If you’re in the market for a digital projector in 2022, you’ve got quite a bit to choose from. There are plenty of brands in the space and when it comes to price, there seems to be somewhat of a race to the bottom.
Hong Kong-based Jireno, after finding success with its CUBE4 crowdfunding campaign, now offers its portable projector to consumers for just $290. For another ten bucks, however, you can pick up a travel case to keep things nice and tidy.
The CUBE4 measures around 7.5″ x 7.5″ x 5″, or approximately the size of a personal lunch cooler. The dark grey aluminum housing has a smooth finish and modern aesthetic; it’s accented by an orange strap for carrying. At about five pounds, it has the weight and general portability I expected to see.
The Jireno CUBE4 comes with 16GB of built-in storage, for downloading and storing apps and files. The projector provides input options from USB Type-A, USB Type-C, and HDMI. These are great as they let users play video files or movies locally, without connecting to the internet.
Preloaded with Android TV, it streams content from a whole array of media sources such as Hulu, YouTube, HBO Max, and more. You can also connect via Bluetooth and use the CUBE4 as a wireless speaker.
I found things to be very easy to set up; it’s more or less a process of connecting to Wi-Fi and adding your Google credentials. It takes just a few minutes and the remote control makes it fairly intuitive and hassle-free, too.
The Jireno CUBE4 offers a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution with decoding support for 4K videos. That is to say it can take a 4K source and project it in full HD.
Screen size ranges from as small as 30-inches to as large as 200-inches which allows intimate and a party experiences. In my testing the images look incredible up to around 70-inches and then very good until you get to about 120-inches. Above that and I found it began to get a touch diluted.
Although the Jireno CUBE4 is billed as a portable projector, it does not feature a built-in or rechargeable battery. Unfortunately while it can go anywhere you want, you’ll need a power source such as an outlet or portable generator.
The Jireno CUBE4 houses a pair of 5-watt speakers with a total output of 10W. Jireno says its specialized diaphragms provide better resonation, with deeper bass and clearer treble. In my testing I found the speakers to be crisp and loud with enough oomph to fill a medium-sized room.
Sitting in the back yard, I did not have any issues with watching movies with my family. To be clear, I would recommend sitting closer to the unit if watching with a group of people and relying solely on the internal speaker. Otherwise, if your party is larger, or if you plan to “go big” you’ll want to use an external source. Similarly, spreading out on the deck might lead to a few missed lines.
There is a 3.5mm headphone jack or speaker plug if you’d like to plug in your own external sound. I enjoyed wearing earbuds and playing video games on a large screen of around 10 feet on my patio.
The lamp is rated at around 40,000 hours of playback which averages out to 22 years if you use it for about five hours per day. In other words, you shouldn’t have to worry about replacing it.
Equally impressive, the image is quite bright at its 500 ANSI lumens. You’re not running off of battery, remember, so you can dial this up as high as you need. White walls, sheets and projector screens look amazing with rich color spectrum.
Using the projector in lower lighting conditions or daylight won’t produce the same quality picture but it’s passable. The CUBE4, like most other portable projectors, work much better in darker environments or the cover of night.
I really like the size, overall quality, and ease of use for the Jireno CUBE4. I would love it if it had an internal power source. As it is, it works well in your living room, back yard, and patio. Were it also to work on the beach or in a parking lot it would be simply amazing.
Once I figured out what the power limitations were I came to appreciate the overall package. And, given it’s just $290, it’s an affordable alternative to TVs with a bit of added flexibility.
You can learn more about the CUBE4 at Jireno’s website where it’s available to purchase on its own. For ten dollars more ($300) you can snag a travel case; a $420 “Deluxe Bundle” option also tosses in a small mount and a projector screen up to 84-inches.