PROS / The AAXA M5 has stellar image quality and brightness.
CONS / The projector can be noisy.
VERDICT / The AAXA M5’s specifications make it a strong option for a dedicated home or business projector.
As one of the flagship models in AAXA’s pico projector lineup, the AAXA M5’s strengths come from its focus on the fundamentals and details. Pico projectors typically have to choose between portability and performance, but the M5 largely manages to balance them, which makes it a projection option that’s equally suited for home and business users. With its stellar image quality and full suite of features, the AAXA M5 earns the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award.
On paper, the M5 benefits from a strong set of specifications. The LED-based projector has a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and can upscale video content up to 1080p. The projector also comes equipped with a bulb that has a manufacturer brightness rating of 900 lumens.
Our benchmarking verified the M5’s excellent rendering abilities. Compared to the other mini projectors in our review, it scored in the top tier for display brightness. The projector also had a Delta-E value of 15 in our color accuracy testing. For reference, this value is produced via testing with a colorimeter. Delta-E represents how accurately the projector can reproduce a spectrum of colors, and the closer the score is to zero, the better. While the M5’s color accuracy mark isn’t best in class, it’s still a noticeable margin better than comparable LED-based projectors, which produced colorimeter readouts of 20 to 25 in our tests.
During hands-on evaluations in a dark viewing environments as well as those with ambient light, the M5 proved to be reliable performer. Thanks in part to the projector’s low throw ratio of 1.2:1 – throw ratio is the distance a projector is from a display versus the width of the broadcasted image – we could make out details like individual pores and hair texture in upscaled 1080p videos. On stock settings, color fidelity was a similar strength for the M5. Even in light, colors remained warm and rendered accurately.
The M5 features a full suite of business-friendly connectivity options. The rear and sides of the mini portable projector include VGA support, full-size HDMI input, composite video support, a microSD slot and standard 3.5mm audio output.
However, as with most business projectors, the M5 doesn’t have support for popular home features like Bluetooth audio connectivity and wireless screen mirroring. The M5’s operating system also has a versatile integrated media player. Through a microSD card or USB thumb drive, you can display file formats like JPG, TXT and MP3.
This AAXA is a sturdily built pico projector. With dimensions of 6 x 6 x 1.8 inches and a weight of 1.9 pounds, the M5 does carry a noticeable amount of bulk compared to competing mini projectors. The chassis is constructed from polished black and white plastic. While it’s not the most visually striking of cases, the M5 has a nice sense of heft to it when held, and flex on the body is virtually nonexistent.
While it’s still highly portable and benefits from an included carrying case, the M5 is certainly far from pocket size. The case includes a basic 5-inch tripod that can be used to adjust the M5 in large rooms. The remote falls in line with models included with similar pico projectors – it’s about the size of a pack of gum and features standard options like volume control and keystone angle adjustment. Unlike most pico projectors, sound is not an afterthought in the M5’s design. While the sound quality is still a step behind your typical desktop or laptop speaker, it benefits from a twin-speaker setup. The extra audio hardware makes the M5 good for watching movies or other multimedia with large groups.
As with other AAXA models, the projector touts an internal battery for on-the-go use, and results from our battery tests ran in line with the company’s listed battery lifespan; our model lasted for one hour and five minutes before powering down, which was only minutes away from AAXA’s 70-minute rating. The M5’s battery life is surprisingly strong considering the projector has a high-power bulb, but expect to keep it close to a wall power outlet.
The bulb’s power ties into one of its only major missteps. For a pico projector, the M5’s fans run noticeably loud. Even in everyday use, they were about as loud as a laptop’s fans at full blast when it was connected to the AC adapter. If the projector is hooked up to an external sound source or you are watching video from a distance, it won’t be a major concern. Still, for the projector’s price, it’s a slight nuisance.
Help & Support
By default, AAXA offers a one-year warranty on the M5. The company also provides support through channels including an online resource section, phone and email.
The AAXA M5 earns its ranking among the best mini projectors thanks to its specifications and build quality. With excellent image fidelity and clarity, the M5 is flexible enough to project in any home or business environment.