FAVI J5 PICO HD projector review: smaller is brighter

The FAVI J5 Pico projector that shipped in August of this year is another step in the right direction for the munchkin market. Small projector boxes by their very nature are restricted in the amount of kit they can cram into a small a small space and the FAVI J5 is no exception. This little sweetie pie, however, bangs out an impressive 400 ANSI lumen and considering its physical size, we are now verging on the edge of very respectable.

The Lite fantastic

The dimensions of the J5 are crazy small. At just 30mm x 100mm x 180mm and weighing only 500 grams, it must be one of the best size – to – lumen projectors in its category. The 400 lumens are courtesy of its DLP optic engine and as is becoming more common in small projectors, the lamp is powered with LED technology. This allows for instant on / off switching and because you don’t need to allow for warming up or cooling down, no village idiots in the corporate structure can damage the optic engine by pulling the plug out of the wall because they are in a hurry and don’t shut the machine down properly. It also means that the manufacturers of lamps must be getting very nervous because the lamp life of the J5 is an eye watering 30 000 hours. Now that’s impressive!

Native resolution is 1280 x 800 (WXVGA) with commensurate aspect ratio of 16:9. Contrast ratio is 2500:1 and considering that the J5 is primarily designed for entertainment (16:9), this is not awe inspiring. However, considering the portability of the unit, the black and skin tones on Blue ray images are not too bad.  If you are a home theatre fundi though, it may bother you a bit. Again, the “sacrifice for size” issue rears it head and to this end, there is no zoom ring, meaning you have to physically move the projector toward or away from your projection surface. No sweat. With an image range of 60cm – 380cm, you’re good to go.

Power outages: no problem

A bonus with the J5 is that the manufacturers have added a battery, which has a life of about 1.5 hours and it doesn’t look like a brick hanging off the base of the unit. Inputs include HDMI, VGA, audio out, USB and Micro SD.  The on-board software supports the usual list of suspects including your iPad, iPhone, android device, laptop, PC/Mac, DVD and Blue Ray or gaming console. There is an on board speaker and the unit is able to flip horizontally for rear projection and vertically to allow for ceiling mounting. There is also a digital keystone function, allowing for a 40 degree adjustment.

The J5 also allows you to load HD photos and videos directly to the unit via the included micro SD card  or USB ports, allowing you to be laptop or tablet free, should you feel the urge. The box ships with a remote control, power adaptor / cable (110 – 240v) AV adaptor cable, SD/MicroSD card / 4GB and comprehensive user guide.

In all, if you have some control over ambient light conditions in your corporate or home theatre environment and portability is a crucial factor in your purchase decision, then the J5 may just be the good looking potent pint – sized answer to your dreams. But for US$600, it may be a bit rich for my blood.



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