My PicoPix Max 10-Day Review

Hello all! Long post warning. I received my PicoPix Max 10 days ago and figure it’s time to write up my thoughts in one place :slight_smile: I’ll start with some background before getting into it and attaching some photos. I’ve used only Software Version 1.0.25. Feel free to reply with questions, though I already spent a lot of time on this forum and might not have much more to add.

my quick background

I’ve yet to own a TV, have vastly preferred projection since I got my first 720p ‘Epson Home Cinema’ 10 years ago. I just recently sold both my Epsons to move abroad, and super conveniently my PicoPix Max arrived mere hours before I left for the airport! My media lifestyle in Berlin is basically being defined by the PPM thanks to its portability.

my quick takes

The single best aspect of the Max is the fact that it throws video like a moderately priced home theater projector while being as portable as an Android tablet. I’ve been using almost entirely Energy Saver brightness mode and haven’t had problems at that level. if you never plan on moving PicoPix Max outside of your Home Theater, maybe you’d be better off with a classic wall powered projector.

Realistically, I haven’t noticed any raw projection issues that weren’t something the Epson projectors also had. For example, a dark gray outline shape when viewed in a dark room. Welcome to consumer projectors. If you want great contrast, get an OLED TV. :man_shrugging:

The single worst aspect is the current state of the software. Holy crap, I could just enumerate crappy points of the OS. A couple:

  1. Please give us battery percentage!!
  2. did you notice it always boots in 2016, then tries switching to Internet real time? why??
  3. The system menus are too complex. For example, changing to “Ceiling Front” projection from a fresh boot takes: Up, Ok, Ok, Down, Right, Ok, Down, Down, Ok, Down, Down, Ok, Back, Back, Back. 15 Button Presses to change mount location on a portable projector. Changing input requires similar, which hurts because leaving an input is the best way to autofocus, and you need to dig in to go back to where you were. We need a faster access to common options.
  4. Something’s funky about the configured display density in Android. Third party apps display text and such much too small. This should be enlarged, but also ideally configurable :pray:

Supposedly the software is nowhere near finished, so hopefully I can come back and edit the list over time.

We didn’t get Android TV. We aren’t on the latest Android. It doesn’t seem we’ll ever get Android TV or a newer Android. And we don’t have Google certification.
:arrow_forward: This is not latest Android on peak performance, this is general purpose Android being modified to support the exact needs of the product.

positive ranting & raving

  1. Autofocus is a neat trick. I appreciate being able to press ‘focus’ on a remote instead of getting up and adjusting the focus ring while squinting at the wall. It’s not 100% reliable but easy enough to rerun.
  2. Battery life has been excellent. In testing, Energy Saver with HDMI input, I reached 4h 40m. Realistically I frequently run with power connected and also charge Max overnight, so I haven’t had it die on me yet.
  3. USB-C Charging means big flexibility in powering Max. I have multiple chargers to top up the battery, and I can also efficiently power Max away from a wall socket using USB-C batteries. This is most useful when you consider that Max becomes notably brighter without increasing fan noise when you apply input power.
  4. Bluetooth Audio outperformed all my expectations. I forgot that Android adjusts video playback for latency. I paired Max to a 5-year-old Bluetooth speaker and holy crap, 100% cable-free playback with good video and solid sound. Wow.
  5. Headphone Jack is still welcomed. My previous Epson projectors never included audio out, so it was up to me to get the audio some other way. Now I can cable the audio easily enough.
  6. The built-in speaker is surprisingly usable. Obviously not great for movie dialogue, but when playing Switch games I’ve been most satisfied just using onboard sound at about 35% volume. (This is important since Max won’t send external input audio to Bluetooth :confused:)
  7. Quick power-on, no need for warm-up, ready to go after the boot screen. Shuts down quickly too. Not quite instant but it’s fast.
  8. The wireless network connection has been on great behavior. No buffering, random disconnections, or weak signal problems. This is using the ISP’s wireless modem/router combo.
  9. USB-C Input has proven to be quite flexible. For example, Nintendo Switch will natively ‘dock’ to PicoPix Max. More on that later.
  10. Three different lamp brightness options. I’m used to 2 (Normal, Eco) and 3 is nice flexibility even though fan noise becomes real on Presentation.
  11. Gaming-acceptable latency on the video inputs (I’m told 36ms) is always good to have. Haven’t felt any lag playing Smash Bros or Super Hexagon.

some papercuts & glitches

The UI isn’t the only negative, so I’ll try ignoring the current terrible UI for a minute.

  1. The tripod mount is pretty wonky. The screw receiver sticks out instead of being sunk in, so it’s pretty shallow and doesn’t make proper contact. Noted previously: Design issues with tripod mount, and other minor issues
  2. I’d love to see more buttons on the projector. Ignoring the touchpad, I should be able to quickly pull up Picture settings to adjust the projection options directly from the unit. And ideally with physical buttons though I suppose that’s a design choice.
  3. Sometimes, the picture starts briefly freezing, showing pixelation for a handful of frames. I’m not entirely sure what causes this. Screeneo has claimed it’s from autokeystone. This hasn’t happened enough to be a problem yet.
  4. Less frequently, and I think particularly at higher brightness, the picture momentarily blanks and comes back at a slightly different color, then momentarily blanks again and comes back normally. I’ve been meaning to get this on camera but it’s even more rare.
  5. Sometimes bluetooth doesn’t fully set up automatically and I have to manually connect the speaker. If I turn on the projector before my bluetooth speaker this is more likely.
  6. Why is Autofocus sharing space with the volume rocker on the remote? Seems like that’s where the mute button should be instead. I don’t want to accidentally refocus when turning up a good part.
  7. A couple times, the volume adjusted on its own?? ghost touches on the touchpad maybe?
  8. A companion mobile remote app would be nice. In particular, to type into textboxes and switch apps. I hope we’ll see something eventually.
  9. It’s pretty dumb that the included tripod cannot properly point PicoPix Max at a ceiling. I’ve substituted my own tabletop tripod in this review.

practical usecases so far

Ok, this is my favorite part. As mentioned, PicoPix Max is the only projector I have right now, and effectively the only screen above 20" in my flat. So I’ve taken the flexibility to heart.


Primarily the living room, of course! I can get a nice big picture putting Max behind the couch, shown below. Other times I put it on the coffee table for a smaller, brighter, more stable picture. Depends on the context.

When it’s time for some late night Smash, I toss Max onto my old tripod, set Ceiling projection and point it up 90° from the bedside table. For gaming at this distance I also often attach a charger to get the extra brightness. Photo of my third party tripod pointed up:

Another recurring location is at my desk, as I have yet to purchase a proper computer monitor. Here the largest annoyance is getting everything into focus. It’s easy to focus the center, but text in corners is often still blurry. Also just in general it’s awkward to position a projector at a desk haha! Photo from when I was testing HDMI battery life.

I’m still experimenting with more locations. For example, using my kitchen wall to catch up on news while eating breakfast. I think the next big step is taking Max on the go, where wall power is actually not available. This would’ve happened already if I wasn’t newly in a foreign country haha

I’ve been living mostly within two Android apps. Both of these apps always play smoothly without buffering. I hear bad things about the other DRM-heavy apps, so your mileage may vary. My biggest problem is the display density - all the UI is too small! :mag::frowning:

  • S YouTube gives me Internet videos. I immediately logged in with Youtube Premium easily enough. Finding specific videos with the remote is a pain, so I found it easiest to pair our phones via “TV Code” so me and the gf can take turns queueing videos from proper touchscreens.
  • Plex gives me TV and movies. I have access to a decked out Plex server so this works well for me. I installed the mobile app from Aptoide and activated the TV UI.
    One particularly cool aspect here is my Plex server has access to an HDHomeRun TV tuner. So I can also stream actual American TV from a live guide:

Outside of Android video: Gaming! See Nintendo Switch without a dock :)
This was perfect since I left my Switch Dock in the US. I was totally expecting to be unable to dock it for ages.

(Sadly, the battery situation isn’t great doing this - Max charges Switch at only 7.5 watts, so Max dies sooner from sharing battery power, but Switch also doesn’t get enough power to sustain itself and will eventually die without the proper dock. You can feed Max power to keep it going, but once Switch dies you need to take a break to charge it up.)

The most important accessory for TV watching is a speaker. I’ve been using a Sony SRS-X77, released in 2015 and with battery life on-par with Max. Works a treat over Bluetooth. If I’m watching videos, I’m using this speaker.

Another important accessory is power adapters. Again, you get extra brightness without increased fan noise by supplying USB-C power. Some people have found chargers that Max won’t accept, I’ve been more fortunate :grinning: As far as batteries I’m using a LifePowr A3, also from Indiegogo, which is actually the same size as Max. I estimate it can adds up to 6 hours to Max.

in conclusion

Look, this project is ultimately an overgrown pico projector.

They took a niche projector market that has always been dim and clunky, and scaled it back up towards normal consumer projectors. I really respect the fact that I can take this thing wherever. It’s a lot of flexibility and I love my projector even with the current crappy software. You can have just the projector and be watching Youtube. You can add better sound a couple ways, you can add a tripod to point it more freely. You can plug in a game console. You decide.

Once the software is more ready I will be recommending these to people who want to try out the projector lifestyle.

However, there are compromises - fundamental lack of a proper On-Screen Display, and heavy bias towards Android content, to name a couple. Ultimately, if you want a full featured home cinema, there are better options that do not include a battery.


Great review, thanks! I’m looking forward to the day I can experience this all for myself!

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I looked at the link that you give for a normal home cinema projector. However it is twice the height of the PPM - with its 1.87 inches in height I can’t find anyting to go with since I need really narrow projector to fit in my double ceiling with a small lift ( I don’t want to see it when I’m not using it). I don’t think I’ll use it much as portable although on what I read from you it seems it is really nice as such. So since I read twice that you do not recomend it as home cinema device - why do you say that? What are the main disadvanteges compared to the dedicated non-battery projectors that you’ve seen? Appart from luminocity I guess, although as far as I can see on your pictures the luminocity is far enough. Probably the contrast is not as great as some bigger and more expensive projectors but is that really going to ruin watching movies or is somthing that I will be able to get along with?

Is the ppm in energy saving mode in the photos?

That’s a good question! Honestly this projector seems to be brighter than my original Epson Home Cinema 705HD. The picture quality has been quite good for my casual-consumer standards. I’ll let others with proper tools measure contrast. Even the projector I linked will likely be hard to see if you’re watching a dark scene with sunlight streaming into the room.

So basically I view a home theater as a collection of components (projector/TV, receiver/amplifier, speakers, universal remote, media sources) assembled into a system, while PicoPix Max is already a self contained system. Starting with just a PicoPix Max and building up to a proper home theater over time can make sense to me. I won’t say that’s a bad idea and presumably you’re a backer already and in your case the physical profile of this Pico projector matches your size constraint. Sounds like a plan.

It’s just that, at some point along the line I’d see myself wanting to swap the pico projector out for a “proper” one.
Here’s a rough outline of why I would still prefer a full-size projector for my own living room:

  1. Normal consumer projectors include an On Screen Display which can be accessed at any point over top of the content and is often quite dense. This display includes quick access to color and image settings & input signal specifications (resolution, frequency, etc). It’s not clear if/how PicoPix Max will gain this functionality, and my understanding is PicoPix Max will never be capable of displaying a menu over top of HDMI content, due to hardware limitation.

    This is specific to PicoPix Max and maybe will get better over time, and/or completely solved in a later v2.
  2. Classic projectors do not include a battery to fail of old age. Instead they have lamp units which burn out, and are easily replaceable, Epson bulbs often costing under <$50. Pico projectors should last longer since it doesn’t have the same kind of “bulb”, but you’re depending more on the warranty since it’s more complex, smaller, and not as user-serviceable.
  3. If you are installing a proper home theater, odds are you are going to have an A/V Receiver running the surround sound and switching between HDMI inputs for Bluray, Roku, Game console, etc. In this case, the projector including Android is not going to be useful, and will probably just get in your way. This is similar to why home theater people often don’t want a Smart TV. Home Cinema projectors often are not “smart” and just take a signal to put on your screen.
    Note: If you plan on using PicoPix Max’s Android for most of your content, and using Bluetooth or Headphone Jack for sound, this point doesn’t matter.
  4. A larger projector should have less fan noise in general, due to the fan just being physically larger.

Nothing crazy and I wish you luck on your PPM adventure :slight_smile:


Thank you very much for the write up. Great job! Fair review. Thanks.

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Yes, all of my photos are in “Energy Saver” mode, and all except the last photo are running on Battery Power as well. Thus most photos are at the lowest possible LED brightness. (this is different than the “Color Adjustment” brightness. I haven’t actually used the Color Adjustment menu yet. I am using defaults)

Also note that none of my photos involve real sunlight. It’s a very cloudy week (month?) here in Berlin. I have definitely bumped up to “Normal” mode more than once while operating by an open window.

Thanks a lot for your thoughts. My main usage will be internal so HDMI issues are not much of a pain (at least at this point). They have promised Sonos support (that I hope they’ll keep) so Android on board makes sense in this case for me not only for content and portability but for wireless connection to my surround Sonos system. As for the battery - they said that there will be a bypass function (but now I see that there isn’t and probably won’t be so this is a promise not kept). This is going to be my first projector so I’m not much in this by now but why would I need so much those on screen display settings (I see only this as a minus to my use case)?

P.S. The place that I can put a small projector with the size of PPM is actually the perfect spot for a projector with throw ratio 1.2 to have 120inch screen size (I can’t have any bigger than this anyway in that room) so even if I decide to put something in the HDMI port the only downside will be lack of bluetooth but as I said I’m using Sonos so no bluetooth speakers at my home at all. Won’t be able to use Sonos as well from inside the projector but my Sonos Beam has HDMI input so a simple HDMI spliter will do the job. At least that’s the plan :slight_smile:

Hi @danopia, great review and thanks for your impressions! I added them already to the big review topic :slight_smile:

One question though, from the professional review from PHC blog, it appears that the contrast on the projector is quite low. Is that something you have noticed? Particular in movies where there is a lot of black/dark scenes (sci-fi for example) :slight_smile:

Thanks again!


Wow, the like button is small for the effort you’ve put in writing this extensive review. Thank you!

@Sirolf since you’re the headmaster of this topic PicoPix Max Reviews (I don’t want to edit it), can you please add a link to the review? Thanks.



Way ahead of you, already done 10 seconds after is was online :wink:


I’m not at all surprised! I’m sure I could run into this problem by watching dark scenes during the daytime or with lights on in the room. I know this because I had the same problem with my two “proper” Home Cinema projectors. I very clearly remember us desperately sealing a patio door with various blankets every time my friends wanted to watch Handmaid’s Tale a couple years back.

Honestly, if you’re trying to watch dark content with other lights (windows, lamps) in the room, I’d recommend an OLED TV. I’m curious what the price point is like on a projector that can handle actual high contrast, just so I know haha

That being said I think you would be ok if the room is actually dark. I haven’t tried it personally. This review is biased towards my own media habits - Youtube, Switch games, variety TV and the like. I believe other reviews go more into picture technicals as you mention.


Sounds like a good plan for a small scale home Theater :slight_smile: I’ve used HDMI extraction boxes for my previous projector installations, they do the job pretty well. Usually my remaining struggle would be switching between HDMI inputs, and figuring out how to play unrelated music over a video/game. Sonos should probably even cover that last one for you! (I ended up with a Minimixer combining Chromecast Audio with the extracted HDMI audio, which worked suprisingly well tbh)

I reviewed my post and realized at least one of the sentences saying when not to buy a PPM were copied from an earlier shorter review I wrote on a totally different forum. As this community is for backers I’ve edited the phrasing somewhat. Cheers!

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Still don’t get what you mean by “small scale home theater” :slight_smile: 120 inch isn’t small for a home theater I think (could be wrong though) and with fully featured (and very strong btw) surround sound and a proper screen (recessed 120 tab-tensioned is the plan for now) I think it should be quite good. However you are not the first one to degrade my enthusiasm :slight_smile: hope that my plan will come out as in my head and will give me good entertainment moments.

BTW Part of the plan is to include the recessed screen, projector lift and the window’s motorised shades in my smarthome system for full automation. I already have a scene in my Alexa than I can trigger with my voice through Sonos Beam called “Cinema”. For now it only turns off the main lights and turns on hidden led strip light in the double ceiling for a cinematic feeling in the room. So if plan goes well this same scene will lower the projector’s lift, the screen and the shades on the window. However if that doesn’t bring me good enough picture I’ll really regret giving so much money for the setup - recessed screen and the lift are not cheap and won’t be able to use them at all if PPM fails.

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As long as you don’t get a defective unit and the room is dark, this would be a better theater setup than I ever had! I’ve literally always just used bare walls for the past 10 years. Can’t imagine the picture looking bad.

Looking forward to hearing your feelings once you have your PPM delivered and plugged in.

BTW, if you want Alexa to turn the projector on for you too, I believe you’ll have to use something like Logitech Harmony to send the IR remote signal. There’s always more to invest in in home theater.

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Thanks for the review, well done !

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I already have an IR sender attached to my smarthome - really convinient when for example I want to switch the channel on the TV from bathroom only through voice :slight_smile: Thanks again for your posts here, really helpfull.

Great review. I’ve just received my PPM and have been doing a quick comparison between my Anker Mars and my new PPM. I’m underwhelmed by the picture quality and brightness.

I’ve had my Anker Mars for two years and love watching films outside with it, however it’s a bit bulky and not bright enough to watch anything until Dusk. This is where the PPM purchase comes in, the PPM is rated 850 ANSI Color Lumens the Anker Mars is 300 ANSI Lumens so was expecting a lot in the area. The side by side comparison shows the Anker Mars is actually brighter! Moreover, the picture (aliasing) is much smoother. I would be interested to hear a response from one of the Philips Reps on this

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Wonder if you actually switched PPM to Presentation mode in order to get those 850 ANSI lumens?

I tried this mode and the Anker Mars was still brighter :slightly_frowning_face: