AAXA M1 Plus SVGA LCoS Projector
Projector Central Highly Recommended Award

Highly Recommended Award

Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.

  • Performance
  • 3.5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$359 MSRP Discontinued

Notably light and small even for an ultraportable, the AAXA M1 Plus weighs less than a pound by itself and less than 1.5 pounds if you include the power block. That makes it not much heavier than the biggest pocket projectors. It has a white LED light source, and is brighter than most projectors in its weight class. It is also higher resolution, with an SVGA (800x600) LCOS chip.

The M1 Plus scores particularly well on convenience features, with the ability to read files directly from a microSD card or its own 1GB internal memory as well as connect to computers and video devices. Best of all, it boasts a relatively low price, at $339 direct from AAXA Technologies.

Advantages

Small size and light weight. Manufacturers tend to exclude the weight of the external power block when they state the size and weight of their projectors, and even then most ultraportable projectors come out to 1.5 pounds or heavier. Adding the power block typically boosts the weight to well over 2 pounds. We weighed the M1 Plus along with its power block at 1.4 pounds, making it one of the lightest ultraportables available -- and perhaps the lightest. It's also one of the smallest, at 4.4" x 4.1" x 1.8".

The power block is also reasonably small, at 3.75" x 1.7" x 1.4" (not including the prongs or power cord). It's too big to fit along with the M1 Plus into the soft carrying case that comes with the projector, but small enough so carrying it separately shouldn't be a problem.

Reads files directly to enhance portability. The M1 Plus can read an assortment of file types directly from its 1GB internal memory or from microSD cards, so you don't have to carry a notebook or video source with you. The full list of supported formats according to AAXA, includes JPG and GIF files for presentations or photos; AVI, MPG, MP4, RMVB, RM, VOB, DAT, and 3GP files for video; and MP3 files for audio.

To read files from a memory card, you simply plug the card into the slot on the back of the M1 Plus and then pick SDcard from the projector's Source menu. Similarly, to use the internal memory, you copy the files to the projector, and choose Memory as the source.

AAXA supplies a USB cable to connect to a computer. Simply set the projector to USB Data mode, plug in the cable, and your computer will recognize the M1 Plus memory as a drive. (According to AAXA, this will work with both Mac and Windows systems.)

Good Connectivity. In addition to the microSD card slot and USB port, the back of the projector offers a VGA port and an audio-video miniplug connector, which lets you connect to a variety of video sources. AAXA includes one adaptor cable, ending in a miniplug on one side and three female phono plugs on the other, to let you plug in a standard composite video, or video plus audio, cable. AAXA also sells additional adaptor cables for connecting to an iPod ($19.99 direct), Zune ($12.99 direct), and PlayStation Portable ($18.99 direct).

Reasonably bright. AAXA rates the M1 Plus at 66 lumens. We measured it at 34 lumens -- only 52% of its rating. Even 66 lumens is a relatively low brightness for an ultraportable, but it's important to judge the brightness in context of the M1 Plus's small size and low price compared to most other ultraportables. In many ways, the more appropriate comparison is to pocket projectors. If you take power blocks into account, pocket projectors aren't much smaller or lighter than the M1 Plus, and they typically offer brightness ratings of only 10 to 20 lumens. In that context, the AAXA's 34 lumens is bright enough to count as a plus.

Optional battery. If you want the additional flexibility of using the M1 Plus without plugging it in, you can get an optional battery and charger for $79 direct. According to AAXA the 5.3" x 3" x 1", 13.4 ounce battery lasts 1.5 hours. Note that its recharge time is a relatively long 5 to 6 hours.

Includes a remote. The small size and light weight of an ultraportable makes it easy to accidentally move the projector when you change settings, forcing you to readjust the image position and sometimes the focus. The M1 Plus sidesteps the problem by coming with a credit card size remote.

Reasonably high volume, high quality audio. Most ultraportables either don't bother with an audio system, or include one with such low volume that it's barely usable. By those standards, the dual 1-watt speakers in the M1 Plus are surprisingly capable. As you might expect from such a small unit, the sound has a tinny quality, but speech comes out crisp and clear, and easy to understand. The audio also offers a high enough volume to be useful. It's easily loud enough to let you sit through a movie and hear every word from three or four feet away.

You can also take advantage of the stereo audio output to plug in a headset, which offers more than enough volume as well as potentially better sound quality, depending on the headset.

Disadvantages

No control panel. Although the M1 Plus earns points for having a remote control, it loses some for not also having controls on the projector itself. Lose the remote, and you have no way to use the projector, since you can't tell it what source to use. Replacement remotes are $9.99. AAXA says it normally ships by ground, with 1 to 4 days delivery time. Overnight delivery is also available for an additional charge.

No cables. It is not unusual for projectors to come with only one or two cables, so you have to buy others separately if you want them. However, the M1 Plus doesn't come with any. Unless you already have the cables you need for both computers and video devices, keep in mind when you compare prices that the real price includes the cost of cables, especially if the model you're comparing the M1 Plus to already includes the cables you need.

Hard to focus. The M1 Plus's focus wheel is unusually hard to move, so that once it starts moving, it's easy to overshoot the focused position. It's not hard to get the image reasonably well focused. However, it's a challenge to get the best focus possible, so thin lines have a properly crisp look.

Poor brightness uniformity. Most ultraportables have problems maintaining even brightness across the entire screen. The M1 Plus is no exception, although you wouldn't know it from the usual way of reporting brightness uniformity.

We measured the uniformity at 78%, which is actually a good score. However the brightness changes quickly over a short distance, which makes the difference more noticeable. If you exclude the readings from the upper right area of the screen, the uniformity is 95%, which means it drops by nearly 20% in that one area. That's enough to make it noticeable, and possibly annoying to some viewers, on data screens with a solid background. Photos and video images tend to be busy enough to hide the lack of uniformity.

Image Quality Issues. The M1 Plus's overall image quality is typical for its category. For data screens, colors tended to look a little washed out, and, in some cases in our tests, one-pixel wide lines showed as the wrong color. Note too that white on black text is more readable at small sizes than black on white, which is the more common choice. This could be a minor problem for presentations that include a spreadsheet, for example. In general, however, the data image quality is certainly good enough to be usable.

For video and photos, colors looked even more washed out in than in data screens, and the image had a distinctly hazy, low contrast look to it, but, here again, the quality is good enough to be usable.

Conclusion

The M1 Plus offers a size, weight, price, and brightness level that makes it as much of a direct competitor to larger pocket projectors as it is to other ultraportables. Compared to most pocket projectors, it's brighter and offers higher resolution. Compared to other ultraportables, it's smaller, lighter, and costs less. Compared to its competition in either category, it's strong on convenience features, including a remote control and the ability to read files from microSD cards and its own memory. If you're can't decide between getting a pocket projector for the sake of portability or an ultraportable for its higher brightness and resolution, the M1 Plus may be precisely the projector you're looking for.


For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our AAXA M1 Plus projector page.

Comments (7) Post a Comment
Eric Chweu Posted Aug 18, 2010 5:35 AM PST
I am impressed by the description of AAXA M1 Plus Pocket Projector and would like to own one. Please let me know the procedures for purchasing it from you since i am a South African.

regards

Eric
akemai Posted Dec 14, 2010 5:14 PM PST
Microprojectors including aaxa's M1 have disappointingly low resolutions at 800x600 and below. If you use these microprojectors for word processing and reading articles while surfing, even at 800x600 (although seems not a big difference from 1024x768), they will make the words very hard and hazy to see, just as described in the above article. However, M1's brightness is impressive and I can't find irregularities in brightness just by direct looking. So don't buy it if you don't need portability.
Mark Brooke Posted May 9, 2011 11:41 AM PST
I was really stoked on this thing! i got ti to bring with me when i teach workshops cause I don't alway have TV to use and everything we super smooth!
Gina Posted May 24, 2011 4:10 PM PST
I just got a coupon via email, use MEMD2011TB to get free cable and shipping when you purchase the new M1 Ultimate X projector.
Stuart Posted Jun 17, 2011 2:05 PM PST
Wow, I guess this unit has been out for a while looking at the $359 price. I saw this coupon online M1PREF which takes $50 off the $239 refurb price. Thanks for posting this review!
Ethan Posted Dec 11, 2011 9:10 PM PST
I have a m1 and cinemin swivel and the swivel is much better!
Andres Posted Apr 29, 2012 9:48 AM PST
Good Moring I need a new Lamp for this model Mini proyector Limited 75 lumen 100 pulgadas 800x600 Micro Proyector Aaxa M1 Plus I am in Buenos Aires ,Doun Town ,Argentina Can you help me please Andrés Billiet Ingeniería en Sistemas Buenos Aires-Argentina Phone:4381-3908/15-3410-1771 inver_sores@yahoo.com.ar

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