Xiaomi unveiled its laser projector at the end of 2017, and nearly after a year, the product is now making its way to the U.S. The Mi Laser Projector is now officially available in the country, and you'll be able to pick one up from Walmart for $1,999. The best part is that unlike the version that's sold in China — which runs Xiaomi's custom software skin — the U.S. version features Android TV out of the box.
The Mi Laser Projector also comes with Google Assistant integration and can be selected as a video target for the Cast protocol. It comes with YouTube, HBO Now, Showtime, Spotify, ESPN, Sling and other services out of the box, but curiously, there's no mention of Netflix.
As for the hardware itself, the Mi Laser Projector is an ultra-short throw projector, which means you can place it just 20cm away from the wall. It has a projection area of up to 150 inches at 1920 x 1080, and it uses ALPD 3.0 laser light source tech. It also comes with a built-in soundbar that has two full range tweeters that produce enough sound to fill a room. The laser diode is quoted for 25,000 hours, ensuring it'll last for several years.
I've been using the projector for just under a year now, and it has been one of my best purchases of 2018. The color quality is excellent, but it's the brightness where it truly stands out — I haven't faced any issues when using the projector during the day, even with a lot of ambient light in the room.
My one issue with the product was the software, but with the Mi Laser Projector now officially available in the U.S. and running Android TV, that is no longer an issue. The $2,000 asking price may seem like a lot, but like the rest of Xiaomi's products, you're getting incredible value. To put things into context, the Epson LS100 costs $900 more.
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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.