Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2: High Style, Low Brightness, High Price

It’s the rare projector that crosses my path with an aesthetically beautiful design. There is enough of Cool projectorssomething cute projectors and even some that you generous “clean.” The Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2 is as stylish as any projector I’ve seen and would feel right at home amongst Apple devices on one Ero Saarinen Table flanked by Corbusier chairs.

don’t like

  • Not bright enough
  • No battery
  • Priced like an Apple product

Unfortunately, it is relatively expensive and the image quality and features do not quite match the excellent design. It’s not very bright, the colors are a bit off, and it is contrast enough at best. And unlike most truly portable projectorsthere is no built-in battery.

For less money, the Anker Mars II Pro offers more brightness, the same contrast, and a battery that lets you watch movies anywhere. Overall, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2 falls a bit short, if only by a (nifty) bit.

specifications and such

  • Native resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
  • HDR Compatible: Yes
  • 4K Compatible: No
  • 3D Compatible: No
  • Lumen specification: 500
  • Zoom: None
  • Lens Shift: None
  • Lamp life (Normal mode): Not listed

The Mi Smart Projector 2 has what I consider standard specifications for a projector of this price and size. Full HD resolution (aka 1080p). is good as many inexpensive projectors are 720p or less. while it is HDR compatiblekeep in mind that it doesn’t have the contrast ratio to do anything with highly dynamic content (but to be fair, Many projectors are bad at HDR).

That 500 lumen rating is common in small portable projectors. However, I measured 162, lower than most of its competitors. It is darker than the Anker Solar, Anker Mars II Pro and even the Samsung Freestyle, all designed for nearly the same lumens. Remember that in addition to improving image quality, higher brightness also allows a projector to produce a larger image that still looks decent.

As is usual with small projectors like this, there’s no lens shift or zoom. The only way to change the image size is to move the projector. However, the autofocus works fairly quickly, which is good.

Android TV, HDMI and Wi-Fi, but no battery

The Mi Smart Projector 2 is arranged next to an Irn-Bru soda can to the scales with its thin remote control.

Projector, remote control and a drink.

Geoff Morrison/CNET

  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • USB port: 1
  • Audio output: headphone output
  • Internet: 802.11a/b/g/n 2.4GHz/5GHz
  • Remote Control: No backlight

It’s always great to see a small, full-size projector HDMI Entry. But you probably won’t need it. Like several projectors we’ve seen lately, the Smart PJ 2 has an Android TV built in, so you get the full version of everything streaming services You want to. netflix, DisneyPlus, Amazon Prime, etc. are pre-installed. Others below HBO Maxcan be installed via the supplied Google Play Store.

The sound is pretty good thanks to two 5 watt drivers. A little too much treble for my taste, but more bass than you would expect for such a small box. Like anything of this size, it falls apart if you crank it up too loud. However, this limit is quite loud, and in a small room you would have to raise your voice to talk about it.

The small, thin remote control has its own Netflix button. However, unlike some of the Smart PJ 2’s competitors, there is no dedicated phone app.

My biggest gripe is that this little portable projector lacks a battery. Most in this size and price range do. Those who don’t, such as B. the Samsung Freestyle, usually have the option of running over a USB battery pack, but the Xiaomi can’t do that either. You need to plug it into a regular wall outlet using the included power adapter. It’s the same size as a large phone/tablet charger but connects to the projector via a small round DC connector that’s rarely seen on small devices like this anymore. Meanwhile, the USB port on the Xiaomi can charge your device when the projector is connected, but cannot power the projector itself.

Image quality comparisons

The Smart Projector 2 sits on a blue screen.

The Smart Projector 2 image is generated using LEDs and a DLP chip.

Geoff Morrison/CNET

The Mars II Pro comes as close as possible to a direct comparison. It’s almost exactly the same size and rated for the same 500 lumens. The anchor is lower resolution and $50 cheaper. I hooked them up to a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amp and viewed them side-by-side on a 102-inch, 1.0-gain screen.

Continue reading: How we test projectors

As you’d probably expect, these projectors are a lot closer together than they are not. Her contrast ratios are almost identical. However, the anchor lacks any image adjustments, so there are some aspects of the image that are better on the Xiaomi. Shadow details, for example, appear significantly grayer and less realistic on the Anker than on the Xiaomi.

Colors are not very accurate on either projector. Both are about equally wrong and quite cool or bluish color temperature. I’d have a bigger problem with that on a home projector, but for a small portable projector it’s probably fine. Nothing looks overly unnatural, but everything looks a bit off.

The greater fidelity of the 1080p Xiaomi was definitely noticeable. The anchor looked a little soft when viewed side by side. That’s by no means a deal-breaker, however, as resolution is only one aspect of image quality. If you didn’t have the two side by side, it’s doubtful you’d notice.

The most noticeable difference is actually the brightness. The anchor looked a lot brighter than the Xiaomi. I have mesured about 162 lumens from the Xiaomi and 337 from the anchor. So yes, about twice as bright. It’s common for manufacturers to fake, shall we say, their brightness claims. Here’s what that means in practice. And before you give Xiaomi Flak for being that much lower, Samsung has priced the $900 freestyle at 550 lumens and clears 197. Morale? Don’t trust manufacturers’ lumen ratings.

The Xiaomi has a mode that you would think would increase the brightness, but instead it just makes the picture extremely green. Maybe you could look at a projector mode that makes everyone look like Kermit, but it’s not easy for me…

1652534964 662 Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2 High Style Low Brightness High - Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2: High Style, Low Brightness, High Price


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Brightness aside, there’s no clear winner between the two in terms of image quality: the Xiaomi has more detail, the Anker has greater light output. If the anchor had image adjustments, that would likely nudge the needle in its favor. But you probably won’t buy any of them just for the picture quality.

However, there is one significant, potentially crucial, difference: the Anker has a battery. It can project an image anywhere, while the Xiaomi requires an outlet. That’s big.

Pretty close

I love Xiaomi’s design. It’s just a fantastically stylish projector. If you slammed an Apple badge on it, no one would question it.

The problem with the Mi Smart Projector 2 is the Mars II Pro. It’s a little cheaper, brighter, and has a battery. It doesn’t look nearly as stylish, but that’s a slight downside when it comes to something smaller than a lunch box. It’s not like it’s going to dominate your living room. If the next version of the Xiaomi has a battery or is two to three times brighter, it would be a real contender.

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