Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2: high style, low brightness, high price

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It is the rare projector that crosses my path with an aesthetically beautiful design. There is a lot of cool projectorsSome cute projectors and even some that could generously be called “organized.” The Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2 is as stylish as any projector I’ve ever seen, and would look right at home surrounded by Apple devices in a it was saarinen table flanked by Corbusier chairs.

I like it

  • gorgeous design
  • Android TV built-in
  • It looks like an Apple product.

I do not like it

  • not bright enough
  • without batteries
  • Price like an Apple product

Unfortunately, it’s relatively expensive, and the image quality and features don’t match the excellent design. It’s not very bright, the colors are a bit off and its contrast it is adequate at best. And unlike most truly portable projectorsIt lacks a built-in battery.

for less money the Mars II Pro Anchor offers more brightness, the same contrast and a battery that allows you to watch movies anywhere. Overall, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2 is a bit strange, albeit only slightly (stylish).

specs and such

  • Native resolution: 1920×1080 pixels
  • HDR Compatible: Yes
  • 4K Compatible: No
  • 3D Compatible: Yes
  • Lumen Specifications: 500
  • Expand: None
  • Lens Shift: None
  • Lamp life (normal mode): not listed

The Mi Smart Projector 2 has what I consider to be standard specs for a projector of this price and size. Full HD resolution (also known as 1080p) that’s good, as many budget projectors are 720p or less. while it is HDR Compatiblenote that it doesn’t have the contrast ratio to do something with high dynamic content (but to be fair, many projectors are bad at HDR).

the 500 lumen rating is common for small portable projectors. However, I measured 162, lower than most of its competitors. It is dimmer than sun anchorAnker Mars II Pro and even the samsung freestyle, all of which are rated for nearly the same lumens. Remember that higher brightness, in addition to improving image quality, also allows a projector to create a larger image that still looks decent.

As is often the case with small projectors like this, there is no lens shift and no zoom. The only way to change the size of the image is by moving the projector. The autofocus works pretty fast though, which is good.

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

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: not backlit

It’s always great to see a small projector with a full size HDMI input. However, you probably won’t need to use it. Like several projectors we’ve seen lately, the Smart PJ 2 has Android TV built in, so you get the full version of whatever. streaming services you want Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon-Prime and so on are pre-installed. others including Max HBOyou can install via the included Google Play Store.

The sound is quite good, thanks to two 5-watt drivers. A little too much treble for my liking, but more bass than you’d expect for such a small box. Like anything this size, it falls apart if you raise it too high. However, that limit ends up being quite high, and in a small room you would have to raise your voice to talk about it.

The slim little remote has a dedicated Netflix button. However, unlike several of the Smart PJ 2’s competitors, there is no dedicated phone app.

My biggest complaint is that this little portable projector lacks a battery. Most in this size and price range do. The ones that don’t, like the Samsung Freestyle, usually have the ability to run through a usb battery pack, but the Xiaomi can’t do that either. You will need to plug it into a standard power outlet via 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 power jack rarely seen on small devices like this. Meanwhile, the USB connection on the Xiaomi can charge your device if the projector is plugged in, but it cannot supply power to the projector.

Image quality comparisons

The Smart Projector 2 sits on a blue canvas.

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

Geoff Morrison/CNET

The Mars II Pro is as close to a direct comparison as you can get. 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.

Read more: How we test projectors

As you would probably expect, these projectors are much closer together. yours contrast ratios they are almost identical. However, the Anker lacks picture adjustments, so there are some aspects of the picture that are better on the Xiaomi. Shadow details, for example, look much grayer and less realistic on the anchor than with the Xiaomi.

Colors are not very accurate on either projector. Both are equally wrong, and rather cold or bluish in color temperature. On a home projector you’d have a bigger problem with this, but for a small laptop it’s probably fine. Nothing looks too unnatural, but everything looks a little out of place.

Xiaomi’s increased 1080p detail was definitely noticeable. The anchor looked a bit mushy when viewed side by side. However, that’s not a deal breaker, because 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 Anker looked a bit brighter than the Xiaomi. I measured approximately 162 lumens from the Xiaomi and 337 from the anchor. So yeah, about twice as bright. It’s common for manufacturers to, shall we say, dodge their brightness claims. Here’s what that means in practice. And before criticizing Xiaomi for being much lower, Samsung rated the $900 free style at 550 lumens and turns off 197. Morale? Do not trust any manufacturer’s lumen claims.

The Xiaomi has a mode that you would think would increase the brightness, but instead it just makes the image extremely green. Maybe you could see a spotlight mode that makes everyone look like Kermit, but to me it’s not easy to be


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Brightness aside, there’s no clear winner between the two in terms of image quality: the Xiaomi has better detail, the Anker has higher light output. If the Anker had picture settings, that would probably push the needle in its favor. But then you’re probably not buying any of these based solely on image quality.

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

Very close

I love the Xiaomi design. It’s just a fantastically chic projector. If you put 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 bit cheaper, brighter and has a battery. It doesn’t look that fancy, but that’s a bit of a drawback when we’re talking about something smaller than a lunch box. It’s not like it’s going to dominate your living room. If Xiaomi’s next version has a battery, or is two or three times brighter, it would be a real contender.

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