Projector Reviews

Formovie Theater Ultra-Short-Throw 4K Projector Review – Hardware

CHASSIS

The Formovie Theater uses a typical design for many Ultra-Short-Throw projectors consisting of a rectangular chassis with well-defined edges and a cloth-covered front. There are no rounded surfaces on this projector. The chassis is primarily molded polycarbonate with a two-tone gray and charcoal paint job.

The design is consistent with other UST projectors and should blend into most living spaces.

The Formovie Theater measures 21.7″ W × 13.7″ D × 4.2″ H (550 × 349.2 × 107.5 mm) and weighs 21.6 lbs. (9.8 kg). So how does this compare to the current crop of ultra-short-throw projectors? It’s smaller and lighter than the new Epson LS800 but then again, what UST isn’t? This projector is pretty much in the same size and weight ballpark as most of its major 4K UST competitors.

The Formovie Theater has three feet, with the front two adjustable via wheels on each side of the projector. I like this design because it makes adjusting them more manageable than lifting the projector to spin the legs to raise or lower them.

INPUTS AND CONNECTIONS

The Formovie Theater Ultra-Short-Throw (UST) projector connections panel

The input and connections panel is on the projector’s rear. All the inputs and connections are in a straight line, making it easy to determine the type of connector by touch. I know it’s a small thing, but it’s often the little things that make a difference. And speaking of little things, there is not an easily accessible USB input on either the front or sides of the projector. Also, the USB Type-A inputs only support the lower data rate of USB 2.0.

The Formovie Theater offers Wi-Fi 6 for secure high-speed wireless networking. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi connection disappeared the second time I turned the projector on. The projector could not even see my router until I unplugged it, let it sit for about ten seconds, and then plugged it back in. A complete reboot restored Wi-Fi. The next time I shut the projector off and turned it back on, the same thing happened. The projector does come with an RJ45 network connector for a direct connection to a modem or router. Unfortunately, making a wired connection to a router or modem is not always possible. Formovie needs to fix this Wi-Fi issue. What’s the point of having Android TV as the operating system if the projector cannot connect to the internet?

The HDMI connections are 2.1 with support for eARC and ALLM functionality. Despite supporting HDMI 2.1, this projector can only display 1080p or 4K  games at a maximum of 60 fps.

Although Formovie calls this projector a Laser TV, there is no coaxial connector or built-in tuner.

The projector also does not support 3D functionality or WiSA wireless speaker connectivity.

LENS

The Formovie Theater Ultra-Short-Throw (UST) projector lens

The included lens is a typical fixed focal length ultra-short-throw lens with a throw distance of 1.4′ – 2.5′ and is rated by Formovie to display an image from 80 to 150 inches.

The Formovie Theater has lens issues. During my initial setup, when I was testing the range of the focus adjustments, a blue/green streak from the center of the screen to the top right was visible. It did clear up, but it should never have been there.

I found the projected image to be softer than I prefer when projecting onto a screen larger than 100 inches. Focus marginally improves as the projector warms up, but more is needed, especially compared to other ultra-short-throw projectors I’ve reviewed in the same price range.

In researching my focus issues, I’ve found blog posts describing users opening the projector to adjust the focus manually. Even though it might work to solve the soft focus, I can’t think of a worse idea. At best, doing this will void your warranty, and at worst, you could seriously damage the projector or yourself. Could this issue be addressed in a firmware update by Formovie? I don’t know.

MENUS

The Formovie Theater uses Android TV 11 as its operating system. Android 11 is an excellent choice, as most people have used at least one or more Android devices. The OS should look comfortably familiar and be easy for the average consumer to use.

Formovie provides users with precise adjustments for image and sound options allowing this projector to be professionally calibrated, resulting in the best picture it can produce.

When using an external device like an Apple TV, 4K Blu-ray, or PC, the Formovie has inserted an additional layer of menus that are not Android TV and are likely leftovers from the Chinese OS. Users must use two visual and navigation steps to adjust the projector’s picture, sound, and settings depending on the input.

The remote control has a single button that takes the user to shortcuts in a third interface for Focus, Settings, Keystone, Inputs, and an electronic user manual.

Many other high-quality ultra-short-throw projectors use Android TV OS and don’t force users to endure multiple menu experiences.

REMOTE CONTROL

The Formovie Theater remote is made of plastic and is similar to other Android TV-based devices. It is easy to operate, and most buttons have a placement similar to other Android TV remotes. As mentioned in the HARDWARE-MENU section, Formovie has added a shortcut button to a software interface that takes you to Focus, Settings, Keystone, and Inputs. I prefer to have some of these as direct access buttons on the remote.

The remote is not backlit.

According to the Formovie support website, this projector does not support any discrete Infrared (IR) controls such as power and input selection; it only supports Bluetooth remote control.

The Formovie Theater Ultra-Short-Throw (UST) remote control