If I told you about 3200 ANSI lumens, native 4K, Android, HDR10 compatibility, and integrated Dolby Digital audio system, a projector would surely come to your mind and (probably) you would immediately think of the Xgimi Horizon Pro. But no, the one we're going to talk about today it is not a product of the famous Chinese brand (whose review you can find here), but comes from an Asian company that, although still poco known in our country, since its foundation in 2013 it has already won numerous awards dedicated to the design and development of projectors, software and much more.
Il Dangbei Mars Pro is an excellent Android-powered 4K laser projector, which contains (almost) all the basic features of the best-known top-of-the-range models on the market, but which costs much less: you can buy it at a discount on Amazon using the coupon you find in low, saving a good 400 euros.
Dangbei Mars Pro 4K Android Projector Review: Better than the Xgimi, but cheaper?
Design and materials
Il Dangbei Mars Pro it is a projector to keep mostly fixed in its position but, despite this, it is a rather compact model when compared to the technical characteristics. Basically it looks like a large parallelepiped 246 x 209 x 173 mm and weighing 4.6 kg which integrates the standard support to the tripod attachment. And it is precisely the possibility of positioning the projector on any tripod which, coupled with the integrated automatic correction systems, makes its installation practically immediate: just position it wherever you want, aim it at any surface and turn it on to immediately start the excellent automatic auto-focus system and keystone correction.
The front area is dedicated to the positioning of the projection optics which fortunately is not directly exposed, but is protected by a glass layer which solves the need to use a cover when the projector is switched off. If you remember the review of practically all Xgimi projectors, we underlined the lack of this accessory and the problem relating to the accumulation of dust near the lens: well, with the Dangbei Mars Pro the problem doesn't really arise.
The entrances are located on the back. The'Dangbei Mars Pro it is equipped with two HDMI 2.1 inputs (one of which is eARC), two USB 2.0 ports, a headphone output, a digital optical output and a (very convenient) ethernet input, to connect the device to the wired network, as well as – clearly – to WiFi.
Part of the side area of the projector is made of metal, while plastic inserts have been positioned above and below, and it is precisely through the metal grille that the sound of the audio system is diffused, but we get there.
The package also comes with a remote control which, however, in my opinion, is not qualitatively suitable for this model: it is made of light plastic, the keys are not backlit and it conveys a feeling of "cheap" even if it works quite well, it allows you to manage all the functions of the projector without any problem and can also be used as a virtual mouse to move the pointer on the screen.
The image projected by the Dangbei Mars Pro it is generated by a DLP system with a 0,47” DMD matrix and a maximum resolution of 4K at 60Hz, which can reach 120Hz by exploiting MEMC technology. The ALPD laser light source (Advanced Laser Phosphor Display) and the optical system allow a maximum projection size of 300" even if, as usual, my advice is not to exceed 150" to get the maximum of visual quality. And just to give you an idea of placement: you can project an 80” image at a distance of 2,2m, 100” at 2,8m and 150” at 4,2m.
The response time is also very interesting which, with its 20 ms, makes the Dangbei Mars Pro an excellent companion also with the game: also thanks to the brightness and the native resolution, this projector performs very well with the vast majority of video games, even if pro-gamers of first person games may probably need a faster response time reduced.
Here are the technical features of the Xgimi Horizon Pro 4K:
- Android operating system 9
- Single-chip DLP (0,47-inch DMD)
- Standard resolution of 3840 x 2160, maximum resolution 4096 x 2160 at 60Hz
- MediaTek MT9669 quad-core ARM CPU
- 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage
- Bluetooth 5.0, ethernet and Wi-Fi (2.4 / 5GHz, 802.11a / b / g / n)
- 3200 ANSI lumens from an LED light source with a rated life of 30.000 hours
- Dangbei does not state the contrast ratio, which is often a lie anyway
- Projection ratio 1.27: 1
- Dolby audio support
- HDR10+ support
- Two HDMI 2.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports for keyboard, mouse or game controller
- Optical audio output and headphone jack
- The projected image can be turned upside down for ceiling mounting
- Auto keystone correction ± 40 degrees (horizontal and vertical)
As for brightness, the speech is simple: the Dangbei Mars Pro is able to guarantee 3200 ANSI lumens which is an extremely high value especially in this price range for a compact projector capable of supporting 4K in HDR, but which I would not feel able to say suitable for replacing a traditional TV, unless you are not in dark environments. As it should be.
The audio system is good, entrusted to two 8w full-range speakers, the autofocus system is very precise. And if we add this focusing system, with the presence of a good digital corrector of the geometry of the image (capable of working at ±40°) we arrive at the conclusion that the Dangbei Mars Pro it is one of those all-rounder projectors that, if desired, can also be used on the go.
The first note that, as usual, I feel like making is that despite the very high brightness, even with the Dangbei Mars Pro it is best to avoid projecting images onto walls, even white ones. Because sure, the result is (almost) enjoyable, but given the nature of these devices, it's always better equip yourself with a good projection sheet: portable projectors are not as bright as “fixed” ones, and even using a white sheet could have negative notes.
My advice is to always use a good projection sheet that does not "absorb" the light and is able to reflect the image as much as possible and ok, a fiberglass sheet might be excessive, but on the net it is possible to find very cheap alternatives: in my case, I use a roll-up projection sheet from BlitzWolf, 100 inch big and good quality.
Anyway, the video quality of the Dangbei Mars Pro it's surprisingly good, especially when compared to its size and supported resolution. And I'm more than convinced when I say that among the projectors in its category it ranks at the top of my personal ranking, even higher than the Xgimi Horizon Pro 4K.
When using a quality source, the image definition is of a good level and, in some cases, it is able to guarantee even better sharpening than that which could be found in some QLED TVs.
Dynamic range management is also good, which can be customized (along with many other image factors) in the operating system configuration menu.
Perhaps the real Achilles heel of this is the integrated software Dangbei Mars Pro. Let's be clear, we're talking about an Android-based projector, but not Android TV. The graphical interface is typical of the "cheaper" Asian projectors and the device does not come with the Play Store pre-installed. The menu is in Italian, but with numerous translation errors, and to install Google apps it is necessary to enter the Community section and follow the guide.
It is also possible to download a partially functional version of Netflix which, however, due to the absence of Widewine L1 certification, will only work in HD and not in 4K. To solve this problem, the brand has decided to provide Amazon buyers of the projector with a complete Android TV box compatible with Netflix and with the best-known streaming apps for free: the price, however, is that one of the two inputs will have to be sacrificed Integrated HDMI.
That said, the MediaTek MT9669 processor flanked by 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal memory (EMMC type) make the Dangbei Mars Pro quite fluid in handling operations. However, I admit that I would have liked to see it animated by Google TV, thanks to which even the casting operations from mobile devices would have been easier.
Selling price and considerations
The official selling price of the Dangbei Mars Pro it is 1999,00 euros but, through the box below, you could buy it at a discount on Amazon for 1499,00 euros (and you will receive an Android TV dongle worth 79 euros as a gift). And yes, it is a prohibitive figure, but it is lower than that necessary to buy an Xgimi Horizon Pro 4K which, among other things, has a lower brightness of 1000 ANSI lumens. From a purely qualitative point of view, the Mars Pro is an excellent product, among the best on the market, with which bright and detailed videos will be the order of the day.
Of course, the operating system is relatively intuitive and easy to configure, as well as the autofocus and keystone correction, but as already said I would have preferred it to have been animated by Google TV: in this way the updates would have been faster, the interface better optimized, and the Dangbei Mars Pro could have won the GizChoice title.
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