AAXA Pico - Image Quality
08/23/2010 - Anthony Arrigo
AAXA L1 Pico Projector - Picture Quality
Ultimately, what matters in a projector is image quality. The Pico type of projector, although striving for better picture quality, is not what one looks for when they want an exceptional image. The Pico projector, especially the AAXA L1 is designed to perform a function for limited situations. The L1 produces a SVGA 800x600 resolution image which is not bad. Picture quality is not as sharp as one might need for viewing spreadsheets, but images came out looking decent. Not good enough for professional use, but good enough for sharing amongst family and friends.
From my lumens test which uses a full white screen, I noticed the projector was not able to achieve a true white image. It cast a very light blue. Keep that in mind if you plan to show scenes of snow or where true whites are important.
The laser technology also produces almost a sparkle look across the whole image. You can kind of see this picture below. This is not the case with Pico projectors that use LED technology. The sparkled image I found made text more difficult to read. Overall I found the image hard to look at for any length of time.
If achieving true to life colors is important to you, then you will not find the L1 to be satisfactory or even acceptable. It should be said again that for applications where you need to accurately represent colors you will want to consider a LCD projector with high contrast and brightness or a DLP that has been reviewed by a professional to determine how accurate the colors are. Pico’s, especially the AAXA L1 just don’t have the level of control in terms of brightness and color settings to accurately represent flesh tones and other colors that the human eye and brain can easily distinguish as inaccurate.
In the image below you can get a good sense of how well this projector is able to represent white. Although a photograph is not a true way to show the performance of a projector, the photo below does match quite closely to what I saw when taking the picture. As you can see the white area of the Excel spreadsheet is off quite a bit. This is true for all white colors on the AAXA L1 regardless of what you are presenting.
The reason Pico's do not achieve the brilliant images has a lot to do with their size and brightness, but when you consider the majority of users are going to be displaying signals from equally portable sized devices like an iphone or PDA, the point is going to be more for fun than to have the greatest image around.
The AAXA L1 supports the playing of video files from its internal memory and also supports video from external sources. Keep in mind that when I refer to video I am not talking about VGA from your laptop, but instead from a device like a DVD player or VCR. The only video from external sources that the L1 accepts are RCA and S-video. This is important to note since most game consoles and other sources like a video camera or still camera will more than likely be a mini HDMI source. You can however play video through your laptops DVD drive if you have one.
The AAXA L1 was not the best projector for watching movies. The speckle effect and lack of visible contrast really made the image difficult to watch. Laser technology compared to LED technology seems to need some work. Especially when you consider laser Picos are about 40 percent more expensive and the image has proven to be not nearly as good as DLP LED Pico projectors.
If you are like most that buy a Pico or are looking into one, you more than likely are planning to use it as a projector for video games or camera image viewing. If so keep the limitations in mind. A short little video at night might be fine, but this projector is no replacement for a true home theater projector. Also, it does accept HD signals so keep that in mind.