Compact. Portable. Full 1080p HD resolution. Good range of connection ports. Padded protective case. Built-in rechargeable battery. Good data image quality.
Poor video quality, with oversaturated colors and frequent rainbow artifacts.
- Bottom Line
The AAXA M6 Micro Projector is a good portable projector for businesspeople who give detailed presentations while traveling.
Although similar in most ways to the AAXA M5 Micro Projector, the AAXA M6 Micro Projector ($599) comes in at a slightly higher brightness, as well as a higher 1080p full HD resolution. This compact and portable mini-projector is a good choice for businesspeople who need to give presentations while traveling. It is easy to set up and use, has multiple connection choices, and satisfactory data-image quality. Its Achilles' heel is its video, which is only watchable for short clips due to oversaturated colors and frequent rainbow artifacts.
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Full HD Portable Business Projector
A DLP projector with an LED-based light source, the M6 is rare for a highly portable data projector in packing full 1080p (1,920-by-1,080) native resolution. Its rated brightness is 1,200 lumens when plugged into its power adapter, and 500 lumens when running from a battery. This is a step up from the AAXA M5, which is rated at 900 lumens. The LED light source's claimed lifetime is 30,000 hours, so the lamp should last as long as the projector.
Black with a white trim, the M6 is a handsome projector. Viewed from above, it resembles a square with rounded corners, similar to palmtop projectors we've tested but slightly larger. At 2.1 by 7 by 7 inches (HWD), it's a bit larger than the M5, but still very compact. It can barely fit into my fully outstretched palm with fingers splayed. It is lightweight at 2.5 pounds and quite portable. It comes with a rigid, foam-lined case and a sturdy mini-tripod that screws into the bottom. Its built-in, rechargeable battery provides up to 90 minutes of operation on a charge, according to AAXA.
Connectivity and Navigation
The M6 has a good range of connection choices. In back, it has ports for HDMI, VGA, audio-in for use with the included composite audio/video connector cable, and an audio-out jack. On the right side are a port for a USB thumb drive and a slot for a microSD card, labeled with the outdated "TF-card" nomenclature. (Sandisk originally called its microSD cards TransFlash, or TF.) That side also houses the power switch and a tiny metal focus wheel that is a bit tricky to manipulate.
On turning the M6 on, you first see a Home screen that offers six choices: Videos, Music, Photos, Text, Settings, and Input Source. You can navigate between them either by using arrow controls on the top of the projector or on the credit-card-size remote. If you press the OK button when one of the first four choices is highlighted, it will let you choose between Micro [SD] Card and USB [thumb drive], and run content stored on either of these devices. For Input Source, you can choose between VGA, HDMI, and RCA [composite audio/video], and project content plugged into the respective port.
Made For Small Groups
I tested the M6 with the projector positioned about 5 feet away from the screen, where it threw an image of about 60 inches (measured diagonally). To avoid image degradation with ambient light, a more comfortable image size is about 45 inches.
Based on my testing using the DisplayMate suite, the M5's data images are of a quality suitable for typical presentations to small groups. Text quality was good; black text on white, and white text on black, were both readable at sizes as small as 7 points. Colors were well saturated and realistic-looking. When I viewed our image suite over a VGA connection, the M6 had relatively poor dynamic range, in that even moderately pale grays tended to show as white. Fortunately, the projector was much better at rendering pale grays over HDMI. Similarly, I noticed some minor pixel jitter when looking at images that tend to bring it out over the VGA connection, but they weren't visible over HDMI.
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I saw occasional rainbow artifacts—little red-green-blue flashes—in some bright areas against dark backgrounds in the M6's data images. This so-called rainbow effect, which is frequently seen in single-chip DLP projectors, is less of a problem with data than with video. Even people sensitive to the effect shouldn't be bothered by it in data presentations with this projector.
OK Audio and Video
Rainbow artifacts were also visible in the M6's video, and they'd likely be distracting to people sensitive to it. The bigger problem with video is that colors, and especially reds, were significantly oversaturated, in some scenes to the point of garishness. Switching between color modes didn't significantly improve this. I wouldn't recommend using this projector's video for anything but short clips. Audio from the dual 2-watt speakers is of decent quality, and although not loud, it should be fine for use in a small room. Should you want louder or better-quality sound, you could connect a pair of powered external speakers to the projector's audio-in port.
In addition to our standard testing, I also did some ad-hoc testing of some of the M6's media-player functions, viewing some photos and MOV video clips and listening to MP3s that I had put on a USB thumb drive. There was slight audio distortion at higher volumes when playing MP3s, which I hadn't heard when doing our video tests; turning the sound down a bit resolved the worst of that issue. I did notice the color saturation issue when I played videos from the thumb drive.
Hi-Res Projector for On-the-Go Presentations
There is a lot to like about the AAXA M6 Micro Projector: its 1080p resolution, good brightness for an LED projector, good handling of data images, portability, and range of connection options make it a good choice as a portable projector for use in data presentations. It's a step up from the smaller, less bright, and lower-resolution AAXA M5.
The M6 is more easily portable than the Editors' Choice Optoma EH341, which is larger than the M6 and weighs more than twice as much. The M6 falls well short of the EH341's 3,500-lumen brightness. The M6's data image quality isn't quite as stellar as the EH341's, which shows the exceptional ability to render clearly readable white text on a black background down to 4.5 points. It also is free of the pixel jitter seen in the M6's VGA images. The M6 can't match its video quality, either, though you wouldn't want to use either projector for viewing long clips or movies. Although the EH341 holds onto its Editors' Choice as a 1080p data projector, the M6 is more easily portable and has a built-in battery for use away from an outlet.
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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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