Call it COVID lockdown or just looking for something new to perk up life during a pandemic, but I purchased a mini projector. Specifically, the TOUMEI mini projector (Amazon affiliate link). Why a mini projector? With so many sources of entertainment being closed as a result of COVID, I figured, why not create my own movie theatre or drive-in. When you stop to think of it, a mini projector is a great source of entertainment on several levels.
Why the TOUMEI Mini Projector
Not having much experience with mini projectors, my requirements were few. I wanted something small enough to carry around if necessary, energy-efficient enough to run on a Jackery (Amazon affiliate link) portable generator and versatile enough to connect with a PlayStation 4. The TOUMEI does all of that very well. There were smaller mini projectors; small enough to fit in a back pocket, but some lacked certain features.
Here’s what attracted me to the TOUMEI
- PS4 compatibility
- Compact size
- The fact that it came with everything, stand, HDMI cable and remote control (without batteries)
- Fire TV Stick compatibility
- 2 USB ports and headset jack
- Bluetooth and wifi connectivity.
- 4K compatible
- 3D compatible
- 36 watts of power to run (great for portable generator – Jackery)
What you Get
The box comes with the mini projector, tripod, power cord, remote control, instruction booklet and HDMI cable. While the packaging looks like it should have included 2 AAA batteries for the remote, they were not included in the box I received.
The projector itself weighs 3.2 pounds and dimensions are 7” by 7” and 1.5” thick. Small enough and light enough to fit in a backpack. It takes up much less space than any television I’ve owned but yields a much larger picture display.
Media Input Ports
There are plenty of ways to get media to display through this mini projector. It is equipped with 2 USB ports, 1 HDMI and 1 line in for headphones or speakers. It’s also Bluetooth and wifi compatible which adds a whole other level of connectivity.
What this device does not have, however, is an SD or mini SD card slot. Fortunately, that missing input port is easy to resolve. Looking to patch the missing port, I purchased an Anker USB 3.0 card reader (Amazon affiliate link). The Anker reads both SD and mini SD cards. Since the projector has 2 USB slots, I’ll convert one slot into an SD card reader.
Setting Up the Projector
Setup is simple. Insert batteries into the remote. Attach the tripod to the projector. Attach the power cord and plug it into an electric source. (it runs between 35 and 45 watts while on) and turn it on. You have the option of using the remote control or the On/Off button on the projector itself. The projector has the same functions as the remote except for the 3D cube and the menu settings shortcut button.
Working with the TOUMEI Mini Projector
It takes a second or two before the projector turns on, and when it does you‘ll first see the Android Smart Projector screen, then the TOUMEI splash screen. If you’re like me, you’re going to want to turn the sound off of the boot-up splash screen. I find it to be quite loud and annoying.
To turn off the splash screen sound go into Settings – Boot Sound – switch it from On to Off. For me, it took a couple of On/Off sessions before the Boot screen quieted down. Now that you’ve got it running, you’re ready to go.
The Home Screen
As you can see from the image above, the left-hand side of the screen shows options for Airplay and Miracast. This allows you to cast from an Apple or Android device. The HDMI port connects devices such as gaming consoles, Amazon Fire Sticks, cable boxes, computer screens and more. Chromecast is not supported.
Note: I haven’t tried connecting to the cable box or computer screen yet. I will update when I have.
Along the bottom of the Home screen are customizable icons. For example, this shot shows Settings, User Manual (which is available in Chinese, English, Japanese, French, German, Italian and Spanish), Local IMM, Google Play, File Explorer and Disney +. (Disney + is not one of the factory-installed applications. I downloaded and installed it and placed the icon on the Home screen).
In the main section of the screen are large icons for App Store, YouTube, Netflix and Apps. By selecting the Apps button, you’ll see the additional apps installed on the device. The device comes with Prime Video, iMirror, WPS Projector, Kodi, MX Player, Chrome and a couple of other apps. I deleted those that I didn’t want.
Deleting apps is simple. Just navigate over to the unwanted app, long-press the OK button on the remote. This will bring up a message asking if you wish to delete the app. Click OK and the app is deleted.
To install new apps, visit Google Play, and select the desired app.
FYI: You won’t be able to move the cursor over to either the Search bar or the menu options on the left-hand side of the Google Play screen unless you attach either a keyboard or a mouse. The TOUMEI remote just won’t do it. Fortunately, with the USB options, it’s easy to attach a mouse to search for and select your desired app.
Warning: You might be tempted to update apps to the latest version. I found out through experience that the Netflix app installed on the projector is the version that will work on the projector. Mistakenly, I upgraded to the latest Netflix version and received a notification that the updated app is not compatible with the projector. I had to revert to the factory-installed version for it to function.
Testing the Various Ports
This projector works well with the Amazon Fire TV stick. The display is nice and clear. Just remember to control the Fire Stick with the Fire Stick remote and not the projector remote. I rubber banded them together so I’ll always have the correct remote in my hand when I wanted to change things.
I connected the PS4 console and it worked beautifully. It’s pretty interesting seeing the games on such a large screen.
The USB keyboard and USB mouse work perfectly with it. Almost like having a portable computer
USB SD Card Adapter:
I was able to access the movies on the SD card and they played just fine. The display was clear without a lag.
With the adapter, I was able to transfer movies from the SD card to the Internal Storage Movie folder on the projector. Doing so allows me to show movies to my grandkids when I don’t have an internet connection. This works well when camping.
Transferring files is simple. Just access File Explorer and navigate to the folder where the movies reside. Highlight the movie and press the Menu button on the remote. It will bring up menu options of Copy, Cut, Delete, New and Rename. Next, navigate over to the destination folder and press the Menu button again. This time the option of Paste displays at the top of the menu list. The transfer process is quick and easy.
I did run into a minor glitch, however. I was about to transfer the last of 8 movies to the projector. As I had done before, I navigated over to the projector’s Movie folder in which I placed the other 7 movies and was met with a message “no content available” Huh? Wait a minute! I just transferred 7 movies, how can they not be there. So, I went back to the SD card from which I was transferring the movies and received the same message. I rebooted the device and resolved the issue. Just a minor glitch.
Adjusting Picture and Sound
Let me first say the built-in speaker is clear and loud enough to handle pretty much any situation. Having said that, it does lack the depth of the sound of higher-end speakers. In my case, I connect the Bose mini sound speaker for a better experience.
You can tweak the sound by pressing the “Acoustic Pattern” button on the remote (aka Sound button). Doing so displays the Sound menu options on the lower right-hand side of the screen.
There are customizable pre-set audio modes. The modes are standard, music, movie, sports, and user (user-defined). You can tweak each to your liking.
If the picture is too blurry, you can clear it up by pressing either the two Focus buttons (F+ or F-) located on the remote or the top of the projector. In addition to focusing there are a host of picture options. Pressing the Menu button displays the picture options in the middle of the screen. There you can scroll back and forth to see the 8 or so pages to configure your picture.
In the cluster of configuration screens, are settings such as subtitles, contrast, brightness, 3D conversion and much more. With these options, you should be able to fine-tune the picture to your liking. It will take some experimentation for those who are up to the challenge.
Note: It would have been nice if the picture menu options were displayed on the lower-left hand corner of the screen instead of smack dab in the middle. This way it would leave the main screen unencumbered so you can immediately see how finagling with the configuration affects the picture.
Additional Features and Comments
- Amazon Prime: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you have the option to download certain Amazon videos for later viewing. This comes in handy when you’re out of internet range.
- Bluetooth: Connecting via Bluetooth is easy and painless. Navigate to Bluetooth from the Settings menu. Make your Bluetooth device discoverable and the projector will find it. All that’s left is to confirm and pair. I easily attached a Bose speaker and wireless keyboard.
- 3D: This projector is 3D compatible. Realizing this I purchased a batch of cheap 3D glasses. Maybe I don’t know enough about 3D, but I couldn’t get it to work properly. TOUMEI provides a sample 3D movie (3D-Delicious_Fight.mp4). You can find the sample by going to Internal Storage from the Settings menu. Once there you’ll find a folder labeled 3d_video. I’ll have to play around with it a little more to understand how to make it work properly.
- Tripod: The tripod itself functions well. The problem is the tripod insertion hole on the bottom of the projector is not directly in the center of the device. I’m sure it’s off-center because of the way important internal components are arranged. However, the off-centered mount causes the projector to tilt. The weight isn’t evenly distributed. It’s an easy fix. I place one or two thin books under one leg of the tripod and the picture straightens up.
- Sleep Timer: Having a sleep timer is a nice touch. No sense in having the projector on all night after everyone has fallen asleep on the movie. The sleep timer allows for 10, 20, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180 and 240-minute shut-offs.
I think the TOUMEI mini projector is an A1 device. The tripod issue is a minor one. The only other feature I would like is some sort of space indicator. I’d like to know how much of the 32GB of internal space I have remaining. This is not a big deal and most people probably don’t care since there are so many external media options, but I’d like to know.
The more I play around with this device, I’m only sorry I didn’t discover the TOUMEI mini projector (Amazon affiliate link) sooner. I would have preferred this over one or two of the TV sets we have mounted on the walls. Oh well, better late than never.
BTW, the display looks good on any solid wall with light-colored paint as long as the paint has a flat finish. However, we eventually purchased the Mdbebbron (Amazon affiliate link) 120-inch foldable, anti-crease screen. It looks like a big white silk sheet with grommets. The screen makes the picture appear sharper.