The Dangbei Neo 1080p transportable projector ($599.99) manages to be a powerful little beast in some methods, whereas lacking its mark in others. Along with built-in Ethernet and Netflix assist, the Neo gives more-than-acceptable picture high quality for informal viewing, with sufficient brightness to offer you a watchable image at a fairly large measurement. It is also comparatively reasonably priced in contrast with our two high picks, the Xgimi Halo+ and the Anker Nebula Capsule 3 Laser. The Neo is probably a good selection as a room-to-room mini projector if you happen to do not thoughts some small oversights, together with an absence of controls on the projector itself, which prevents you from utilizing it with out the distant management.
A Mini Projector With a Distinction
Most projectors with good TV options use both Android TV, with its stable apps, or Android OS, which suffers from typically flakey app efficiency. The Dangbei Neo, out there in blue or white (although the blue model I examined is extra of a bluish grey), is an exception. It makes use of a Linux-based OS, and its personal set of apps, together with some you will not discover in fashions with Android TV.
Those I attempted labored reliably, together with one which Dangbei says is a licensed Netflix app, which is especially notable. Though a good variety of projectors as we speak—together with the Android TV-based Epson CO-FH02 and Kodak Flik HD10 —have Netflix apps we will suggest utilizing, a bigger variety of fashions both lack a Netflix app solely or present a workaround that does not work nicely and is usually exhausting to put in. The Neo’s Netflix app comes already put in and labored in our assessments with out issues, which is a giant plus if Netflix is your go-to streaming service for watching films.
Other than its Linux OS, the Neo gives a reasonably typical set of options for a 1080p mini projector. It is constructed round a single DLP chip paired with an RGB LED gentle supply that provides the projector a most rated brightness of 540 ISO lumens (equal to ANSI lumens). The LED lifetime is rated at 30,000 hours.
The specs do not point out the utmost enter decision, and a Dangbei consultant advised me the projector formally helps as much as 1080p at 60Hz. Nevertheless, once I set my Blu-ray participant to attach at 4K, the Neo related with no downside and reported the connection as 3,840 by 2,160 pixels. Then again, not like most 1080p projectors that assist 4K, when the participant was set to Auto for decision, it related at 1080p as an alternative.
Both setting provides you with a 1080p picture on display screen. Nevertheless, when related at 1080p and taking part in a 4K disc, the participant (reasonably than the projector) has to down-convert the picture, which implies the picture high quality could differ relying on the participant. Observe, too, that in my assessments taking part in a 4K HDR film on disc, the Neo related utilizing SDR with each 1080p and 4K connections, despite the fact that Dangbei says it helps HDR10 and HLG HDR. (Extra on this later.)
Do not Lose the Distant!
The Neo appears to be like like a small lunch field with no deal with, measuring 3.9 by 7.9 by 6.2 inches (HWD) and weighing 3.1 kilos, not together with its exterior AC adapter. One potential problem is that, apart from an influence button, no controls exist on the projector itself. Lose the distant, and you will have no method to regulate menu settings, select a supply, or navigate via the good TV choices. Dangbei says it can exchange defective remotes without spending a dime. You can too purchase one on Amazon for $29.99.
Bodily setup is usually customary, besides that not like most mini projectors, the Neo gives an Ethernet port as a substitute for Wi-Fi for connecting to your community. When you have a close-by LAN port to connect with, the wired connection will probably be simpler to arrange than Wi-Fi: Simply plug in a cable. Past that, you solely must optionally join a video supply to the one HDMI port, then level the Neo at no matter you are utilizing for a display screen, flip it on, and focus. You will additionally discover choices within the OS for mirroring Android and Home windows units over Wi-Fi Direct, in addition to for streaming by way of DLNA from Android, Home windows, and iOS units.
Focus was only a contact tender in my assessments, however the autofocus labored nicely sufficient that I wasn’t capable of enhance it manually. The menus additionally provide different automated setup options which are turned off by default, however that you could be need to activate. In my assessments, the auto vertical and horizontal keystone correction and the clever display screen match each labored as promised, to sq. off the picture and shrink it to maintain it from going previous the highest, backside, or sides of my display screen. You will additionally discover an Clever Impediment Avoidance possibility, which is designed to keep away from projecting a part of the picture on a light-weight swap or framed image when utilizing a wall as a display screen. Nevertheless, I did not have an appropriate expanse of wall to check it on.
As a common rule, it is best to maneuver the projector as wanted to regulate picture measurement and place reasonably than use these digital changes, which decrease brightness and might introduce artifacts in some pictures. Nevertheless, they work nicely sufficient that they will velocity up setup whenever you transfer to a brand new spot. If the picture is shiny sufficient on the decrease brightness for the picture measurement and ambient gentle stage, it’s possible you’ll nicely determine the short setup is value the fee in brightness.
One benefit for the Neo in contrast with Android TV-based projectors is that the Linux OS would not want in depth setup. You solely have so as to add consumer names and passwords to the already-installed Netflix, Prime, and different apps that require them.
The audio system, which gives twin 6-watt audio system plus Dolby Audio, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Digital Plus, delivers excessive sufficient quantity to fill a big household room at adequate high quality so you possibly can simply do with out an exterior sound system. If you wish to use one, nonetheless, you possibly can join it to the S/PDIF digital audio output, or use Bluetooth. You can too use the projector as a Bluetooth speaker for different audio sources.
Testing the Neo: Good Shade Accuracy and Shadow Element
The Neo gives 4 predefined image modes which you can’t regulate, plus one Customized mode that permits you to regulate a couple of half-dozen fundamentals. Most individuals will decide any of the modes as usable for video and films, however after some preliminary assessments, I picked Customized mode. Straight out of the field, it tied one of the best of the opposite modes for colour accuracy, and it let me regulate the over-sharpening that each one the modes confirmed, in addition to regulate brightness to the right setting.
In my 1080p assessments, the Neo delivered an eminently watchable image. Shade accuracy was adequate that I did not see any colours that had been clearly off what I do know they need to be, and shadow element held nicely sufficient in our darkest check scenes that it was simple to make out what was taking place, although the black stage was excessive sufficient to rob the scenes of among the dramatic visible impression they need to ideally present. Brighter scenes supplied higher distinction.
As a result of the participant couldn’t set up an HDR reference to the Neo, I could not run our traditional HDR assessments. It additionally did not join utilizing HDR with any of the web techniques I examined it with. Nevertheless, Dangbei despatched me an image displaying a Neo menu on display screen confirming the 1080p HDR connection whereas related to a Apple TV 4K (third Technology), so this can be a compatibility problem with particular sources. The corporate says that it has replicated the issue utilizing a Blu-ray participant, and is trying into it additional. Observe additionally that the Neo lacks 3D assist.
I noticed rainbow artifacts (crimson/inexperienced/blue flashes) in scenes the place they’re most probably to indicate, however they had been much less frequent than with some mini projectors. As all the time, if you happen to’re bothered by these flashes, or do not know if you’re, it is best to purchase from a seller that permits simple returns with no restocking payment, so you possibly can check it out for your self.
Dangbei claims a 30-millisecond (ms) lag time for the Neo, however I measured it with a Bodnar meter at 82ms for 1080p/60Hz enter. Each numbers are within the vary that informal customers ought to discover acceptable, however the lag as examined is sufficient to make a distinction in how lengthy you will survive in a sport that will depend on quick response time.
Utilizing my most popular settings for picture high quality, the brightness for the Neo was near what I count on for its score. In a darkish room, it was simply shiny sufficient to fill my 90-inch, 1.0-gain display screen, which is on the high-image-brightness finish of the 90-to-123-inch vary that the Society of Movement Image and Tv Engineers (SMPTE) recommends for 540 lumens. In a household room at night time, with lights on, it was shiny sufficient to gentle up my 80-inch display screen, and was watchable however washed out in daytime.
Verdict: Simply Proper, if You Want Ethernet
For those who’re out there for a mini projector, and if you happen to desire a wired connection to your community, the Neo’s Ethernet connector alone could make it a compelling selection. Most mini projectors—and even most room-to-room projectors—rely solely on Wi-Fi. For those who do not want Ethernet, nonetheless, ensure to try the competitors that connects by way of Wi-Fi solely.
Our two Editors’ Alternative picks for mini projectors are the Xgimi Halo+, our favourite for top brightness, and the Anker Nebula Capsule 3 Laser, our favourite for picture high quality. Every prices greater than the Neo, but in addition features a built-in battery, making it extra transportable. And neither had issues with HDR enter in our assessments. Additionally think about the Xgimi MoGo 2 Professional, which prices about the identical because the Neo. It would not embrace a battery, however it’s the solely certainly one of these three Android TV-based fashions with a downloadable Netflix app that was each simple to arrange and use, and it labored nicely in our assessments.