Wemax Nova 4K UST projector review: Performance on a budget? [Video]

Ultra-short throw projectors have been gaining traction lately as an alternative to large smart TVs, but they come at a price. The Wemax Nova features Android TV with thousands of apps, can project an image up to 150 inches, and is listed at $2,699 but often features deals to make that more affordable. At the time of writing, the Nova can be purchased for $270 off on Amazon. But before you buy, be sure to check out the video below to see all of the details.

Quick overview

While large TVs are typically becoming more affordable, so are alternative displays like ultra-short throw projectors that can create a much larger theater-like picture. And instead of having to run wires to the back of a room, UST projectors sit up near the front to make connecting consoles and streaming devices easy. At $2,699, the Nova is still quite expensive, but it can project an image up to 150 inches – making a comparable TV extremely expensive or nonexistent. But, when compared to other UST projectors from the name brands like the $3,500 Samsung Premiere and $3,220 Optoma P2, the Wemax starts to sound like the budget option. There are other UST projectors in this price bracket, though, like the XGIMI Aura we recently reviewed

Design weight

Measuring 18 x 12 x 3.5 inches, the Wemax Nova is considerably smaller and takes up less space on a TV stand than the XGIMI Aura. So if you’re concerned about the projector drawing too much attention, then the Nova might be the way to go. At 16.5 lbs, it also weighs less than the Aura, which makes it easy to move, but also easier to bump. I have two kids and whenever they would touch the TV stand it seemed like I needed to tweak the projector to get the image lined up on my screen again. Also whenever I was plugging something into an HDMI port in the back, I would often move the projector and have to line it up again. This wasn’t a huge issue but a minor inconvenience. 

Along the back are all of the ins and outs. The Aura has three HDMI ports, USB 2.0, composite AV video input, 3.5mm headphone out, optical audio, and an Ethernet port. 

ARC is supported through an HDMI port in the back, and it never went to the right channel when turning on my Denon receiver. It would turn on and switch the cable input rather than TV audio. I’m not sure if that’s just a setting I need to change on the receiver, but I know I’ve never had that issue with other TVs or projectors. 

Along the front is a cloth grill that covers the four speakers. On both sides of the projector are little dials that can fine-tune the height of the feet to dial in the angle of the projector. Also along the right side is a single USB 2.0 port for more connectivity. 

Wemax Nova: Video

Setting up the Wemax Nova

Setup is pretty simple with the Wemax Nova. The two major parts are dialing in your image and getting connected to the network. UST projectors are meant to sit on a TV stand or cabinet directly under your screen or projection surface about 12 inches away from the wall, depending on how large the projected image will be. 

Wemax makes getting the right angle pretty easy thanks to the fine adjustment of the feet as well as an 8-point image correction tool for positioning the image perfectly on your wall or screen.

Once the image is how you want it, just connect to your network, sign in to the apps you want, and download any additional apps.

Wemax Nova: picture quality

The spec sheet on the Nova is pretty impressive with 4K resolution at 60Hz and 2100 lumens of brightness. I’m using the Wemax Nova on a dedicated 100-inch screen from Elite Screens, but it isn’t the ALR or ambient light reflecting screen that is often suggested for UST projectors. I’m hoping to pick one of those up later this month. But even a plain white screen helps a lot compared to just a blank wall. Even if the wall is painted white, using a UST projector is a quick way to see all of the imperfections in the finish of the wall. 

I have the projector set up in my basement that does have some light coming in from windows, but it is not nearly as bright as what it would be upstairs in my main living room. When all of the lights are on the image can get washed out. Night races in Forza Horizon 5 were a little hard to see. If you’re planning on mainly using this projector in a bright living room during the day, you will most likely be disappointed compared to a normal smart TV. Turning off the lights helps considerably to make dark images more visible as would adding black-out curtains in a bright room. 

But, when the lights are off and watching at night, the image looks incredible. Watching Dune or any other movie with dark scenes renders an incredibly immersive picture. 

The Wemax Nova is also plenty sharp thanks to the 4K resolution. On my unit, there is the slightest wave along the top of the projected image, but when used in combination with the screen that I have which has a framed edge around it, I don’t even notice the wave.

Out of the box, color seems plenty vivid in a dark environment. In a bright environment, it starts to lose some of that vivid color, though. I didn’t experiment much with different color modes as I found the standard mode satisfactory for my viewing habits. 

The image is also clearly visible at side angles as well as making it great for big rooms where viewers are spread out. 

Wemax Nova: image options

Within the settings, there is some control for the image, but not a whole lot. Five different image modes change the color and brightness along with a single user mode that enables fine-tuning the image with brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, and hue as well as color temperature control and a digital noise reduction mode. 

When using a device through HDMI, the Nova also has a game mode and a monitor mode. 

Android TV

Controlling all of the smart features is Android TV. With access to plenty of apps, it’s easy enough to stream almost all of your favorite content. The only caveat here, and it’s pretty huge, is that there is no support for Netflix. Even the XGIMI Aura can stream Netflix albeit a bit rough, it’s at least possible. Not so much on the Nova. 

How’s the audio?

Like most UST projectors, the Wemax Nova has built-in speakers that work well to fill a room, but you will be better served by a dedicated sound system if possible. It blows most smart TVs out of the water but falls short of even dedicated soundbars. 

Just like the XGIMI Aura, I do wish there was some control for the audio delay. While I didn’t notice it with all content, there were times that I noticed the audio not being synced up with the picture. As a musician and content creator, this usually drives me crazy, but it wasn’t unbearable. The ability to make some tweaks to audio delay would be much appreciated, though. 

Gaming on the Wemax Nova

Much like the XGIMI Aura, the Wemax Nova is great for casual gaming, but because of input lag, you won’t want to fire up any serious competitive titles. I had a blast playing Forza Horizon 5 and Mario Kart on the Nova, though. 

9to5Toys’ Take

At $2,700, the Wemax Nova has plenty of features that make it a powerful projector that can create a massive image. It’s best served in a dim or dark room, but struggles in a bright room. At that price point, though, I find myself leaning toward the XGIMI Aura. Mainly because it has Netflix support, but I also find the heavier design leads to fewer readjustments as I’m often plugging and unplugging devices to use with the projectors.

And at that price point, there are some great options for TVs as well. Currently, at Best Buy, you can snag an 85-inch Samsung QLED for $2,700 or a Sony 65-inch OLED for $2,500.

Buy Wemax Nova

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