If you’ve ever considered buying a projector to live out your home theater fantasies, the thought has probably been quickly thwarted by basic logistics. Mounting a projector, routing cables, and finding a compatible surround sound system are all a pain.
Projector makers know this. In the past few years, we’ve seen a huge increase in what’s called “short throw projectors”—simpler, all-in-one systems that you typically place on a TV stand a few feet from the wall, rather than hanging them from your ceiling.
As long as you don’t want to watch Netflix, Hisense’s new PX1-Pro is among the best of the bunch. This beautiful 4K laser projector runs on Android and has a built-in Dolby Atmos soundbar, so you don’t need to worry about audio. Snag yourself a screen (and a Roku for Stranger Things), and you’re off to the races.
All for One
For a device that can project up to a 130-inch screen and fill your room with surround sound, the PX1 Pro is surprisingly svelte. It’s a rectangle about the height of any projector you’ve seen in schools and offices, 20 inches wide and 13 inches deep.
At 20 pounds, the sleek silver rectangle is easier to position than any TV. Just place it in front of your projection screen, level it using the adjustable feet on the bottom, and turn it on. Voilà! Movie time!
The PX1 Pro is a tri-chroma laser projector, which means it has distinct red, green, and blue lasers that bounce onto a mirror and then onto your screen from a close distance. This makes it super bright and means that it actually has some of the best color accuracy I’ve seen on any projector right out of the box. And don’t worry about blinding yourself! It detects when you get too close and will turn off the lasers. Sorry, Dr. Evil. You’re welcome, OSHA.
Its 2200 lumens of peak brightness means that you can technically use it during the day too. Like the vast majority of projectors that aren’t running in pitch-dark rooms, the image looks washed out when you do this, but the shorter throw distance makes it better than most.
Rounding out the spec sheet are 30 watts of built-in Dolby Atmos-enabled sound, providing more than enough volume for small to medium-sized rooms. You’ll probably want a more robust surround sound system or soundbar for “true” cinematic audio, though.
After you set the thing down and plug it in, just log into Wi-Fi and your various accounts on the built-in Android TV interface, and you’re good to go. One quirk? The version of Android that came with the PX1-Pro doesn’t have a compatible Netflix app. That is a large oversight for a … streaming projector. If I were living with this thing long-term, I’d just buy a Roku. This version of Android TV isn’t that bad, but Roku is still better, and it has all the apps in one place.
Using the projector with outside audio systems like the Platin Audio Monaco (8/10, WIRED Recommends) was a breeze, thanks to the included HDMI eARC (Audio Return Channel) port on the projector. With a single HDMI cable, I got improved audio. But you really don’t need to spring for a huge surround sound system if you just dropped all your bread on this projector. The included 30 watts of sound are actually pretty well-tuned, allowing for clear dialog and even some decent rumble down low.