Mi Laser Projector review: Xiaomi’s costliest product is also its best
Xiaomi’s laser projector trounces every other product in this category.
Xiaomi sells over 2,000 items in China, and one of the more interesting products it launched last year was the Mi Laser Projector. The ultra-short throw projector can cast up to a 150-inch image, and it comes with an array of features that differentiates it from the rest of the options in this segment.
Above all else, Xiaomi as a brand is associated with offering incredible value for money from its portfolio of products, and the Mi Laser Projector is no different. Even though it costs vastly more than most Xiaomi products at $1,825, it is well worth the asking price.
Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector
Bottom line: The Mi Laser Projector combines outstanding image quality with an elegant design and great built-in speakers. If you’re in the market for an ultra-short throw laser projector for under $2,000, look no further.
- Excellent picture quality
- Room-filling sound
- Great design
- High degree of customizability
- Interface limited to Mandarin
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Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector What you’ll love
Xiaomi has done a masterful job when it comes to the design of its ecosystem products. Everything from its air purifier to robot vacuum cleaner, smart humidifier, and even the rice cooker share a similar design aesthetic, and that’s the case with the Mi Laser Projector as well. It is made out of plastic and finished in white, and has a grille up front that houses the speaker.
The Mi Laser Projector has a rectangular design — unlike most other projectors — and it manages to stand out. As this is an ultra-short throw projector, you’ll be able to place it right next to the wall, with the image size going all the way up to 150 inches. There are vents on either side — the one on the left lets air in, and the right side is the exhaust.
There are IR sensors on either side of the laser that cut off the image anytime they detect motion in the vicinity, with the feature designed to prevent you from looking into the laser. You’ll also be able to adjust the height of the projector through the knobs located on either side. Round the back, the Mi Laser Projector has three HDMI ports (including an ARC port), a solitary USB 3.0 port, audio in/out, S/PDIF, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. You also get Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity.
The Mi Laser Projector uses Appotronics’ ALPD 3.0 in conjunction with TI’s DLP projection tech, and the image quality on offer is excellent.
Colors are vibrant, and the projector manages to do a great job with HDR content. While it doesn’t have 4K playback, it downsamples 4K content when played over something like a Chromecast Ultra. The projector gravitates to cooler colors out of the box, but you’ll be able to adjust color balance, brightness, saturation, and other parameters to get a better-calibrated image.
For the price, nothing comes close to the Mi Laser Projector.
I went with the settings outlined on AVForums, and having used the projector for just over five months now, I can say that I haven’t faced any issues with reliability or image quality.
Another area where it excels is in brightness — the Mi Laser Projector is one of the brightest options in this category, and it actually manages to outdo projectors that cost three times as much. Even if you’re installing the projector in a room that gets a lot of ambient light, you should have no problem viewing content.
The picture quality is just one aspect, and the Mi Laser Projector also has a great built-in speaker. It comes with two 30W woofers and two high-frequency tweeters, and the sound that comes out of the projector is amazing. I have the projector set up in my bedroom, and the built-in soundbar is more than adequate to fill the room.
Xiaomi is also offering a brand-new remote with the projector, and it has a click wheel design similar to that of what you’d find on an Apple TV remote. There’s also a digital assistant feature that lets you play content using your voice, but it doesn’t work with English.
An interesting design trait with the Mi Laser Projector is that it is modular, with Xiaomi stating that you’ll be able to switch out the motherboard or even the laser after a few years, making for easy upgrades. The laser itself is touted to last 25,000 hours, so you don’t need to worry about switching it out anytime soon.
Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector What needs work
Right now, the main issue with the Mi Projector is that the interface is exclusively in Mandarin. Xiaomi rolled out an update a month ago that lets you select English as the language for the menu options, but aside from that, the content recommendations and the banners are all laid out in Mandarin.
Another downside is that as this product is limited to China, there’s no Play Store installed out of the box. You can try sideloading APKs, but know that services like Netflix won’t work as the streaming service requires DRM to work. Prime Video also did not work with a sideloaded APK, but I was able to get Spotify working.
The best alternative is to hook up an Android TV box to the device and use that as the interface for your streaming content. I went that route with the Mi Box, and while Xiaomi’s Android TV box is very affordable at just $69, it isn’t all that great. Netflix constantly glitches out, and I’ve had numerous issues with Wi-Fi connectivity. So you’re better off buying something along the likes of the NVIDIA Shield TV or a Roku Ultra if you’re picking this up in the U.S.
Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector review
While the $1,800 price tag may seem like an awful lot for a Xiaomi product, there’s plenty to like in the Mi Laser Projector. It goes toe-to-toe with projectors that cost thrice as much, and the image quality as well as brightness are fantastic.
Xiaomi has stated its intent to launch the Mi Laser Projector in the U.S. at some point this year, so you’re better off waiting for the official release. A formal launch would mean Play Services out of the box, negating the need for a standalone Android TV box. Xiaomi is increasingly veering toward services as it looks to grow revenue, so it’s possible that the Chinese manufacturer will roll out content initiatives aimed at an American audience at the time of launch.
At this point, there’s no indication on when the Mi Laser Projector will make its debut in the U.S. or what it will retail for, but it will just be the second Android-based product the manufacturer launches in the country. The first product was the Mi Box, and thankfully the Mi Laser Projector is a much better showcase of Xiaomi’s prowess in the hardware arena.
If you’re looking to buy the Mi Laser Projector right now, you’ll have to shell out over $1,900 and pick it up from the likes of GearBest. A formal launch in the U.S. would make the product available in the vicinity of around $1,600, or $100 more than what it retails for in China.
out of 5
The Mi Laser Projector is Xiaomi’s most ambitious hardware product yet, and like its phones, it offers incredible value. The picture quality is outstanding, the built-in speakers sound great, and the portable nature of the projector means you don’t have to worry about drilling holes or mounting it on the ceiling. For under $2,000, this is one of the best projectors you can buy today.
See at GearBest