The Dangbei Neo stands out as an exceptional compact projector, offering a range of smart features, impressive audio capabilities, and hassle-free setup. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your home entertainment system or seeking a portable projector for on-the-go use, the Dangbei Neo is a worthy contender. Its sleek design, high-quality performance, and convenient availability on Amazon make it an attractive choice for anyone in search of a versatile and immersive viewing experience.
In this review, we delve into the everyday use of the Dangbei Neo to determine whether it lives up to its acclaim.
Dangbei Neo: Video Review
|1080P (1920x1080 FHD)
|540 ISO Lumens
|2 x 6W, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus
|1GB DDR3 / 8GB eMMC v5.1
|2.4G+5G, 2T2R, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
|20 x 15.7 x 10 cm
|USB2.0, HDMI IN, DC-IN, LAN, SPDIF out
At first glance, the Dangbei Neo may not seem impressive, arriving in a small gray box that belies its capabilities. However, this DLP projector surprises with its compact size, measuring just 20 x 15.7 x 10 cm and weighing less than 2 kg. While its appearance may be unassuming, the Neo packs a punch when it comes to connectivity options, particularly through WLAN and Bluetooth. Additionally, the tiny chassis houses integrated speakers for convenient audio playback.
The Neo’s design is unpretentious, lacking a manual focus ring and zoom slider that are typically found on projectors. Instead, there is a single button on the top for powering the projector on and off. All other functions can be controlled using the included remote or via a smart home system.
While the Neo may not be the smallest compact projector, its dimensions still allow for portability, easily fitting into a backpack. The weight of approximately 2 kg also ensures stability when placed on tables, even those that may not be sturdy.
One notable advantage of the Neo’s weight is its ability to handle cables more effectively. Unlike lighter portable projectors that struggle to maintain a good viewing angle due to cable tension, the Neo’s heft, and non-slip rubber feet keep it steady.
However, the Dangbei Neo does receive some criticism for its lack of retractable feet. While the rubber feet can be unscrewed, they only provide a few millimeters of adjustment before falling out. This limited tilt adjustment may not be sufficient for some users. Alternatively, there is a conventional tripod thread at the bottom of the projector, allowing for the use of a camera tripod to achieve the desired projection angle.
In terms of build quality, the Dangbei Neo is solidly constructed, although it lacks premium elements such as metal components or protective rubber. The same applies to the remote control, which is well-assembled and reliable regardless of the direction it is pointed in during use.
The button layout on the remote control is sensible and well-structured, with one notable exception—the prominent focus button. In reality, this button is rarely required since the projector maintains excellent focus with each movement, making manual adjustments unnecessary.
The Dangbei Neo sets itself apart from its competitors by not running on the Android operating system. Instead, the projector’s software is based on Linux, which results in a remarkably smooth performance. However, this choice comes with certain limitations, including restrictions on available apps, as the Google Play Store cannot be accessed.
The initial setup of the Dangbei Neo proves to be surprisingly simple. After unpacking, users can connect to their Wi-Fi network and start streaming content without the need to create an account. This differs from other projectors that often require separate logins for streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more.
The Dangbei Neo comes preinstalled with popular streaming apps such as Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime. These apps can be easily accessed through separate buttons on the remote control. If users prefer to use a different video streaming service, they can explore the “Netrange” app store provided by Dangbei.
In terms of connectivity, the Dangbei Neo may fall behind some of its competitors. However, it offers various options for connecting external hardware. Notebooks and other devices can be connected via HDMI, and there are two USB ports available for external storage media or peripherals like a mouse and keyboard. For a more permanent installation, the projector supports wired internet connectivity and can be connected to a home theater system via S/PDIF.
The Dangbei Neo features Bluetooth connectivity, allowing users to connect Bluetooth-enabled devices. It even includes a Bluetooth speaker mode, enhancing the audio experience. In terms of wireless connectivity, the projector supports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, working in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums.
The Dangbei Neo impresses with its maximum Full HD resolution, offering a sharp and detailed viewing experience. The manufacturer claims a maximum screen size of 120 inches, although individual pixels may become visible at that size. However, what sets the Dangbei Neo apart is its integrated sensors, which continuously make adjustments to ensure optimal image quality.
The projector is designed to last up to 30,000 hours, providing long-term usage without worrying about frequent replacements. Additionally, the Neo is HDR10-certified, enabling it to deliver enhanced color accuracy and contrast for a more dynamic viewing experience.
One notable advantage of the Dangbei Neo is its native Netflix integration. This feature is particularly noteworthy as it is uncommon for DLP projectors. The inclusion of Netflix allows users to conveniently stream their favorite shows and movies directly from the projector, eliminating the need for additional devices.
While the Dangbei Neo lacks optical zoom, which is typical for DLP projectors, it compensates for this limitation with digital zoom capability. Users can adjust the image size in the settings, although a decrease in quality may occur as fewer pixels are displayed. Despite this, the Neo’s automatic image locking feature is a standout. With the inclusion of a ToF (Time of Flight) sensor on the front, the projector measures the angle it is aligned to the wall, automatically applying the correct focus and keystone correction. This process works flawlessly and quickly, resulting in a clear and aligned image, even at oblique angles.
The video image produced by the Dangbei Neo is surprisingly bright, with a brightness rating of 540 ISO lumens. While it may not be suitable for use in well-lit environments, it performs well in twilight or slightly darkened rooms. For the best viewing experience, completely dark rooms are recommended, as the projector delivers rich colors, high contrast, and reasonable sharpness, despite its Full HD resolution.
To fine-tune the image according to personal preferences, the Dangbei Neo offers numerous settings that allow users to adjust the picture to their liking. The ability to preview the changes before finalizing them adds convenience and ensures optimal customization.
Despite its compact size, the Dangbei Neo manages to deliver decent sound quality. Equipped with two speakers, each boasting 6 W of power, the Neo provides a satisfying audio experience, particularly in a home theater setting. While it may not offer mind-blowing audio, the Neo performs admirably as a Bluetooth speaker, even when placed on a stand without direct contact with its surroundings. Notably, the Neo supports both Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus standards, adding to its audio capabilities.
Despite the speakers’ modest power of 6 W, voices remain clear and intelligible, and music is accompanied by adequate bass. Considering its size, the Neo manages to produce well-balanced audio.
Dangbei’s certification of the Neo with Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus standards is a notable inclusion. However, it’s important to set realistic expectations for surround sound capabilities. Due to the speakers being placed on one side of the case, the stereo effect may be sparsely discernible, limiting the projector’s ability to deliver immersive audio.
If you prefer to connect external speakers to the Dangbei Neo, the options are somewhat limited. The projector supports S/PDIF connectivity, allowing you to connect it to compatible audio devices. Unfortunately, there is no 3.5 mm audio jack available for direct connections. Alternatively, you can use Bluetooth to connect headphones or speakers, although latency issues may arise, making it less ideal for watching movies. On the positive side, the Neo can double as a Bluetooth speaker, providing versatility for various audio needs.
Dangbei Neo: Conclusion
The Dangbei Neo proves to be a solid choice for those seeking a compact and portable projector with good image quality and decent sound. While it may have some limitations, such as the absence of certain apps and limited surround sound capabilities, it offers an enjoyable home theater experience with its smooth performance and convenient features.
However, the lack of a 3.5 mm audio jack may be a drawback for some users.