Review: Asus ZenBeam E1

Pocket cinema for the trip

The Asus ZenBeam E1 is no bigger than an old-fashioned Walkman, and it does for the home cinema what the portable cassette player once did for the stereo system.

Karakter
Asus ZenBeam E1
We think
Ultra-portable projector that can show movies and slideshows anywhere. Add an HDMI source and a white wall and you're up and running.
There really is not much brightness in it. And you miss the possibility of playback via Miracast or USB / SD media.
Specifications
  • Brightness / Contrast: 150 Lumens / 3,500: 1
  • Resolution: 854 x 480
  • Image size: 16-120 “(0.49-3.72 m)
  • Throw ratio: 1.4
  • Inputs: HDMI / MHL
  • Sound: 2 w speaker, headphone output
  • Wireless: no
  • Battery life: 5 h (at 50 Lumens)
  • Dimensions and weight: 110 x 29 x 83 mm / 307 g
  • Web: asus.com
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ZenBeam E1 comes in a simple and functional aluminum case, in a size that in a bygone era would have suited a Walkman. A sliding lid protects the lens, and along the sides there are holes for ventilation. The battery gives you up to five hours of portable home theater, with no cable other than the one from the player.

The connection is simple. There is a simple HDM input, and beyond that you will find only 3.5 mm headphone jack, power connection and a USB port for charging. In other words, it is exactly what is needed. But it would have increased the possibilities drastically if you had also been able to play movies from SD cards or USB media. Not to mention wireless playback from Android devices via Miracast.

Performance

The brightness is E1’s Achilles heel. Even in a darkened living room late at night, the picture seems a bit dull. The projector provides a maximum brightness of 150 lumens. That is roughly equivalent to a 15 watt light bulb. And it is noticeable when it is running at full pressure. In Eco mode, where the battery life is stated at five hours, the brightness drops to 50 lumens. The resolution is also limited. The projector accepts Full HD signals, but has only a physical resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. That is barely a quarter of Full HD.

The built-in speaker is inherently very small, but delivers surprisingly powerful and good sound. As a portable giant TV with Internet TV from the PC, you can easily follow the program. It was even necessary to turn down the volume.

Conclusion

Asus ZenBeam E1 is a projector, which by virtue of its size can come in places where few others have been before it. It has its limitations in both image quality and features, but it is still a charming little guy! During working hours, it takes up almost no space in the bag when you are giving a presentation. And during the holidays, it can act as a big screen in the hotel room, in the cabin or at the campsite. If only one could shrink the PC accordingly, the world would be perfect.

Photo: Asus

Also in this test

Philips PicoPix PPX5110

Entry ticket to mini projectors

Philips PicoPix PPX5110 super-compact mini projector can stream video wirelessly directly from your smartphone.

The projector is very light and compact, with powerful enough sound to work in many situations. Low mechanical noise.
Low brightness requires a dark room, and the image should be kept below 60 ". The colors seem supersaturated, with clear reddish faces.

Asus S1

Well-chosen compromise

Asus S1 has only one goal in mind: to provide the best picture quality for the money from a very compact format.

Good brightness and short throw distance make the projector usable in many contexts. Here you get a lot for your money!
The black level is limited, and what you get out of this resolution is limited. HDMI is the only connection.

Philips PicoPix PPX3417W

Many tricks up its sleeve

Whether you want to watch video from your mobile, PC, memory card or USB - or even wirelessly - Philips PicoPix PPX3417W is a projector you can count on.

Most formats are supported and battery life is ok. The image quality is good, with enough brightness for most things.
The projection distance is very long, with only 24 inch image from one meter. Lots of noise from fan and color wheels.

Philips PicoPix PPX4835

Just good on paper

We were expecting more from Philips PicoPix PPX4835, especially at this price.

Good brightness is combined with high pixel resolution, and with the ability to project fairly large images.
The image is never completely sharp, and the whole thing becomes quite flat and lifeless. Color banding is also a problem, and the fan is a bit noisy.

BenQ GS1

Watch movies wherever you want

BenQ GS1 is a Columbi egg of a projector, which makes it possible to take the great movie experiences out into the world.

Takes up less space than even a small TV, but provides a great image with a short projector distance. Can play directly from USB key or Android mobile, thanks to built-in Android media player.
It costs like a full-fledged projector. It is not possible to play all types of movies, and a mouse and keyboard are often required. The brightness is limited - but hey, it can run for three hours on batteries!

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