Test: Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150″

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This week we reviewed the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”, a 1080p ultra short throw model with laser technology, Android TV, Chromecast built-in, Google Assistant and a stereo soundbar.

Test Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150"

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: an attractive price

In addition to its excellent specs, the Xiaomi UST projector’s price tag is surprisingly low. For devices with equivalent technical performances, its rivals are asking for at least an extra 1000€.

Xiaomi sets the bar high with the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”, but there’s a risk of the device following in the footsteps of the Xiaomi Mi Box (Android TV player) and running perfectible software. Will we need to wait a few more months for the software to be fully finalized and to enjoy impeccable performance? Let’s find out.

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: ultra short throw

The Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector’s first attribute is its integrated ultra wide-angle lens which enables you to project a 3m80 wide image only 50 cm away from the screen surface (a white wall or a dedicated screen). A huge achievement combined with faultless image geometry, which isn’t a simple task. Photography enthusiasts know all too well that an ultra wide-angle creates distorted images, which also often lack sharpness and generate vignetting, that need to be corrected with a computer and the appropriate software. Xiaomi has therefore been successful in this first challenge, and thanks to digital processing, offers an evenly sharp picture.

Test Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150"
The projection lens of the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: laser

Instead of the traditional bulb (halogen or LED), Xiaomi has installed an ALPD 3.0 laser light source (Advanced Laser Phosphor Display). Comparatively, the laser provides considerably superior brightness and contrast. Overall, the picture is more nuanced and dynamic, with the possibility of displaying very large images. The laser mechanism’s lifespan is stated to be 25 000 hours, which represents 12 500 movies that are at least two hours long (1 every day for 34 years).

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: DLP

The Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150” is equipped with a Texas Instrument DLP chip made up of 2,1 million mirrors (which are each 5,4 µm) and a color wheel with 5 segments, which ensures a native resolution of 1080p (16:9 ratio).

Some “rainbow effect” is visible in the brighter images, though the viewing comfort isn’t (too) disrupted.

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: Android TV 8

The projector runs Android TV 8, the latest version of Google’s TV OS. Apart from the picture settings, the interface is identical to the those found on Sony or Philips televisions for example. Incidentally, the Xiaomi Mi Laser projector 150” doesn’t offer many picture adjustments, to the point where it is quite difficult to adjust the picture to your preferences.

Furthermore, these settings aren’t available during playback: they’re only accessible via the Android TV home screen.

Three HDMI inputs (with one ARC input to connect an external receiver), one optical audio output, an analog audio input and output, 2 USB-A ports for hard drives or flash drives: the range of connectors is exhaustive and modern.

Seeing as the projector uses the first version of Android TV 8, the hope is that Xiaomi will carry out updates in the next few weeks (as was the case with the Xiaomi Mi Box TV).

Fortunately however, there are settings for image geometry and sharpness.

Generally speaking, the Android TV interface is very responsive: the Mi Laser responds unhesitatingly.

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: Netflix in HD?

Currently… no. At the minute, this version of Android TV 8 isn’t compatible with Netflix. If nothing else, the application can’t be downloaded from the Google Play Store as Netflix doesn’t recognize the device as being compatible. We’ll have to wait for an OS update for the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150” in order to access Netflix.

During our test, it was impossible to cast Netflix to the projector’s Chromecast unit. It was also impossible to watch Netflix on the Nvidia Shield player, probably due to defective HDMI connection between the two devices (a maximum resolution of 720p detected by the Shield). The software which manages DRMs clearly has not yet be integrated to the version of the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150” that we tested.

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: which projected image size?

The smaller the image, the brighter it is. To find the right projection size, just look at the projector’s name. The name 150” wasn’t randomly chosen and we seem to get the most balanced image with a massive 3m80 base image. When we project  a smaller image (less than 2 m wide for example), whites seem more intense but blacks don’t reciprocate when it comes to depth, and the viewing experience is somewhat diminished.

The Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150” has two feet that can each be adjusted using a wheel.

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: operation

The projector comes with a Bluetooth remote control that needs to be paired when the device is activated for the first time. Moreover, the device displays instructions directly onto the screen. Startup is quick (about 15 seconds). The device’s ventilation is very noticeable and in a 20 m² room, you can’t listen to the sound at a low volume.

The laser mechanism is powerful and, naturally, heats up. Consequently, it needs to be cooled and the ventilation system isn’t very discreet.

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: integrated soundbar

The Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150” is equipped with 4 drivers directed towards the viewing/listening zone: two low-mid drivers and two tweeters. The sound is rather clear and powerful, but it cannot compete with soundbars from renowned brands (Sony, Klipsch, JBL, Polk Audio, etc.). In any case, a picture of this size calls for large-scale audio, with surround sound and a subwoofer.

However, we have to applaud Xiaomi’s design as it results in a completely autonomous projector with an Android TV OS and a dual-band WiFi connection.

The 4 drivers in the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”’s audio system are hidden behind a grille.

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: test conditions

We tested the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150” in a living room with a freshly painted white wall and we used a Netgear Orbi RBK50 WiFi system for the projector’s WiFi connection. We didn’t add an external audio system so we cannot vouch for the effectiveness of Dolby and DTS bitstreaming to AV receivers or soundbars. We watched 1080p content streamed by an Emby local server, directly via the projector’s Emby app, then via the same Android app but on a Nvidia Shield TV console. We did the same with VLC for Android TV, via the Mi Laser and via the Shield. We chose the “cinema” image mode.

The Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150” displays a very large image even when positioned close to the projection screen.

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: image quality

The picture is punchy but the color temperature (not adjustable with the current firmware) is too cold. No matter which media player app we chose – even using the HDMI inputs – we noticed some lagging, which made it impossible to be fully immersed in the content we were watching.

The Bluetooth remote control for the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector is equipped with a microphone for voice commands (compatible with Google Assistant).

Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150”: conclusion

There’s no doubt that this projector will be a big success once its software has been updated. The model designed for the Chinese market offers a multitude of settings and doesn’t suffer from the same problems as its more recent European counterpart. The Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 150” has the elements necessary to provide a mind-blowing cinema experience at home. We just have to be patient.

What we liked:

  • Android TV 8
  • Chromecast built-in
  • The large, undistorted picture at only a few decimeters distance.
  • The remote control with integrated microphone
  • The vivid image restitution
  • The startup time and overall responsiveness

What we would have liked:

  • No lagging
  • Adjustable colorimetry
  • A more discreet ventilation system
  • Netflix in HD
  • In short, a fully finalized OS

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