Small and portable. Wi-Fi enabled. Built-in rechargeable battery. 4GB of internal memory. Can display content from a memory card or USB thumb drive.
Poorly responsive touchpad. Underwhelming Android experience. Rainbow effect in video.
- Bottom Line
The small and versatile XSories X-Project WiFi is a good choice as a wireless pico projector despite a few operational glitches.
By Tony Hoffman
The XSories X-Project WiFi ($389.99) is a palmtop-size projector that offers an impressive variety of connection options. Despite a few operational issues, it's a strong choice as a wireless projector. Its video quality wasn't as good as that of the Editors' Choice Celluon PicoPro, but it's still fine for casual use.
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Design and Features
The black-and-white X-Project WiFi is small, measuring 1.3 by 4.1 by 4.1 inches (HWD) and weighing 10 ounces, or an even pound if you include the power adapter. This DLP-based LED projector has a rated brightness of 100 lumens and a native resolution of 854 by 480 pixels. That's fairly typical for today's pico projectors. It matches the resolution of the Lenovo Pocket Projector and the RIF6 Cube, and exceeds that of the Philips Pocket Projector PPX4350 Wireless (640 by 360). As a laser projector, the Celluon PicoPro doesn't have a true native resolution but scales images to 1,920 by 720 pixels.
On top of the projector is a touchpad, with Home, Menu, and Back buttons (identified by their standard icons) at the top. The focus wheel lies at the top-front edge, just above the lens. On the left side are the Power switch and a jack that fits an AV (composite video) cable, while on the right side is a USB Type A port to fit a USB thumb drive (or USB mouse; more on that later). In back are a USB Type Mini-B port for file transfer, an SD/MMC media card slot, a headphone jack, and a port that supports an HDMI or VGA connection. The projector has a built-in lithium-polymer battery that according to XSories lasts an hour per charge, or 2 hours when the projector is in Eco mode. Also included is a tiny, rectangular remote control.
That USB connection is used to transfer photo, video, and music files from a computer to the projector's 4GB of internal memory, and vice-versa. As for formats, it supports JPEG and BMP photo files, MP3, WAV, WMA, OGG, and ACC music files. Video formats include AVI, MOV, MP4, MKV, DIVX, MPG, MPEG, VOB, TS, RM, and RMVB.
When you first attach the projector to a computer via the USB cable, the projector transfers a program (PicoPix WLink) that can mirror and project your computer's desktop.
The projector's home screen has eight icons, labeled Video, Source, Pictures, Folder View, Music, Android, Settings, and Digital TV, arranged carousel-style. (Digital TV is limited to the DVB-T standard, which is in use in the Eastern Hemisphere but not supported in North America.) You navigate the menus with the touchpad on top of the projector and the remote.
Connectivity and Navigation
Trying to connect the projector to a wireless network was trickier than it should have been. The instructions indicated that to input the network's password you need to launch the projector's "software keyboard," either from the touchpad or by connecting a mouse to the projector. Despite numerous attempts, I couldn't launch the keyboard by tapping the touchpad, or even by using it in combination with the remote. Fortunately, I had a USB-enabled mouse, and when I connected it to the X-Project WiFi's USB port and clicked on the password field, the virtual keyboard immediately launched. In general, the touchpad was poorly responsive, but I was able to navigate by using a combination of it, the remote, and at times the mouse.
The X-Project WiFi has built-in Android (version 2.3.1), which comes with a handful of preinstalled apps plus a browser, and you can download additional apps from Google Play. I looked at a number of webpages with the browser—some were formatted peculiarly—and tried running YouTube videos both from the browser set to the YouTube website and by using the (pre-downloaded) YouTube app. In both cases the videos I selected failed to load, even though I had no trouble running videos over the same Wi-Fi network, at the same time and location, from the YouTube app on my iPhone. Although using this projector's built-in Android proved somewhat disappointing, it was no worse than most of the projectors I've tested that incorporate that operating system—only the ZTE Spro 2 Smart Projector (AT&T) has provided a pleasing Android experience.
The single 1-watt speaker is typical of pico projectors: fairly soft, and of mediocre sound quality. Should you want a better audio experience, use the headphone jack. One caveat is that there is no volume control.
The projector comes with a user manual that, while comprehensive, is printed in extremely small type. To read it, you'd best have a good magnifying glass at hand.
I tested the X-Project WiFi in both theater-dark conditions and with moderate ambient light. In darkness, a comfortable image size was about 36 inches, while with ambient light it was about 24 inches. In testing, I looked at a series of photos (playing in a slideshow), text, and various video clips.
Quality, for both photos and video, was fine for casual use. Black text on white was sharp at 12 points, but blue type used in the projector's menu wasn't sharp. I saw occasional rainbow artifacts, little red-green-blue flashes, in images and scenes that tend to bring them out. This rainbow effect, which is fairly common with DLP projectors, shouldn't be a problem with still images, but it could prove distracting to people sensitive to the effect when watching videos. It's fine for relatively short video clips.
The XSories X-Project WiFi a palmtop-size pico projector, packs a lot of connectivity into its small frame, supporting the display of content over both wired and wireless connections, from USB thumb drives and memory cards, from apps running on its built-in Android operating system, and from 4GB of internal storage. That said, its touchpad was barely responsive, and its Android experience was underwhelming in my experience. The similarly priced Celluon PicoPro, a tiny projector that's best for displaying content from cell phones or tablets over a wired or wireless connection and requires no focusing, remains our Editors' Choice pico projector.
As Analyst for printers, scanners, and projectors, Tony Hoffman tests and reviews these products and provides news coverage for these categories. Tony has worked at PC Magazine since 2004, first as a Staff Editor, then as Reviews Editor, and more recently as Managing Editor for the printers, scanners, and projectors team. In addition to editing, Tony has written articles on digital photography and reviews of digital cameras, PCs, and iPhone apps Prior to joining the PCMag team, Tony worked for 17 years in magazine and journal… More »
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