AAXA L1 is a different kind of pico projector, using a laser light source instead of an LED. The use of a laser means the projector never has to be focused. With built-in media player software, compatibility with Microsoft Office documents, and 160MB of onboard memory, the AAXA L1 is a pocket presenting powerhouse. While the MSRP of $599 is well above that of most other pico projectors, the L1 brings a lot to the table.
Image quality. The L1 is rated at 20 lumens maximum, and our test sample measured roughly 18 lumens. In a dark room, you could project up to a 45" diagonal, though a brighter environment will limit diagonal size to 20" or less. The image has a slightly green cast to it, but no more so than other current products in this market segment. Colors are well-saturated almost to the point of oversaturation, which makes the L1 a compelling product to use for the display of data graphics. Contrast in a dark room is quite good, with shadow detail in video maintained properly. Blacks are deep in comparison to similar products.
High resolution. Compared to most other pico projectors, the L1's native SVGA resolution is a huge improvement. Many pico projectors these days are only 640x480, or VGA, resolution. Of those that are SVGA, the L1 is, by far, the smallest and most fully-featured. This greater resolution makes it easier to read text documents or Powerpoint presentations without having to zoom in. It also makes photographs appear clearer and sharper. Furthermore, since the L1 uses a laser for illumination, it is difficult to see any visible pixelation, and there is zero "screen door" effect.
Long life lamp. The laser light source has an estimated life of 30,000 hours, which is in concert with all pocket/pico projectors using laser or LED light sources. In practical terms, the light source will far outlast the expected lifespan of the product, so users will not need to be concerned about lamp replacements.
True pocket size. The L1 measures only 4" long by 2" wide by .75" deep, making it truly "pocket sized" and easily transportable. And since the L1 has an onboard media player, you won't need to haul around any bulky accessories. For large video files, the most you will require is a simple USB memory stick. The L1 comes with a 2GB USB stick, though it can read higher-capacity drives if you happen to own them.
Connectivity. The L1, being such a small projector, has a limited number of ports. Specifically, it has a USB-A connection, a 1/8" headphone jack, a power connection for the wall charger, and an A/V port. It manages to use these ports for a surprising number of connections. The USB port is used to connect the L1 to a computer, so you can load the 160MB onboard memory with media files. It is also used to connect USB flash memory, which was our preferred mode of use during testing for its combination of large capacity and small size. The A/V port connects to one of the L1's breakout cables, allowing you to use VGA, composite, or s-video connections.