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Review: Philips PicoPix MaxTV portable projector

Review: Philips PicoPix MaxTV is a good, portable projector, but one with some points of attention with many features that will amaze you.

Review: Philips PicoPix MaxTV portable projector- A portable projector such as the Philips PicoPix Max TV is a handy and fun accessory. You look where you want, as long as there is a more or less white wall available. And you can use it for lots of other fun things, from party decorations to accessory for your board games. Can this little Philips convince us?

 

Philips PicoPix MaxTV – Specifications

What Full HD DLP projector with LED light source
Setup 1920 x 1080, 1.2 projection ratio (100 inches diagonal at 2.65 m)
Connections 1x HDMI (2.0), 1x USB (media), 1x USB-C (video), 1x optical digital out, 1x headphones
Lamp Life LED light source, up to 30,000 hours
Extras HDR10, HLG, 2x 12 Watt speaker, built-in battery, Android TV 10, auto keystone, autofocus, built-in WiFi, Bluetooth
Dimensions 158 x 150 x 119mm
Weight 1.96 kg
Recommended retail price 899 euros

Philips PicoPix MaxTV – Design

The glossy black cube with rounded ribs and corners is not an example of modern design. Admittedly, it’s boring, but it’s also useful and clear. At the front you slide the lens cap down, at the top the touch buttons are within reach and at the back you will find the connections. A tip: the on/off button is located at the back next to the connections, not at the top of the control buttons.

No searching for hidden compartments or under artfully designed recesses. The sides are perforated for ventilation. It’s not exceptionally heavy, but certainly not lightweight either.

Philips PicoPix MaxTV – Connections

This projector has one HDMI 2.0 connection. Anyone thinking of connecting it to a soundbar or other audio equipment should bear in mind that it does not support ARC. That is rather exceptional. There is, however, a digital optical audio output, and Bluetooth with which you can not only send audio to the projector, but also from the projector to a headset or soundbar. The USB-C port is not for media but for video. That’s a handy option for a laptop.

Finally, you get a USB port for media, a headphone jack, and built-in WiFi.

Philips PicoPix MaxTV – Placement

Setting up the projector is not very complicated. It doesn’t have a lens shift or optical zoom, but just because it’s portable, you can easily put it in the right place. It also has screw connection on the bottom for mounting on a tripod. The fixed projection ratio of 1.2 gives an 80 inch image from 2.1m and a 100 inch image from 2.65m. Autofocus and autokeystone automatically ensure a correct image. We did notice some small points for improvement. The autofocus works well, but randomly decided to refocus. Fortunately, you can turn this off via the menus. If you wish, you can also adjust the focus manually. The lens suffers a little from chromatic aberration, but that remains invisible under normal circumstances.

Philips PicoPix MaxTV

Of course, the autokeystone only adjusts vertical deviations. If you need to project a bit to the side, you can eliminate the resulting distortion with a four-point correction.

The projector is not noisy, but the fan noise can be a bit annoying as it is not very constant. Sometimes it seems that the bearing in which the fan is spinning makes a grinding noise.

Philips PicoPix MaxTV – Ease of use

The projector runs Android TV 10 on a quad core Cortex A53 CPU with 2GB RAM and Mali-G31 GPU. The user experience is fine, everything runs smoothly. The projector settings menu is not fully integrated into the Android environment. It is also quite rudimentary, you will not find settings for a real calibration.

Remote control

The remote is very minimalistic, but that never bothered. What we would have liked to have seen is a separate button to adjust the image mode. You do have two shortcuts for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and one for the Google Assistant.

Another strange detail: within the separate settings menu, the remote control works with infrared and you have to aim. Within the Android TV environment, she works with Bluetooth.

Functions

To our delight, this Philips is equipped with a full Android TV system. In it we find all the usual streaming apps, including Netflix. This makes it the first portable projector we test that offers Netflix.

Using VLC or Plex, the projector also effortlessly plays video files you supply via USB, including HDR, subtitles and DTS or Dolby soundtracks. Of course you can also cast from your smartphone.

The built-in battery lasts four hours, according to specification. With the lamp in the brightest position, we got just two hours, which is enough for a movie. If you set the lamp to a lower setting, you may get those four hours.

Philips PicoPix MaxTV – Picture quality

The MaxTV is a DLP projector with Full HD resolution. The image processing is very limited. It correctly detects film and video frame rates, but because there is no motion interpolation, some slight judder is always visible in 24 fps film images. This is mainly visible in pan images. There is no noise reduction, but the projection image is soft and quite forgiving of noise.

We do not find any light output of the RGB LED light source in the specifications. But after measurement, we see that the maximum light intensity, with the lamp in the brightest mode, comes out at 354 ANSI lumens. We had hoped for more. Fortunately, the image quality in that mode is good. But you have to keep in mind that 80 to 90 inches screen diagonal is the maximum for this projector, with full blackout. With some ambient light, it is best to reduce the screen size to 60 inches. The LED lamp can use a light sensor, but apart from the already relatively low light output, the sensor also did not work properly. Sometimes it intervened unexpectedly, even without changing the lighting conditions in the room.

On a completely black image we see a remarkable error. The right half of the image is slightly red/magenta tinted. Fortunately, that was rarely seen on real footage, and if it was, the effect was small. We reported the problem to Screeneo, the manufacturer. They may send us a second test sample. We will come back to this later if necessary.

The contrast is also not a real high-flyer, but is still better than we expected. In the Cinema picture mode it comes out at 469:1. That gives images just enough depth. But in really dark scenes, a lot of black detail unfortunately disappears and you quickly notice that black is rather dark gray. The Cinema image mode delivers a moderate, but just sufficient calibration. The color temperature is good, so colors are natural. As is typical for these projectors, it is therefore best to stick to clear and colorful images.

Philips PicoPix MaxTV – HDR

The projector supports HDR10 and HLG, but we know that we don’t have real devices of this class HDR may expect. The color range reaches 79% P3, which is a bit little for real HDR colors.

But the display also falls a bit short. Images are generally much darker than desired, due to the limited contrast, he also loses a lot of black detail. And the projector regularly goes wrong with very bright images. Unwanted banding can occur there, or it hides a lot of white detail. We also often see colors that are too intense. Since there is little to calibrate, you have to make do with that.

Philips PicoPix MaxTV

This photo illustrates the effect very well. The sun is very intense and colored, but because of the excessive colors and clipping you suddenly see a very strange effect in the sun. Also notice the bands of color in the sky.

Philips PicoPix MaxTV – Gaming

The input lag of 28.7 ms in the game image mode is quite good for this type of projector. It can handle up to 4K60, not 2K120. And he doesn’t offer HDMI 2.1-gaming features, so no ALLM or VRR.

Philips PicoPix MaxTV – Sound quality

Look, the small projector can really unpack with this. The 2x 12 Watt is remarkably much and the Philips can produce a lot of volume with it. The sound is also pleasantly balanced, with enough low end. The rough metal work doesn’t send him into overdrive either, he keeps the distortion well under control. You can also use it as a portable Bluetooth speaker.

Philips PicoPix MaxTV – Conclusion

The Philips PicoPix MaxTV is a good, portable projector, but one with some points of attention. For example, it is less bright than we had hoped, while that is very useful for a projector that will rarely be in an ideal place. The contrast is limited, but you have to take that for granted in this category of devices. The autofocus and light sensor sometimes do their own thing. Just turn them off and it won’t bother you anymore.

On the plus side, we are delighted with the full Android TV experience. Netflix is ​​also not missing on the apple. Do you have some movies on a USB stick? No problem. Connect laptop via HDMI or USB-C? That too is possible. The built-in battery lasts about a film. Darken the room, and you can still count on a fairly large image. With excellent sound quality and image quality, by the way, as long as you prefer clear, colorful material. HDR is best avoided, the calibration is not good enough for that.

Pros

  • A full Android TV with Netflix
  • Built-in battery
  • Excellent audio for this format
  • Auto focus, auto keystone
  • Long life LED light source
  • Good image quality (SDR)
Negatives

  • Fairly limited light output
  • Sometimes dark red hue visible on the right
  • Moderate contrast
  • Autofocus and light sensor intervene unexpectedly
  • HDR display has visible flaws

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