Posted on December 24, 2022 By Philip Boyle
For $3,499, the Formovie Theater is ideal if you seek the highest image quality in this Ultra-Short-Throw projector class. The Formovie Theater’s video and audio feature sets are the most comprehensive I’ve seen at this price point. The images this Ultra-Short-Throw projector produces are beautiful in dark rooms and rooms where users don’t have total control over ambient light sources. As you can see in the pictures below, the images the Formovie displays on the screen look great!
I will admit that my expectations for the performance of this projector were higher because of all the praise it has garnered over the last year and Formovie’s picture quality lived up to the hype. I was satisfied with this projector’s 2,800-lumen brightness rating, color, and contrast performance. The Formovie Theater can replace the living room TV.
When it comes to sound performance, the benefits of a partnership with Bowers & Wilkins are clear from the first time you turn up the volume on Mad Max: Fury Road or any of the new Star Wars movies. Sound is distortion-free, even at high volumes. It matched many soundbars I’ve heard. The dialogue is not lost in the rest of the movie’s sounds, so I never had to back up to hear something I missed or turn on closed captioning. The new Netflix show Wednesday has been one of those shows where I’m constantly missing critical dialog from Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday character. On the Formovie, there’s not a muffled word. The Formovie’s soundstage is also excellent at filling the space around me with sound. My best results were when I turned the Formovie’s Dolby Atmos mode on, and turned off all other audio signal processing.
Does the projector have the bass performance of a subwoofer? No. It’s not a subwoofer. Compared to many other Laser TV projectors I’ve reviewed, the Formovie Theater’s sound performance is the best I’ve experienced. If you want bigger sound, use the projector’s eARC capability to pass the Dolby Atomos signals from the projector to an external surround sound system.
Not everything was as good as I expected it to be. For example, the detail on this projector is softer than I like. Also, I had a problem with chromatic aberrations that would happen intermittently and then disappear once the projector warmed up. Almost every projector typically improves performance with a little warm-up, but I’m not talking about that. I’m in southern California, not in the Canadian Tundra. I should get a watchable distortion-free image with sharper focus from startup, especially on a Laser TV product at this price.
Wi-Fi connectivity is a problem. The Formovie will lose sight of the router. Restart the projector, and it may connect again, or it may not. Unplug the projector, reboot, and magically Wi-Fi connectivity is back until it disappears again. Who cares if the projector has Wi-Fi 6 support if the thing keeps losing sight of my router?
I love that the Formovie Theater uses Android TV 11 as the projector’s operating system. Android 11 provides projector access to almost every app in the Android TV app store, except for Netflix. The Google Assistant integration is fantastic. However, Formovie engineers still need to fully integrate Android TV 11 with the projector. Let me give you a few examples. Any devices plugged into the projector’s HDMI ports must use an additional layer of menus to get to the Android TV menus. Also, rather than putting shortcuts commonly found on other ultra-short-throw projector remotes, Formovie has created a button for another visually different menu for shortcuts to Inputs, Settings, Keystone, and Focus. That’s three different menu systems used on this projector, depending on what you need to do.
Also, the projector remote is just a Bluetooth remote with no IR functionality.
These things are little irritations, except for Focus and Wi-Fi issues, but they show this projector needs some improvements.
The Formovie Theater produces impressive images. The projector was incredibly well-tuned in all modes, including the preset modes for non-HDR or Dolby Vision content. Each built-in preset provides well-thought-out ideas of what most people think is a great picture. If you want highly over-saturated colors like a 2014 Samsung LCD TV, the VIVID mode gives you that. MOVIE and CHILD modes are incredibly well-balanced in both SDR and HDR. The Dolby Vision modes are well-balanced with color, brightness, and black levels, which can be stunning.
The Formovie Theater looks excellent and sounds fantastic, but it’s also buggy. It has problems that Formovie has had quite a while to fix, and they have not.
If you have three grand burning a hole in your pocket and all you care about is getting the best-looking and best-sounding DLP laser TV, and you don’t care about all these little and, not so little irritations, then this might be the projector for you. I know it has a warranty, but it’s only one year, and then you are on your own.
Things change fast in this business, and there will always be the next big thing right around the corner, so you will have to balance the risks versus the rewards for yourself.
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