Xiaomi sells over 2,000 items in China, and one of the more interesting products it launched last year was the Mi Laser Projector. The ultra-short throw projector can cast up to a 150-inch image, and it comes with an array of features that differentiates it from the rest of the options in this segment.
Above all else, Xiaomi as a brand is associated with offering incredible value for money from its portfolio of products, and the Mi Laser Projector is no different. Even though it costs vastly more than most Xiaomi products at $1,999, it is well worth the asking price. And best of all, it is now available officially in the U.S.
- Excellent picture quality
- Room-filling sound
- Great design
- High degree of customizability
Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector What you'll love
Xiaomi has done a masterful job when it comes to the design of its ecosystem products. Everything from its air purifier to robot vacuum cleaner, smart humidifier, and even the rice cooker share a similar design aesthetic, and that's the case with the Mi Laser Projector as well. It is made out of plastic and finished in white, and has a grille up front that houses the speaker.
The Mi Laser Projector has a rectangular design — unlike most other projectors — and it manages to stand out. As this is an ultra-short throw projector, you'll be able to place it right next to the wall, with the image size going all the way up to 150 inches. There are vents on either side — the one on the left lets air in, and the right side is the exhaust.
There are IR sensors on either side of the laser that cut off the image anytime they detect motion in the vicinity, with the feature designed to prevent you from looking into the laser. You'll also be able to adjust the height of the projector through the knobs located on either side. Round the back, the Mi Laser Projector has three HDMI ports (including an ARC port), a solitary USB 3.0 port, audio in/out, S/PDIF, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. You also get Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity.
The Mi Laser Projector uses Appotronics' ALPD 3.0 in conjunction with TI's DLP projection tech, and the image quality on offer is excellent.
Colors are vibrant, and the projector manages to do a great job with HDR content. While it doesn't have 4K playback, it downsamples 4K content when played over something like a Chromecast Ultra. The projector gravitates to cooler colors out of the box, but you'll be able to adjust color balance, brightness, saturation, and other parameters to get a better-calibrated image.
I went with the settings outlined on AVForums, and having used the projector for just over five months now, I can say that I haven't faced any issues with reliability or image quality.
Another area where it excels is in brightness — the Mi Laser Projector is one of the brightest options in this category, and it actually manages to outdo projectors that cost three times as much. Even if you're installing the projector in a room that gets a lot of ambient light, you should have no problem viewing content.
The picture quality is just one aspect, and the Mi Laser Projector also has a great built-in speaker. It comes with two 30W woofers and two high-frequency tweeters, and the sound that comes out of the projector is amazing. I have the projector set up in my bedroom, and the built-in soundbar is more than adequate to fill the room.
An interesting design trait with the Mi Laser Projector is that it is modular, with Xiaomi stating that you'll be able to switch out the motherboard or even the laser after a few years, making for easy upgrades. The laser itself is touted to last 25,000 hours, so you don't need to worry about switching it out anytime soon.
Xiaomi is also offering a brand-new remote with the projector, and it has a click wheel design similar to that of what you'd find on an Apple TV remote. With the product now officially on sale in the U.S., the software issues have been worked out. There's Android TV out of the box, and the Mi Laser Projector is just as great as other TVs that come with the OS. You get Assistant integration and the ability to install apps via the Play Store, and select the projector as a video target for the Cast protocol.
Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector What needs work
There really isn't a lot wrong with the Mi Laser Projector. The fan does make a lot of noise, but you don't tend to notice that once it starts playing a video or movie. My version runs Xiaomi's PatchWall interface, with a lot of the interface elements as well as menu items and recommendations are in Mandarin.
Thankfully, that won't be a problem if you're buying the Mi Laser Projector directly from Walmart. The U.S. version comes with Android TV out of the box, and has Google Assistant integration as well.
Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector review
While the $1,999 price tag may seem like an awful lot for a Xiaomi product, there's plenty to like in the Mi Laser Projector. It goes toe-to-toe with projectors that cost thrice as much, and the image quality as well as brightness are fantastic.
With the projector making its debut in the U.S., you get access to Android TV and Play Store, and you'll be able to cast videos to it from your phone or via Google Home. In short, this is the product Xiaomi makes today, and it's worth every penny.
4.5 out of 5
The Mi Laser Projector is Xiaomi's most ambitious hardware product yet, and like its phones, it offers incredible value. The picture quality is outstanding, the built-in speakers sound great, and the portable nature of the projector means you don't have to worry about drilling holes or mounting it on the ceiling. For under $2,000, this is one of the best projectors you can buy today.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.