which works very well. There are several cables in the box, but I would have liked to see either an HDMI cable (it uses the mini-HDMI connection), or at least an adapter converting a male HDMI to a male mini-HDMI, so people can plug right in. They do provide cables for analog computer (a standard HD15 connector on the cable, and a USB female, to USB mini.)
Like many Pico projectors, this AAXA projector has a built in media player. I’ve viewed photos and even video over USB, also, I viewed movie and/or sports content from my Sony PS3 and DirecTV box. Unlike the Optoma PK320, this P4X seems to be fine with a 1080p feed. I had dropped my PS3 down to 720p with the Optoma projector, to get a good connection.
Of course, the P4X uses a long life LED lightsource, that unless you are doubling the P4X as a night light, and letting it run all the time, the lightsource, per AAXA, should last 15,000 hours. That falls in the usual quoted range of 10,000 to 20,000 hours for pico projectors.
Note, special features are rather different on pico projectors compared to conventional projectors. Here, for example, on a pico, an HDMI port is definitely a special feature as many pico projectors lack one. By comparison, media players in pico projectors are pretty standard, but very unusual in the world of larger projectors, or even most sub-5 lb. “road warrior” projectors.
P4-X Tripod Mount
The P4X easily mounts to a tripod for easy setup because of the threaded hole on the bottom of the projector. You’ll notice that most of the pictures in this review, were taken with the P4-X mounted to a small, telescoping tripod, (extends to about 2 feet), rather than the micro tripod that AAXA includes in the box.
P4-X LED Light Technology
You never have to replace the lamp. The LED light technology used in Pico projectors means you will most likely buy the latest model before the lamp ever fails. One more time: AAXA rates their LED lightsource at 15,000 hours.
P4X Multimedia Player and inputs
Here we go! Each projector’s media player is different. Often in performance, but primarily in what formats it can accept and use. We did not attempt to take a really close look at media player performance, beyond practical use, including viewing the usual family photos, and movies. That said, the P4X is relatively limited. We’ve reviewed pico projectors that have supported more formats, but the P4X does support 4 video (standard AVI, MP3, MP4, MPG) plus a range of still photo formats, audio, and eBooks. Pretty impressive, even if it can’t deal with PDFs or Microsoft Office documents.
P4X HDMI Input Discussion
The P4X has a mini-HDMI input. It works great! That said: Not all cables will work. A company called Redemere makes cables sold under many names. They are recognizable as they are much thinner than any other HDMI cables. Think thickness of a thick strand of spaghetti. Great cables, in that they are super portable, with a 10 foot cable weighing only an ounce or so.
To date, I’m 0 for 4 attempts – that is, unfortunately, none of the picos tested so far work with those cables. Why? They do something unusual, they pull power from the display. Normally you pull power (if needed) from the source side. I think these cables pull from both ends, being smart cables. The thing is, the pico projectors don’t seem to provide that power on the display side, no doubt to maximize battery life. It would be nice to be able to carry a 10 foot cable that is a fraction the bulk and weight of the projector, rather than carrying a bulky 1 pound plus cable.
AAXA P4X Audio / Sound
The AAXA P4-X offers 1 watt stereo speakers. Think a step of from a typical laptop, not as good as a laptop with “big sound” definitely there is no “rock the house” capability. Still, it is enough sound with a different level, to show videos, and do presentations that have some audio. Rely on the headphone jack if you need serious sound. You can plug one or a pair of powered speakers in, or feed the output to an audio system. No issues there, it works, and then your audio is limited to what you plug into.
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