If you’re trying to recreate the big screen movie experience at home, a projector is the only way to go. But while they’re much cheaper than any TVs approaching 100-inches in size, they’re by no means cheap, usually costing several thousands of dollars for a 4K picture and enough brightness to be used during the day. The new JMGO N1 Ultra could be a game-changer, however, because its $2,299 price tag will be slashed in half for its first 48 hours on Kickstarter.
Although projector makers like Epson, LG, and Samsung are well-established brands, in recent years it’s been smaller companies that have been innovating in this space, bringing powerful features and performance to projectors that are often competitively priced with TVs offering smaller picture sizes.
Anker, known in tech circles for its cables, chargers, and batteries, helped popularize compact portable projectors with its Nebula line, while the relatively unknown XGIMI sells a very capable HD projector with 800 lumens of brightness for $650. XGIMI’s also got a surprisingly powerful ultra-short-throw 4K projector with enough brightness (2,400 lumens) to create a picture over 12-feet in size for $2,500. For comparison, the Epson Pro Cinema 4K PRO-UHD LS12000 announced last year offers 2,700 lumens of brightness and a 4K picture for $5,000. It will certainly outperform hardware from smaller brands on a technical level, but most consumers would be quite happy with more affordable solutions, which also often include speakers and streaming capabilities built right in.
JMGO is probably also a brand that few people outside of home theater enthusiasts or hardware reviewers will recognize, but it has made a solid name for itself with projectors like the JMGO U2 4K ultra-short-throw laser projector that even Vincent Teoh from the YouTube channel HDTVTest was mostly impressed with, given its competitive price.
Easy Setup and No More Stress About Accidental Projector Bumps
JMGO’s latest projector is the new N1 Ultra (its full name is the JMGO N1 Ultra 4K Triple Color Laser Gimbal Projector), which not only brings with it some impressive performance specs, but a novel design that promises to make setup, even if users plan to frequently move it from room to room, incredibly easy.
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Instead of relying on an adjustable leg for positioning (or a stack of books crammed under it) the N1 Ultra’s design incorporates a gimbal, allowing the projector to be rotated 360-degrees and angled up or down, even to the point where it could project an image on a ceiling. The gimbal’s movements can’t be locked down, which means there’s always the chance someone could accidentally bump it and skew the projected image, but the N1 Ultra compensates for that with intelligent automatic display correction. This ensures that, in a matter of seconds, the projected image is properly aligned and level again. Manual adjustment controls are also available through the N1 Ultra’s Android TV 11 interface, should users want to override any adjustments made automatically.
A Compact Projector You Can Actually Use As a TV
Yes, you can buy a projector for $300, but if it only offers 100 lumens of brightness, the only place you’re going to be able to see i large projected image is in a dark, windowless room with all the lights off. If you’re looking for a projector to replace a TV you can watch all day long in a room with windows where ambient light will always leak in, you need more brightness.
That’s where the new JMGO N1 Ultra really shines—pun intended. It’s roughly the same size as the 2,200 lumen XGIMI Horizon Pro, but promises a full 4,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, which also uses a newly developed “MALC Triple Color Laser Optics” engine. So you’re not only getting a lot of brightness in a compact projector, but one that doesn’t produce as much heat as a projector using a bulb, so it should run quieter with less demands on a cooling fan.
JMGO promises a 1,600:1 contrast ratio (presumably with an optimized, highly reflective screen, and not just a painted wall) which means that while this projector will be very useable in the day, don’t expect darker parts of an image to be as dark as they are on something like an OLED TV. With a projector, you’re still sacrificing some image quality for picture size, but when used in the day, the N1 Ultra should produce more saturated colors than projectors boasting less lumens, at resolutions up to true 4K: 3,840 x 2,160.
The N1 Ultra is also an all-in-one projector. So in addition to users being able to access popular streaming services through Android TV without a separate device, it also includes a pair of 10W speakers. If you intend to use the projector for movie night, pairing the N1 Ultra with a sound bar below the screen will certainly provide a better audio experience, but 20W of speaker is certainly enough to fill a room with sound.
The Kickstarter Gamble
It’s been over 15 years since amateur inventors and small companies have been using crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to help get their creations funded, produced, and into the hands of consumers. And 15 years later, there is still plenty of risk attached to backing crowdfunded products. There’s good reason to be hesitant, as countless crowdfunded products have failed to deliver anything to backers over the years, instead asking them for hundreds of dollars they’ll never see again.
As it did with its U2 projector, JMGO is opting for a crowdfunding launch for the N1 Ultra, and is once again trying to entice backers to pre-order the new projector through Kickstarter with a very aggressive promotion. The standard pricing for the N1 Ultra is expected to be $2,299, but during the first 48 hours of the Kickstarter, which launched today, the projector will be sold for over half that price, at $1,099. When the Anker Nebula Cosmos 4K laser projector debuted a year ago, it promised just 2,400 lumens for $2,200.
JMGO successfully delivered its crowdfunded U2 projector to everyone who backed it, even after some drama that saw the company switch from Kickstarter to Indiegogo. So this isn’t a group of college friends trying to get their first product off the ground. It’s a well established company, and as far as risk goes, this is probably one of the safer Kickstarters to back. But there are never guarantees with crowdfunded products, so keep that in the back of your mind if you decide to back this one to take advantage of that launch promotion.