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Avoid Cheap Projectors Like the Jimtab M18


hey everybody it’s lon seiben it’s time once again for your weekly wrap-up and this week i thought we would talk a little bit about projectors because we’ve been looking at a bunch of them lately and i wanted to give you kind of an overview of what the projector marketplace looks like on the low end side of things and what you need to look out for so let’s get to it now what prompted this week’s topic was a projector that a viewer let us borrow the other day this is the mars 2 pro from anker’s nebula brand brian parker let us borrow his to play around with and review that review went up the other day and i found it to be a pretty good projector for doing outdoor movie nights because of its simplicity and its portability it’s not very heavy you can put it on a camera tripod in fact they’ve got a tripod mount at the bottom it’s got decent stereo speakers a built-in battery it even has a little android computer on it so you could stream netflix and stuff it’s not perfect but i think for the outdoor movie night scenario it works pretty well the problem that brian had with it is that it’s not very bright and to anchors credit they don’t over hype the brightness of this it really needs to be used in a very dark environment like outside at night or inside with the curtains drawn anything beyond that you’re gonna have a hard time seeing the image and brian bought this specifically to do presentations indoors during the day so it’s not really working too well for him you can check out the review to get a little bit more on this but during the live stream that i shot just kind of getting to know the projector a bunch of viewers suggested we take a look at this thing called the gym tab m18 and this is one of the many generic kinds of projectors you might see online here’s a sampling of some of the other ones out there and these are not very expensive and you’ll see these things all over the place whenever you look for a projector and this

one in particular is really hyping the brightness of it in fact they’re claiming here that it does six thousand ansi lumens now six thousand lumens is a very bold claim in fact most projectors that you’re spending uh two or three thousand dollars on don’t claim to be that bright and i had to pick it up just to test it to see if it was anywhere near that level of brightness and to really put it through its paces i compared it to this acer projector that i had used for presentations over the years i bought this a decade ago it’s still on its original bulb and this thing is a 720p projector that is rated at 2500 ansi lumens so clearly if the gym tab here was brighter we would see that when we put them side by side so i did just that on a live stream the other day on the right hand side is the image from the acer projector on the left hand side is the gym tab and as you can see the acer is much brighter the image is not nearly as cold in its white balance as the gym tab is even tried to make some adjustments on it everything is better on the decade-old projector and brighter versus this gym tab thing that you’ll find on amazon claiming all of these wild claims about its brightness and i was trying to figure out where would they even get that number from so i bought one of these light meters to see if we could figure out where they’re getting the claim and what i think they did is they put the light meter right up to the

lens on it and that’s where you can maybe get into the range of 6000 lumens but that’s not how you’re supposed to measure things and i’ll talk about that in a little bit now beyond the deceptive brightness claims i found that it doesn’t deliver a very nice quality image either you saw how bad the color temperature was on its lamp a second ago it’s also very hard to get the image into focus so you do have a manual focus dial here on the top and although you can get a good chunk of the image dialed in and sharp the edges typically are very blurry no matter what you do there is a manual keystone adjustment so if you have the projector kind of propped up at an angle here with some books underneath it or something they also have a little leg that can kind of go down here too you can adjust the keystone to flatten out the image but it doesn’t work very well and i could not get a uniformly flat image out of this thing either so all in just not very good it’s one of those things where you get what you pay for and the fan is pretty noisy on it too so you know if you’re looking for something cheap to project something onto a wall it’s going to work fine but you always get what you pay for and there are a lot of things out there like this one however we’re focusing on this one in particular just because of their outlandish brightness claims which of course don’t really hold up now if you’re curious as to what the industry standard typically is for brightness benq has a great guide on their website to give you some ideas to exactly how you’re supposed to be measuring the lumens of a projector for marketing purposes and most

conform to the ansi standard for doing that and what that consists of is having the projector sit at a certain distance from the wall you have to have particular lighting conditions where everything is dark and then you need to measure the brightness in nine different sectors of the screen and from there you can calculate what the ansi lumen rating of your projector is but nobody’s holding anyone to these numbers it doesn’t go through some independent audit to determine what this is or not however i found most of the name brands tend to be fairly close to honest about these numbers especially if they’re going to be quoting antsy lumens versus just lumens but many other projectors especially people who make these cheap ones are not doing that they’re holding the light meter up to the thing and saying that’s how bright their lenses are so as always buyer beware and it also depends on how far away from the screen you’re going and they’ve got a pretty useful chart here to give you a sense as to what you need to look for depending on how big of an image you want to project and potentially how far you are going to be from the screen and that brings us to some other things to think about like the throw of the projector so most of the inexpensive projectors out there like this one and even my acer from a decade ago have a long throw in other words you got to move really far back from your projection screen to get a decent sized image so for these we’re probably going back about eight to ten feet to maybe get a 75 inch

display up on the screen and there are some projectors out there that throw at a shorter distance where you can put it very close to the wall yet get a much larger image and as you can imagine the short throw projectors tend to cost more than the long ones now when you are out shopping for a projector you’re going to encounter a lot of different types of projection technology by my count there are four main types right now and you’ll see more choices the more you’re willing to spend as to what technology your projector is going to use and what subsets of that technology might be at work i’m going to do the lightning round here and just kind of give you a brief overview of each type and a example projector that runs with it i haven’t tested any of these projectors yet but i’ll give you some thoughts on them as we go the most common one i think you’ll encounter is dlp this is also the oldest projection technology out there it’s been around for decades it was powering a lot of the early hd projection televisions and a lot of projectors even going back to the late 90s all use dlp tech and it involves a spinning color wheel a chip and very bright bulbs to deliver really good imagery and the technology has progressed over the years and gotten a lot better here’s an example of a nice one in the dlp technology category that’s not all that expensive this is the benq tk850 we looked at an earlier

version of this a couple of years ago but now these things are doing 4k hdr you can see it’s doing 3000 lumens so a little brighter than the acer we were playing with a little bit earlier i think the one i reviewed a couple of years ago was a similar level of brightness and these are generally pretty well reviewed not as good as a super high end home theater projector but at the low end it’s pretty good although it’ll set you back about what the price of a gaming laptop would cost you and dlp like every technology has pros and cons the pros are that you get great image quality again a very mature technology you have a very fast response rate on these especially if you’re watching high frame rate content so if you’re doing stuff like watching sporting events or 60 hertz content on twitch or whatever you’re going to see a lot less motion blur with dlp based on how the technology works versus what you would get on a different type of projection technology but the lamps on dlp tend to burn out a little bit quicker depending on the projector you get maybe three to five thousand hours before you have to put a new lamp in the cost of lamps has gone down over the years but they’re still pretty expensive compared to the entry point that you’ll pay for the projector itself so there is a consumable involved here and some folks see a rainbow effect on dlp i don’t but there are people out

there who will see kind of a rainbow hue on the image as they’re watching it and they can’t get it out of their head and it’s just based on how certain people see things versus others and if you see that you’re always going to have a problem i think with dlp but most people have no problem with it at all and if you go back to the example image i was showing earlier of that acer projector you’ll see that at work with the image we were recording on my phone because my phone’s camera was slightly out of sync with the color wheel and you can see a little bit of banding working itself into that image one other thing to note about dlp projectors is that because there is a spinning wheel inside they tend to make a little more noise versus a different type of technology it doesn’t have a moving part to it and what i found with my acer projector is i’ll hear the little wheel go up and then the fan kick on so you have the noise of the fan and the color wheel although more expensive more modern projectors seem to dampen that noise out a bit but there will be a moving part and a little bit more noise and that might be a durability issue now the next one you’ll encounter is lcd a lot of the real cheap ones out there like the jimbo device here are running with lcd technology this particular one has an lcd display along with an led bulb that is shining through it but you’ll also encounter some higher end ones that

deliver really bright images at fairly reasonable prices epson makes some really nice lcd projectors they actually use three different lcds for each color and the light is projected through those super bright as you can see here this one’s rated at 3 600 lumens so that one’s a little bit brighter than the benq we looked at a minute ago but as with everything there are trade-offs so you do get longer bulb life typically on these lcd projectors there’s less moving parts involved as well so if you’re moving the projector around a lot the lcd might be the way to go in my school system we were using one of these epson lcd projectors for our board meetings it was a very small device but it was super bright enough for everyone to see the image projected on the screen at a pretty large size even with the lights on in the room i was always very impressed with the epson lcd projector they had there are some cons though one of the big ones is motion blur and just like your lcd monitor you will encounter fast motion kind of getting blurred up a little bit especially on the projectors some of the monitors now are getting better at faster response rates but the motion blur will be more visible with many of these lcd projectors versus a dlp for example the other technology out there is called lcos lcos and this one is kind of a hybrid of dlp and lcd and this is where the price point starts to go up a bit so here’s an example of a sony home theater projector this will probably run about double the price of the benq we looked at a few minutes ago with dlp but you get excellent image quality out of these with a much better contrast ratio so

that’s why home theater people like them but of course they are more expensive and they are a bit dimmer as well so you do have some issues with brightness and price on these but better image quality and then you’ve got laser technology and the laser projectors typically involve either dlp or lcd but use a laser as the light source here’s a cool one i found from lg this is a tabletop lcd 4k projector that delivers 2500 lumens in a very small package here you can see it consumes about 280 watts of power and some of the pros of laser is that they are much brighter in fact i saw some from sony that deliver like 10 to 20 000 lumens or more so you can get a really really bright image out of it and again it’s going to incorporate dlp or lcd display technology with that in most cases uh excellent image quality out of these things depending on the display technology being used and they also have a very long life because you’re using a laser and not a bulb many of these are rated for 20 000 hours of usage or more versus maybe three to five thousand hours on a typical bulb although replacing the laser is going to cost you a lot more than one of those bulbs might cost to replace but still you’re going to get a lot more life out of it without having to work on it too often for maintenance uh the cons though are that they are super expensive right now and i’m sure they will be for the foreseeable future especially at the high end now one last thing to think about when shopping for a projector is gaming and i know a lot of folks out there shopping for projectors are looking for something at around the 200 dollar price point

and say hey i could get one of these things and project the xbox on the side of the garage how cool would that be for my upcoming birthday party or whatever and yeah they’ll do that the problem you run into though is input lag i found that even on the little nebula here the input lag can be so bad you’ll feel it in the case of this one we were north of 150 milliseconds sometimes and it was making retro games almost impossible to play super mario brothers requires precise inputs happening at the right time and you can push the button and literally feel the weight before mario jumps on screen the jimbo here did a little bit better but it wasn’t much better i was getting about 130 130-ish milliseconds of lag on this too so none of these projectors that i’ve tested recently are very good for precision gaming but it would be fine for games that require a little less precision in getting those button presses registered on screen the benq projector that i reviewed a couple of years ago wasn’t much better it was a little better than this one but it was still north of 100 milliseconds i’d really like to check out some of the newer ones out there that are advertising gaming as a feature to see exactly what the input lag is on those but just know that i think you’re going to run into input lag on most projectors that are out there especially at the low end so just be prepared for that and choose your games accordingly so what do i recommend well i would say first of all avoid the temptation of these cheap projectors these things are all over the place they’re a dime a

dozen and the quality is just poor on these and for a little more money you can get into a name brand projector like an epson that is not going to blow your socks off with its image quality but it’s going to be a lot better and a lot brighter than what you’ll get out of one of these cheap things that may not last all that long so buyer beware as always and look at the name brands epson and benq have some good ones at the lower end of the spectrum and some other manufacturers who’ve been making projectors for a long time do as well and that’s where i would really focus your attention on this stuff is only going to lead you to disappointment and perhaps even a failed movie night and nobody wants that so hopefully this video was helpful to you in avoiding some of the pitfalls that i fell into with these low end projectors i very much regret purchasing this but i think it was a useful exercise for the channel for people to see just how misleading the marketing is on these lousy projectors and what you should be avoiding and i do want to thank as usual all of you who support the channel we didn’t have any new supporters this week but we do have some new super chatters or at least some recurring ones mark dell hand quake and 200 watt studio all made contributions during our live streams this past week and i

want to thank everyone who contributed this week and everyone who’s been contributing on an ongoing basis and all of you who watch on a regular basis too because all of those things equal channel growth and what i love about getting the feedback from all of you is that we can put together content like this and learn new things and that really increases the value of the content so no matter how you’re contributing even if it’s just watching it does make a difference and i thank you all for your support now if you want to support the channel you can you can go to lawn dot tv support and make a monthly or a one-time contribution to the channel we also support patreon the youtube membership program and floatplane if you want to find me in other places you can also do that i have my extras channel where we just uploaded a bunch of mini reviews and unboxings we have the podcast which is the audio version of this show we have the snippets that we’ll be doing a little bit more within the near future and of course we’ve got our live stream archive our floatplane page and my

amazon page which i’m really starting to build out a lot more we do all of our recorded videos up there and live streams there too so check me out on amazon and give me a follow we also have my email list at london.tv email the facebook group which is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds and my store that you can find at lawn dot tv store where i sell previously used items like this device that will be up soon because they won’t take it back so we’ll have that up at a very reasonable price there’s only going to be one because it’s just this very unit i’ll even autograph it just to get it out the door and if you want to get notified whenever we have anything new in the store you can sign up for my email store alert to get that notification and that is going to do it for this week’s weekly wrap-up please keep those questions and comments coming in and we’ll be back with more live streams and more recorded stuff too so hit that notification bell and i will see you all next time until next time this is lon seidman thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the london tv supporters including gold level supporters chris allegretta tom albrecht mark bollinger sergio morales mark dell jim kalliger and steven suh if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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