Review Contents
Highly Rated Projectors
Performance
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Mobile Presentation
AAXA P4 Projector AAXA P4
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Street Price: n/a
MSRP:$399
Contrast:2,000:1
Lumens:80
Weight: 0.8 lbs
Resolution:854x480
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:DLP
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:15,000 Hrs
15,000 (eco)
Connectors:  Composite, VGA In, Audio Out, MemoryCard, USB

AAXA P4 Pico Projector

Marc Davidson, January 20, 2012

The DLP-based AAXA P4 is an impressively capable pico projector, packed with nearly every feature you can think of. AAXA even added a metaphorical kitchen sink, in the form of Windows CE. Unfortunately, there are some important limitations too, but they're mostly related to the extras and wouldn't count as limitations if the extras weren't there at all.

Given the native 854x480 resolution instead of the more common 640x480, for example, you'd expect to have the full widescreen format available for a VGA or composite video connection. However external sources are limited to 4:3 format (until a promised firmware upgrade at least). The 16:9 format is available only for files the P4 reads from memory. That also means you don't get the P4's full brightness with external sources, especially for widescreen images in letterbox format, since you're using only part of the chip's full array.

On the glass is half full side, this also means the P4 can read files from memory, it offers its full 16:9 aspect ratio for those files at least, and it's a Windows CE device too. It's also a lot brighter than earlier generation pocket projectors, although it didn't measure up to its 80-lumen rating.

Add in surprisingly good image quality and an appropriately small size, and the P4 is still pretty impressive for $339 direct. Also add the Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo for $49.99 direct, both to take advantage of Windows CE and work as a remote control, and it's an even more attractive choice.

Strengths

Good data image quality. The P4's data image quality is surprisingly good for a pico projector. With the exception of yellow, which was a little dark in terms of a hue, saturation, brightness model, colors in my tests were vibrant, bright, and well saturated. Color balance was also good, with various levels of gray suitably neutral.

The image retained detail well for the resolution. Black text on a white background was easily readable at 9 point size on a 45" diagonal screen (39" wide at 16:9 aspect ratio) from 7 feet or closer. Smaller sizes weren't easily readable from any distance, but that's more a measure of the resolution than image quality.

Also helping image quality overall is that the P4 tends to suffer less from rainbow artifacts than many DLP-based pocket projectors, and it offers an unusually high 92% brightness uniformity.

Relatively good video image quality. The P4's video image quality varies depending on the source, but qualifies as a strong point overall. The projector doesn't handle shadow detail well, but the problem is obvious only in scenes that a lot of projectors have trouble with.

On the plus side, I didn't see any motion artifacts, and colors were nicely saturated. Even better, I saw surprisingly few rainbow artifacts. This is always a potential issue for single-chip DLP projectors, and it tends to show most often in video. I'm sensitive to the effect, but you'd have to be a lot more sensitive than I am for it to be an issue with the P4.

Suitably Portable. Pocket projectors are small and portable by definition. For the P4, that translates to measuring 1.2" x 2.8" x 5.6" (HWD) and weighing just 0.6 pounds by itself, 0.9 pounds if you add the external power block, or 1.1 pounds if you also add the optional external keypad and mouse combo. Portability is enhanced by the fact that the projector can read files from memory, so you don't necessarily have to bring a computer or video source with you. Also, the 75 minute battery life is long enough that you may not have to bring the power block on every trip.

Windows CE and optional Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo. You can use the built-in Windows CE with any external USB keyboard and mouse, but it's hard to imagine carrying a full size keyboard around. The optional Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo, which is about the size of a small bar of chocolate, turns the projector into a useful Windows CE device. Plug the keyboard's USB adaptor into the USB A port on the projector, press a button to establish a connection, and you can use the keyboard both for Windows CE, and as a remote for the projector.

Also worth mention is the already installed, full version of SoftMaker Office 2010 for both reading PowerPoint files and editing or creating a presentation. However, it's hidden in a subfolder, so you may have to call AAXA's tech support to find it, or invest some time hunting through the folders in Windows CE.

Review Contents: Intro and Strengths Testing and Connectivity Limitations and Conclusion

Reader Comments(5 comments)

Posted Apr 30, 2014 11:11 PM

By R.P

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Amazing Projector! Ideal for students and Adults !! I use it all the time.

Posted Nov 5, 2013 10:50 AM

By Mandy

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Where can I purchase this device, and not the P4-X? The website itself only sells the P4-X and other websites will say P4, but actually be selling you the P4-X. The P4 has the windows ce software, whereas the newer P4-X does not. Please advise.

Posted Dec 30, 2012 10:02 PM

By teacher angy

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Thank you for this info. It was good to know about using a regular keyboard and if i could just open a powerpoint and show it.

Posted Oct 4, 2012 4:38 PM

By Dave Sherrill

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Bought this product, and it for like a year. I am currently a college student who lives in messy and cluttered dorms, and I found this projector extremely useful. I use it for entertainment, and I can literally bring it everywhere.

Posted Feb 4, 2012 6:23 AM

By Andrew Ray

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Found a solution to the resolution problem for Mac OS X. Using switchResX, you need to create a custom display with the following settings: 1056x600, 60.000 Hz. (Note the 60.000 Hz, if you use 60.3Hz you'll get a vertical band on the screen where the color is off, causing glowing pink faces.) You then select the 800x600 option in the sources menu.

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