AAXA P4X - Review Summary
A bottom line summary of the AAXA P4X projector's pros and cons and capabilities. Plus, some "simple" answers to a lot of questions, that hopefully will help.
09/16/12 - Art Feierman
AAXA P4X: Bottom Line
The P4X pico projector is another serious contender, that shows how much improvement can be accomplished in just a couple of years, in this projector category.
First, this Pico projector is selling for down not too much more than $300, and that's below the serious competition, and below a number of picos that are less than half as bright!
I particularly like the rubberized feel to the case of the P4X. It's just not going to slip out of your hand.
Brightness is rather good. Although plugged in, it came up a good 10% short of it's 80 lumen claim, it was almost dead on the money when running on battery power. Ultimately that means you've got about 70 lumens plugged in, and 45 on battery.
Even with the 45 lumens on battery power (and we figure most people will be running on battery, most of the time), brightness is very usable. I have always felt 10 or even 20 lumens is just too little for anything serious. By the time you get up to 45 lumens, this projector can do a decent job on a movie, or photos, on a 30, perhaps up to 40 inch diagonal screen, and not have what you are watching feel dim. Of course I'm talking lights off.
The image above is a very dark image, overexposed. I mentioned that without adjustment (this is default), the P4X is overly contrasty. This image particularly shows that. Still, overall, the color and balance of the Bond "train" image is pretty good, expecially if you reduce that contrast.
Although not the most feature laden pico projector we've seen, it is well endowed. A built in media player supports AVI movies and several photo standards.
It does however lack the ability to display Microsoft Office or PDF files without a computer, as some others can.
If you have an iPad or other device that supports HDMI, that will give you your best interface to most mobile devices. That said, you also have a standard computer input, and of course, standard composite video and audio.
The USB port is for the media player. You cannot hook up, say, an iPhone via the USB, but you can interface to a USB thumb drive, memory stick, flash drive, etc, to use your media player.
Picture quality is pretty good for a pico projector. You will have to fiddle with the settings to get something that looks near the best, but that won't take too long to figure out (see our image quality page for some thoughts).
Overall, most consumers looking for a lightweight pico projector, will find the P4-X pico projector more than fine for viewing family photos and videos.
Need to do a basic presentation for business. Sure, hook it right up to your computer... Just remember, that there are other picos out there that don't require you to drag along the computer (by having a Microsoft Office player).
But, don't panic! With most presentation programs like Powerpoint, you can output the presentation as a series of JPG photos. Just put them on a thumb drive and rely on the media player, and voila: Presentation!
Of course there are plenty of other uses, for fun and business.
I have really liked using the AAXA P4-X. And special thanks to putting some spacing between connectors. My other favorite pico, the Optoma PK320 packs the connectors so close I had to try three different HDMI to HDMI mini connectors, before I found one I could squeeze in next to the Optoma's power cord.
Sound was OK (it will probably be a long time before I exclaim - "wow - a pico projector with really great sound").
The remote control is very nice! I definitely like it much better than the one with the Optoma, which, BTW, isn't bad at all. Menus take a little to get used to, but after that, make sense.
Bottom line: This projector is definitely one of the more impressive pico projectors. To date, we've only seen one other we think is overall better (Optoma's PK320) which is why we gave that pico projector our Hot Product Award, and this P4-X our "almost as good" Special Interest award.
Ultimately it will come down to which features you want/need, including brightness, battery life, picture quality, physical size and weight, ease of use. While I personally might favor a different pico for some things, I count the P4X as definitely one worth considering.
Note please that the P4X sells for significantly less than that one other pico we like... That makes cost a factor you need to consider!
AAXA P4X Projector: Pros
- Higher resolution than some Picos with SVGA 858x480
- Has a microSD card slot for loading presentation slides, photos, videos...
- Accepts HDMI
- Has a USB port to read files from
- 44 measured lumens with internal , 70 lumens with AC power - brighter than most picos.
- Supports a range of picture, video, audio, and eBook formats
- Has a fairly long battery life of 1.5 hours (at full power)
- LED light source rated at 15,000 hours
- 16:9 native aspect ratio and supports 4:3
- High contrast at 2000:1
- One of the most serious contenders in "pico" space
- Great for field personnel, where power is iffy: International use for teachers, missionaries, doctors
- Excellent price performance. You may find a better, bright pico, but it will cost more
AAXA P4X Projector: Cons
- 44 or 70 lumens still isn't very bright on any fairly large projected image - needs a pretty dark room.
- Cannot get full brightness with an external battery pack. Per AAXA with an external battery you would still have only 45 lumens. We did not try to test.
- One of the largest pico projectors we've seen (not counting the much brighter "pocket-sized" picos.
- No match for entry level traditional projectors which cost no more (but are huge by comparison).
- Not as high resolution as those pocket projectors
AAXA P4X Projector: 20 Questions Answered
1) What is the native resolution and what is the max resolution?
Native Resolution is WVGA(858x480) It will accept resolutions up to 720p (1280x720) and WXGA - 1280x800
2) Largest image you can project and how far do you have to be to achieve it?
Per AAXA, the lens will focus to infinity, so there is no technical limit. That said, best viewing (reasonably bright) in a fairly darkened room will be about 20-30 inches diagonal on battery, and 30-40 inches on AC power.
3) Standard battery life?
Easily beats one hour. Running a static test of displaying a photo from USB, the battery kept the projector running for almost exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes We did not test to see if, for example, using HDMI limits the battery life.
4) Does it have internal memory, and how much?
This P4X lacks any memory, so you can't load up a presentation or bunch of pictures right into the projector. Some picos have a healthy amount of memory - even a gigabyte in one case.
5) What light source technology does the projector use?
Uses LED light and lasts an estimated 15,000 hours.
6) What is the native aspect ratio and does it support other aspect ratios?
16:9 but does support 4:3 aspect ratios. Note that the maximum resolution it officially accepts is 720p/ WXGA (1280x720 and 1280x800).
7) What's the story on where to place the projector?
Roughly, the projector sits about twice as far back as the diagonal size of the image. From 8 feet back you get a 4 foot 2 inch diagonal image. That's about as large as you will want to project.
8) Does it have a remote control?
Yes, it comes with a full featured credit card remote control.
9) Does it have a control panel on the projector?
Yes. You can control all the projectors functions from the control panel on the top of the projector.
10) What type of warranty does it have?
1 Year limited parts and labor.
11) Does it have a focus adjustment?
Yes. However does not have a zoom adjustment. The focus is very smooth, a rarity in the world of pico projectors. In this regard far easier to focus than that Optoma I keep mentioning.
12) What inputs/ouputs does the projector have?
Connector (with adapter) for VGA, mini-HDMI, micro-SD card slot, USB, and AV (composite video and stereo audio adapter). There is also a headphone jack that can be used to use with external (powered) speakers or an audio system.
13) Is it compatible with smartphones? Which ones?
It is not specifically designed to work with ios or Android. Some others are. Still, you can export movies, photos, etc. to the P4X projector.
14) What files types can be used for a presentations, photos, documents?
JPG, MP3, MPG, eBooks, Audio files...
15) What light source technology is used in the projector?
The light source is LED technology rated to last 15,000 hours. That's about 7.5 years of 40 hours a week! It should be obsolete years before the light source fails.
16) Will it accept HD video sources and what is the highest resolution it will accept?
Incorrectly, AAXA says the highest resolution it will accept is 1280x800, and 720p (1280x720). We verified 1280x800 over the VGA port, and also hooked up the P4X to one of our Sony PS3 projectors. To our surprise, the P4X pico projector had no problem accepting full 1080p from the Playstation. In fact, I've got Men In Black (Blu-ray) running as I write this.
17) What cables does the projector come with, and WHAT might I need?
The projector comes with one VGA cable adapter to connect your laptop and sound. There's an adapter for USB (micro-to standard USB) so you can use it with your standard USB cabling, or plug a thumbdrive right into the adapter.
You will need a mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter or an cable that's mini-HDMI on one end, HDMI on the other if you plan to feed the P4X projector an HDMI source. Don't forget the micro-SD card slot either - no cable needed, but you might want to get yourself an adapter that you can use if you have standard SD cards.
Of course there's the usual power cord with small transformer on the AC end.
18) How much outboard memory can be used by the projector?
The projector can accept up to 32 gigabyte microSD card. I believe the same limit may exist for USB drives
19) What is the highest brightness in standard mode with just battery and brightness with expansion pack or AC?
Highest measured brightness is about 44 lumens on internal battery. On AC our sample produced just fractionally shy of 70 lumens.
20) What environment is this projector best suited to be used in?
Dark environments with little ambient light for best viewing. A much better projector for sharing what you want, with a few people not a large room full of them. On battery you can get a fairly vibrant 15-20 inch image that can cut through a modest amount of ambient light.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING: AAXA P4X Projector Review