Portable projectors are a great way to add some functionality to your entertainment setup. They work great at home plugged in for movie night, but the uses go much further than that. Taking a camping trip and want to watch a movie under the stars? Want to have your friends over for a movie but don’t want to be indoors? With built-in batteries, portable projectors open up a new world of possibilities. We’ve taken a look at our fair share of portable projectors on 9to5Toys, and the AAXA M7 projector offers an impressive feature list for the price. Be sure to hit the video below to see all the details.
AAXA M7 overview
First, let’s take an overview look at the AAXA M7 specs. Coming in at $488, the projector packs a 1080p image at up to 1,200 LED lumens when plugged in. Battery life can run up to three hours on eco mode, and the M7 has built-in audio.
One major difference from what we’ve seen with other portable projectors recently is that the M7 has no smart TV capabilities, meaning some sort of media input will need to be provided. But, with an HDMI port and a USB port, it’s easy to add your favorite stream stick, computer, or gaming console.
For comparison, the latest portable projector we tried was the XGIMI Halo, which features an Android TV, 800 ANSI lumens, and the same 1080p resolution with a price tag of $800.
One thing to note there in the comparison between the M7 and the Halo is that the lumens rating is in a different standard. While XGIMI uses the standardized ANSI lumens measurement, the AAXA uses an LED lumen rating which can be a little misleading. In an article from Benq, LED lumens can be converted to ANSI lumens by dividing the LED number by 2.4. So in reality, the 1,200 LED lumens rating from the AAXA is more like 500 ANSI lumens.
That being said, 500 ANSI lumens is still pretty good. The $580 Nebula Capsule II by Anker, which is also a portable projector, is only rated to 200 ANSI lumens, for example.
Measuring 7.5 x 6.5 x 2.25 inches, the M7’s small design makes the projector easy to pack for trips or outside adventures. On the front is the lens. In the back, the projector has a three-way power switch. On the left side are dedicated focus buttons, a 3.5 headphone port, AV-in port, USB-C port, TF card slot (basically a micro SD but with more limited capacity compatibility from my understanding), and a reset button. Over on the right side of the projector are the power plug, an HDMI port, a USB-A port, and an LED status light.
On top of the projector are capacitive touch buttons. These are useful for adjusting audio, settings, and keystone.
AAXA M7 video
The bottom is pretty bare, which is kind of unfortunate. For portable projectors, having some sort of mounting option or at least something to change the angle of the projector like adjustable feet is pretty handy. Unfortunately, without that, it’s a bit harder to get the M7 in the perfect position for viewing. You can see in the video that I used some baby toys to angle the projector to get it mostly aligned on my screen in the basement. There is an optional ceiling-mounted kit that can be purchased separately.
But, the M7 projector does have vertical keystone adjustments, which make it easier to dial in an image when the projector isn’t in the optimal position. It’s a manual adjustment, not a multi-point system like that found on the XGIMI Halo.
One neat feature is that the power switch can be set to on, off, or charge. In charge mode, the projector can act as a power bank and charge external devices connected through the USB-A port.
A bright image
While the rest of the projector might be missing some features like Android TV and mounting options, the image from the AAXA M7 is impressively bright for the price. There are three different brightness modes. When plugged in, all three modes are available, including the boost mode that will take full advantage of all 1,200 LED lumens. When running on the internal battery, the image is limited to a 650 LED lumen standard mode and an even dimmer eco mode. To hit those full battery-life numbers, the projector will need to be in eco mode.
The image is plenty sharp with a 1080p image. Focus can be adjusted from both physical controls on the projector as well as dedicated buttons on the remote.
During the day, the color of the image left a little to be desired in my opinion. In a dim basement with some ambient light from windows, the image was overwhelmingly green. I was able to get it closer to where I wanted it through built-in color temperature controls, but it still looked a little off.
At night or in a very dark room, though, the bright image from the AAXA M7 looks great. Watching Star Wars the Force Awakens was very enjoyable with dark blacks and bright whites. I was testing it on a 100-inch screen and was very impressed with the quality for the price.
How is it for gaming?
The AAXA M7 works well for casual gaming, but there is some input lag. It doesn’t feel as bad as some other projectors when they’re not in a dedicated game mode, but I probably wouldn’t choose to play an FPS game on the M7. Forza Horizon 5 felt pretty good, though.
AAXA M7 audio
Since the M7 functions as a portable speaker, another important aspect is its built-in audio – dual speakers with 4W of power. While they do work to play audio, they’re not great. I’d compare them to budget laptop speakers. But, again, for the price and portability of this projector, I’d be surprised if they blew me away. The audio will get loud enough to hear around a room, but it’s not the highest quality.
Another thing that affects the audio is the fan noise of the M7 projector. In boost mode, it’s quite loud. During any moment of quiet audio in your media, the projector is easily audible and distracting. Standard mode brings the fan down, but it’s still pretty audible and distracting. Eco mode makes the projector much quieter and will also prolong the battery life. But, it is quite a bit dimmer than the other two modes. At night with a small screen, this is fine, but when testing on a 100-inch screen, it can look too dim.
AAXA M7 remote
The included remote is functional, but it feels like a budget piece. It’s very light. All of the features can be controlled with the remote, but some aspects aren’t intuitive.
For example, changing the color temperature requires pressing the little shutter-looking button between the plus and minus, which takes you into the inputs menu. Then, you need to hit the back button to get to the main menu and navigate to settings to adjust the color temp. This took me a little while to figure out and wasn’t an intuitive process.
The remote also needs to be pointed at the back of the projector to make any changes. I couldn’t get it to operate the projector from the front or side.
At just $488, the AAXA M7 is an affordable entry into the portable projector realm with a very bright image. It does lack some of the quality-of-life features that I’ve grown accustomed to from other portable projectors like the XGIMI Halo, but those products cost considerably more.
For certain use cases, the M7 is a great fit. AAXA markets the M7 for outdoor decorations like holograms and 3D projections for Halloween or other holidays, for example. If you just want a portable projector with enough brightness and battery life, this is it.
Likewise, for van life and RV amping, the M7 can be a great choice. Mount it somewhere to use indoors or take it with you to watch something outside. Just make sure you have a hotspot and stream stick to stream, load up some videos on a USB or micro SD card beforehand, or bring along a console to play video games.
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