Posted on December 4, 2015 Art Feierman
The AAXA P700 is pretty cool as pocket projectors go. It comes with an unusually impressive feature set. This is a projector suitable for home use, from movies to sports to gaming, but it is also a very competent small projector for business and specialty uses.
About the photos: For those of you with discerning eyes – you will notice that all the images of movies and HDTV are slightly, vertically stretched. By comparison, photos taken of content being displayed from computers is exactly right. The aspect ratio issue will be discussed near the bottom of this page.
As you would suspect, the P700 is a single chip DLP projector, and like almost all such creatures, it has an LED light engine for extremely long life. The projector will be obsolete – no, make that ancient, before the LED light engine is likely to fail you.
For a projector weighing less than a pound and a half, it really is rather bright, claiming a maximum of 650 lumens, and measuring close to claim. Here’s the first really interesting thing. The P700 projector has a built in battery pack, and that is downright rare for a projector this bright. Rarely can one find a projector with more than 150 – 300 lumens with a battery solution.
That it can run on batteries, btw, opens up one interesting educational market – more of an international one. This projector would be suitable for rural areas in parts of the world where electricity simply is not reliable! I expect, therefore that it will find a significant market among church groups and secular non-profits that send staff to 3rd world countries, and rural areas of 2nd world ones. 10-15 years ago my old company sold roughly a couple thousand sub 50 lumen projectors (mostly Mitsubishi PK20’s if anyone cares), to just those types of groups. This projector is far more practical.
Thanks to the WXGA resolution, this projector rivals traditional lamp based projectors. While WUXGA projectors are out there, WXGA and the slightly lower resolution XGA projectors (4:3 aspect ratio) dominate projector sales to businesses. WXGA is also slightly higher resolution that 720p HD, so it can project 720 HD content without compressing it, and it does support full HD 1080p and 1080i.
Like many, but not all pico and pocket projectors the AAXA P700 has a built in media player. I like the P700’s player because along with handling photos and videos, it supports Microsoft Office, making the P700 a serious presenting and work group tool. As you would expect with a media player built in, it can do PC free presentations from USB or via it’s TF card slot also called micro-SD (you can get 3rd party adapters for other cards. I’ve used my SD cards with the projector and a USB adapter, with no problem.
Since I’ve already mentioned the aspect ratio issue and the WXGA resolution, I’ll finish the discussion about that here. Let me start by saying this. The P700 allows for users to update the firmware, if an update file is provided by AAXA. I know, as I’ve already gone through the process and its easy, takes just a couple of minutes, and no heavy thinking.
Here’s the problem. This is a 16:10 projector, and movie and HDTV content is 16:9. The P700 is stretching the 720 pixels of vertical data to automatically fill the full 800 high pixels of the projector. Darn. What you want when watching HDTV or movies, is to have them displayed at 1280×720, not 1280×800.
The strange thing is that the P700 has multiple aspect ratio modes, including one labeled 16:9. Now first of all, their Auto setting should detect the 720p signal as 720 and not stretch it. Perhaps internally it doesn’t instead telling it to use the 16:9 aspect ratio. Problem is the 16:9 aspect ratio doesn’t change it at all, and it should. None of the modes solved the problem. The support folks at AAXA are now aware of the issue, so we’ll have to see if they come up with a firmware upgrade to address/fix this, so our movies and TV programs are the right shape with no distortion.
Let me be clear – I really like the P700, but as a home theater enthusiast, I immediately notice the stretching, even though it’s not a great amount. Let me emphatically state, that the P700 received the Special Interest award primarily because it’s such a good choice for portable business and education use.
Had this aspect ratio issue not existed, then the P700 would have instead received our higher level Hot Product Award, as it would have been a top choice for both business/education portable use, and for home use. But, as it is, although many won’t notice or care, the issue cannot be overlooked for those really wanting a first class pocket projector for home use. (One caveat: If you are feeding the projector movies, etc from a 16:10 laptop, rather than cable, satellite, Blu-ray, etc., you shouldn’t get hit by this problem.) I will revisit the award situation if/when AAXA provides a firmware update that solves this issue.
We wish to thank Epson America for sponsoring this year’s Best Classroom Projectors report, in which this projector is considered.
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