Review: Aaxa P4-X Pico Projector
The Aaxa P4-X ($291 on Amazon as of October 29) looks similar to its sibling, the Aaxa P4, which I reviewed earlier this year. A couple of key differences, however, render it more suitable for movies and slideshows than, say, business presentations.
For starters, it has an HDMI input (the P4 doesn't), so you can use it with Blu-ray players and other high-def video sources. That's a plus. But it also has drawbacks: It offers no on-board storage, though it does sport a MicroSD card slot and a short cable (Mini-USB to USB) that you can use to connect a USB flash or hard drive. More important, the P4-X doesn't run Windows CE or provide viewers for Microsoft Office docs; instead, it has a couple of media players and viewers that support popular image, music, and video file formats. The only document support is for TXT files.
Consequently, businesspeople who want to project a PowerPoint presentation or a Word document will likely be tethered to a laptop that can run Office applications, using one of the video outputs that the P4-X supports: VGA, composite video, or the aforementioned HDMI. The good news is that, unlike some other vendors, Aaxa provides adapter cables for all the video sources it supports.
In fact, Aaxa is very good about including accessories in general. Like the P4, the P4-X comes with a small infrared remote control (an infrared sensor sits on the rear of the projector), as well as a tripod that’s sturdier and less prone to buckling than the one that accompanied the P4.
The P4-X weighs 12.8 ounces, which is a bit heavy for a pico projector; its dimensions (5.6 by 2.7 by 1.2 inches) are about average for this category. Its LED-backlit DLP engine projects images rated at 80 lumens while it is connected to the AC adapter, and 60 lumens while it is running on its battery. The lithium-ion battery is rated to last 75 minutes between charges (though in my tests it pooped out a bit earlier). The projector's native resolution is 854 by 480 pixels, and it can accept input resolutions of up to 1280 by 768. That’s fairly standard for a current pico projector.
Navigation controls on top of the machine consist of a return button and a directional keypad (four arrow buttons circling an OK/select button). When you fire up the projector, the first screen you see shows icons for video sources and settings. When you select a video source, you also choose a media player/viewer, and that will display the appropriate files that are available.
Play a video, and you get another set of controls, including fast forward/rewind, next/previous, repeat, and mute. I found it much easier to rely on the remote instead, since it has buttons for most of those controls.
The P4-X can decode AVI, MP4, and SMV video; MP3, OGG, WAV, and WMA audio; BMP, GIF, and JPG still images; and TXT files. It will throw a 50-inch image from a distance of 8 feet, but in my tests a slightly smaller image looked far more crisp. In general, however, I found its images to be bright and colorful (you can make minor adjustments to color quality in the settings). Audio from the 1-watt speaker was predictably lackluster, but you can beef it up by connecting external speakers to the projector's headphone jack.
The P4-X has a lot to recommend it, especially for consumers looking for video playback. While it’s a tad more expensive than some other models in its class, Aaxa compensates by including all the accessories that most people will need, especially the remote and the tripod. Other models in Aaxa’s P4 line are better suited to business users in that they're capable of displaying Microsoft Office files.
Note: This review is part of a four-product roundup. For more, return to the introduction, or click the links below to read our other reviews.