I’ve been fascinated by the numerous pico projectors that have been released in the past few years. The idea of being able to connect your phone or media device to something just about the same size and throw the picture, slide or video playing on the former up on a wall by using the latter seemed… well, it seemed rather cool to me. It certainly intrigued my geekier side.
So when AAXA released their AAXA P1 Jr. I took note. It claims to be the “world’s smallest LCOS pico projector with onboard MP4 player”. When they reached out and asked if we would like to review a unit I jumped on the opportunity. After all, the P1 Jr. promises to deliver a big picture right from a phone or iPod that is pretty much the same size and it is priced under $135.
Let’s take a look…
Designed as a personal projector, the AAXA P1 Jr. is the world’s smallest LCOS pico projector with onboard MP4 player. Smaller than a smart phone and less than 1” thick the P1 Jr. employs AAXA’s tiny new P110 optical engine and produces a substantial 10 lumen image in a 4:3 aspect ratio. With a SD Card slot, USB-on-the-go, half-watt speaker, and a robust MP4 processor; the P1 Jr. is capable of playing videos, pictures, and music files as well as connecting to video output devices such as the Apple iPhone, Sony Playstation Portable, and portable DVD players. With its one hour battery and 10 lumen output, the P1 Jr. puts a 50”* movie screen in your pocket!
The P1 Jr. makes for a unique gift, is value priced at $119 and with its tiny size, multiple functionalities, and wide compatibility represents the very latest in mobile entertainment technology.
*The P1 Jr. is designed to be used in dark environments only and large projected images should only be attempted in dark areas.
In The Box:
In the box you’ll find the AAXA P1 Jr. itself along with a wall charger, USB Data cable, a composite A/V cable, a small tripod and a user manual. (I appreciated the fact that the user manual came on a mini-CD rather than wasting paper. Personally I’m looking forward to the day that products come with a Q Code on the box that, when zapped, pull up the user-manual on-line. It will be just as convenient and waste far less paper.)
The box includes just enough to get going but it does exclude some important accessories. The result is that, among other things, you can’t connect the unit to an iPod, PSP or Zune right out of the box. For that you need one of the available accessories… at an additional expense, of course.
Available accessories include:
AAXA P1 Jr. iPod A/V Cable: “Carries audio/video signals, Full VGA (640×480) resolution, Works with iPod, iPhone, iTouch.” MSRP: $25.00, Currently $19.99
AAXA P1 Jr. PSP A/V Cable: “Carries audio/video signals, Full VGA (640×480) resolution, Works with all PSP 2000/3000.” MSRP: $25.00, Currently $18.99
AAXA P1 Jr. Zune A/V Cable; “Carries audio/video signals, Full VGA (640×480) resolution, Works with Zune 30/80/120.” MSRP: $18.00, Currently $12.99
The added cost for the various connectors is annoying but would bother me more if the unit itself were not so inexpensive. All the same, when calculating the cost of the P1 Jr. factor in at least one of the cable accessories.
The unit itself is surprisingly small. It is a bit shorter and wider than the iPod touch but significantly fatter. To be more specific, it is 4.13″ x 2.21″ x 0.79″ and weighs 4.45 oz. It is made from high-gloss plastic and, yes, it does collect dust and fingerprints.
On the top of the device is a focus adjustment, a five-way joystick for navigating the on-board menus and an escape button that takes you right to the top-level of the menu.
Here’s a closer look at the focus adjustment and the projector lens.
On the bottom is a tripod mount (it works with the included tripod but go for a GorillaPod if you plan on using a tripod with it!), a speaker (it pumps out sound that is easy to understand/listen to but has the quality one would expect from something so small) and vents. While the P1 Jr. does not get loud there is a noticeable fan sound as the tiny fan struggle to keep the unit cool.
On the back (from left to right) are an A/V port, the power button, a mini-USB port (hence the included mini-USB to USB adapter), and a power port for use with the included AC adapter.
On one side (not shown) is a slot for an SD card since the P1 Jr. has a nice feature that allows it to read and project some kinds of media right from an SD card. It also has the ability to read data directly from an On-The-Go enabled USB flash drive.
Long LED Life: Unlike conventional Lamp-based projectors, the P1 Jr.’s LED lamp never needs to be replaced. (15,000 hours)
Real Quick ON & OFF: The LED Lamp enables the P1 Jr. to achieve full brightness within 5 seconds, as there is no bulb warm-up time. Of course, it turns off instantly as well.
Onboard media player supports popular file formats and lets you share movies, videos, photos with friends and family.
Onboard speaker for multimedia playback.
Rechargeable battery for totally cordless operation.
Environmentally Friendly: The LED Lamp consumes less power. The LED Lamp is also 100% free of mercury and, as the bulb never needs to be replaced, there are no discarded bulbs.
The review unit did not come with an iPod adapter so I was unable to use it with my iPhone, touch or iPad. I was, however, able to connect my Roku box and watch part of a movie with the image projected on my study wall. I also used the SD slot to watch some video clips that I transferred from my Mac. In all the experience of using the P1 Jr. was good… but not great.
The device is a well made and the unit is clearly well-thought out. The result is a device that is quite easy to set up and start using. The device charges fully in 3-4 hours. That charge will power the unit for up to one hour. In other words, if you plan on using this to watch a movie make sure you have an outlet nearby. If you don’t you will likely lose power right when the car is about to go over a cliff or a key point in the suspense buildup is revealed.
The projector puts out 10 ANSI-Lumens and the speaker pumps out a “powerful” .5w. That translates to this — if you plan on using this device to enjoy media you will need to be in a room that is as dark as possible. Even then, the image, while truly watchable, is not a great quality image. Think in terms of the movies you watched when you were a kid in summer camp and they showed a movie projected on the mess hall wall or a sheet hung between two trees. (I tried to capture the image it produced in a number of ways but none of the images were useful for demonstrating the image quality.)
I realize that I sounds like a might be panning this device. I’m not. The AAXA P1 Jr. really does do what it promises and it does so with ease and at a great, accessible, price too.
Just know what you are getting if you order one since this is not a high-quality, HD projector. Then again, it does not advertise itself as one!
I can see this as being great for sharing a presentation or some pictures with family and friends. It DOES work for sharing video with others instead of huddling up and trying to all watch on a 3/4″ screen. Is it an IMAX experience? Not even close. But I did enjoy watching the end of my movie while using it. In fact, seeing my Roku box projecting its image on my study wall was actually the BEST part of the movie.
The AAXA P1 Jr.is available directly from the AAXA website.
MSRP: $134, Currently $119 from the AAXA website.
What I Like: Small; light; well made; takes video off you small device and lets you share with others; has the ability to read media right from an SD card and project it on a wall
What Needs Improvement: Additional cables needed to use with an iPod, Zune or many other popular devices; gives the kind of performance you would expect from something this small and inexpensive.