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Thoughts from Steven as he goes "combsing through the minutia" to discover tech, retro-computing, gadgets, Google, higher education, physical computing, and sci-fi.

19 October 2019

BULLET REVIEW: The AuKing $52 LCD Projector

by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.
tags: bulletreview - lcd - projector - review - auking

A couple of years ago, we received the Star Shower Window Wonderland as a gift from family members who knew our love of holiday decorations. We used this little single-use projector for both Halloween and Christmas. It served us faithfully by projecting several built-in holiday themed animated scenes at very low lumens (a measure of brightness for the projector).

This year, we wanted to break away from the standard scenes provided and brighten up the image. I’ve become familiar with sub-$100 projectors by browsing Amazon and have been intrigued. I almost pulled the trigger several times this past year but kept telling myself that there was no way these inexpensive projectors would be worth the purchase.

Toward the holiday season, I once again began thinking about these devices. I browsed the numerous listings of these tiny inexpensive projectors until my head was about to explode. I looked at brands, models, and reviews. I placed several projectors in my cart, removed them, then added others. In the end, I finally decided to purchase the AuKing Mini Projector (Upgraded for 2019).

The AuKing 2019 Mini Projector

I choose the AuKing for three reasons:

  1. The price was amazing! After applying a 25% off electronic coupon to the already low price of $70, the cost was only $52.50. That’s a little more than double the cost of the Star Shower Window Wonderland.
  2. The AuKing has one of the highest lumen levels (2600) of the sub-$60 LCD projectors.
  3. It has the ability to display almost ANYTHING (more on that in the bullets).

My Holiday Use Case

Before I share my review, I want to describe how I use this projector. The LCD projector is connected to an AmazonBasics standard camera tripod. The LCD projector includes the threads necessary. I shoot the image onto a translucent window shade mounted to a large window on the front of our home.

AuKing on AmazonBasics Tripod

Visitors are treated to movies I play from an inexpensive 32 Gb microSD card plugged into the LCD projector. You probably wouldn’t guess it with a projector this inexpensive, but the it includes the ability to reverse the image so visitors don’t see mirrored video. The projector also includes repeat and sleep timer features. I simply turn the projector on, select the movie to display from the built-in media display menus, select repeat, and finally select four hours of play. In the words of Ron Popeil, I “set it and forget it.”

You can find my use of the projector displaying a film in the video below:

For Halloween 2019, I downloaded public domain, and VERY creepy, silent films from the 1920s. My personal favorites to display are Faust, Nosferatu, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Each of these films provide just the right atmosphere for visitors and Trick ‘r Treaters. As mentioned earlier, because the projector includes the ability to mirror the display, viewers can read the narrative cards. I’ve already begun my search for public domain Christmas films and cartoons.

I hope it explains how this device replaces the limited scene displaying Star Shower Window Wonderland. With only a double the cost investment, I now have limitless display options. Now, let’s dive into my bullet review of the Amazon titled product:

AuKing Mini Projector 2019 Upgraded Portable Video-Projector,55000 Hours Multimedia Home Theater Movie Projector,Compatible with Full HD 1080P HDMI,VGA,USB,AV,Laptop,Smartphone

Whew, that’s a mouthful!

The Good:

TIP: Connect a Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, or portable Roku device to the HDMI port but note that the USB port will not provide power to the device.

The Bad (But again, it’s a $50 projector!):

Summary:

While you can find faults with this projector, if you set your expectations where they should be and remember “THIS IS A $50 LCD PROJECTOR!” You will not be disappointed. You may even find yourself having a blast once you understand what you can do with this portable projector.

If you need a home theater projector to display your favorite movies in pristine color, look elsewhere. But for hacking the holidays, sharing video in a dark room, group video gaming, and the occasional family movie night outdoors, I don’t think you can get this much fun for $50 in a projector this size.

So would I recommend this projector? Oh yeah! With Amazon’s generous return policy and the low cost to entry, I don’t think a purchase will be a wrong decision in the long run. Even if you don’t like it, pack it up and give it to the kids. They’ll surely enjoy it!

If you have a bit more budget, you might want to check out this next level up:

VANKYO Leisure 510 HD Movie Projector with 4200 Lux, Video Projector with 230” Projection Size, Support 1080P HDMI VGA AV USB with HDMI Cable and Carrying Bag

This make and model has a higher resolution and more lumens for about $160. I almost sprung for this one, but was lured to the low cost of the AuKing (i.e. I’m frugal!).

VANKYO Leisure 510 HD

Below are images of the item reviewed. Comments are below each image.

AuKing in box

AuKing projector prior to unboxing.


Cables

Includes all the cables you need and a remote (batteries not included).


Instruction manual

Functional, but don’t expect any details in this flimsy manual.


The projector and remote

The Auking projector and remote. The mouse is included in image to provide a size comparison.


Ports

Includes all the port you need to connect to most devices.


Stereo speakers

Includes 4 watt stereo speakers.


Front of projector

Good looking projector that includes both zoom and keystone adjustments.


On device controls

On device controls when the remote won’t function.


Demonstration projection

Sample of my first trial. Connected to a Fire TV stick in dark basement onto a blue wall.


Sample of pixels

A close up image of the pixelation.


Everything operating

Everything connected and operating.


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