Unveiled during the Xiaomi MIJIA Annual Conference in Beijing, the Xiaomi Mi Projector joins an impressive list of Best Smart Projectors under $1,500 poised to launch this year. Already available as of July 4th (2017) in China, the affordable, short-throw projector uses the double threat of DLP technology with an ALPD 3.0 light source display. The end result: a 150-inch cinema-quality home entertainment experience.

Xiaomi’s Affordable Short-Throw

Xiaomi Mi Laser ProjectorPriced at 999 yuan, the Mi Projector has a maximum brightness of 5,000 lumens and a static contrast of 3,000:1. For comparison purposes, the LG ProBeam HF80JA priced at $1,499 in the U.S. uses the same DLP technology and touts a brightness of 2,000 Lumens and a contrast ratio of 150,000:1.

Equipped with a built-in speaker, 3 HDMI ports (one of them supporting ARC; aka, 7.1 surround-sound compatible), one USB 3.0, and a network port, the Xiaomi Mi projector is a consumer-friendly projector that can literally transform your home entertainment experience overnight.

ALDP Light Source Technology

Xiaomi Mi Laser ProjectorCapable of running for 25,000 hours straight (equivalent to 34 years running at 2 hours per day) before needing a replacement motherboard/laser, this means longevity is not an issue – it’s just a matter of whether or not you’re ok with a 1080p resolution for the next three decades.

The technology is downright impressive and when Xiaomi claims that its all-new laser projector has a cinema-quality spread, they actually mean it. The Mi projector’s ALPD 3.0 laser display is the same technology used in all cinemas across China. The state-of-the-art light source technology enhances intensity, contrast, and brightness of the image. According to Xiaomi Today, here are the three major benefits of ALPD 3.0:

1. The color reproduction is more accurate due to a higher proportion of red as well as a greater color gamut;

2. The brightness and contrast are improved;

3. The light source life is improved.

Xiaomi’s DLP Technology

Xiaomi Mi Laser ProjectorThe ALPD 3.0 light source, when combined with DLP technology, turns the Mi Projector into high-quality TV experience that rivals most $3,000+ laser projectors. According to Xiaomi Today, in DLP technology, “the final image is created by microscopically small mirrors laid out in a DMD chip. The number of mirrors corresponds to the resolution of the projector’s image.”

The benefit of having a projector over a flat screen TV comes down to one major feature: portability. But like most laser projectors, you do lose some ground with image quality when compared to its flat screen counterpart. Upon purchase of the Xiaomi Mi projector, you are locking yourself into a 1080p resolution. It’s something to consider if you’re on the fence between a $1500 flat screen and a $1,500 projector.

Laser Projector vs. Flat Screen TV

With that being said, the 16.1 x 11.5 x 3.9 inch (410 x 291 x 88 mm) Mi projector can be easily picked up and brought over to neighbors for movie night. You just need to make sure the lens is 20″ (50 cm) away from the wall in order to project the max 150-inch diagonal image. If it’s flush against the wall, it’ll still throw a 50″ spread on the wall but why not take advantage of the movie-like experience if It’s available.

After its release in China, it’s just a matter of “when” before the Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector hits U.S. stores. The Mi will be joining an impressive list of high-quality affordable projector screens that include the Sony LSPX-P1, the LG ProBeam HF80JA, the BenQ HT3050, the Viewsonic PRO7827HD, and the Optoma HD142X.

Sources: New Atlas, Xiaomi Today