The Best Portable Laser Projector | Dangbei Atom

There are times when even I, who have been involved in the video-projection world for over 20 years, am amazed at the constant and erratic development of technology.

One of those moments of surprise was when I got my hands on this amazing, ultra-portable model from Dangbei and switched it on for the first time.

It is clearly the best portable laser projector you can buy in 2024, and the best small-size smart projector I have ever tried and seen with my own eyes.

But let’s take a closer look at this tiny pocket laser projector and enjoy it together, because it challenges everything we knew or thought we knew about the performance, size/price ratio of projectors.

Dangbei, a company I admit I did not even know existed until I did some extensive research into buying a small, ultra-portable projector.

The reason for this? The many e-mail inquiries from you asking me to finally recommend a small, relatively inexpensive, but worthwhile projector that you can use as a portable projector for your work, but also for a movie night with your family. Of course, I personally needed a small, portable laser projector for professional use, but also to have it with me whenever I go on vacation or even just visit friends to watch a soccer game.

Well, I have good news for you: there is a totally portable projector with amazing performance, and it’s called the Dangbei Atom.

I bought the projector from my favorite online store nothingprojector (thanks for the super fast delivery), where I knew it would be available at the best price from the first day of its launch, just like any other laser model.

Let’s take a look at some on some of the very interesting technical features of the little Atom before we see it in action.

 

Features of the Dangbei Atom

The little Atom is equipped with an ALPD DLP optical laser engine from our well-known company Appotronics, which supplies similar excellent optical laser engines to many UST brands such as Formovie, Xiaomi, etc.


The resolution is 1080p (1920X1080) and it uses the small 0.33’ DMD chip from Texas Instruments, a latest generation chip introduced in 2023, capable of up to 240Hz playback internally and up to 120Hz on the screen, thus also enabling 3D playback. Yep, the Atom is full 3D capable!

The brightness generated by this optical laser engine is 1200 ISO lumens (according to the ISO 21118-2020 standard).

The lens has an aperture ratio of 1.2:1, i.e. to produce a 2-meter (80inces)-wide image, it must be positioned at a distance of 2.4 meters (95 inches), (1.2 x 2 = 2.4 m).

The Atom also has an autofocus mechanism that supports image sizes from 40’ to 180’!

Atom integrates multi-point dTOF (direct time-of-flight) sensors, CMOS, gyroscope, and opto-sensor modules. Combined with Dangbei’s intelligent AI algorithms, Atom’s upgraded intelligent image adjustment system is faster and more accurate, greatly reducing the need for manual adjustments.

The Atom’s connectivity reaches a high level and is equipped with any wired or wireless connection you may need. It has an 2.0 HDMI port (ARC), a USB 2.0 port and a 3.5mm audio output.

For wireless connectivity, it offers dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4/5 GHz, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth 5.1/BLE.


An interesting aspect is the smart part, because the little Atom comes with built-in official Google TV and official licenses for all streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, etc.

To support this integrated smart interface, it has built-in 2 GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC5.1 storage.

Despite its minimalist design, the Atom has also built-in stereo sound with 2x5W speakers with Dolby Audio support.

It is arguably the most comprehensive package of a small laser projector available on the market today, and at an amazing price for what it offers.

 

Appearance

Expensive jewelry usually comes in small packages, and so does the little Atom.

What can I say, I would call this ultra-portable projector the iPhone of its category in terms of quality and appearance.

Solid construction, luxurious design where every conceivable detail has been taken care of, and that to the fullest.

Beautiful yet simple, compact with a quality that is no longer easy to find in low-budget electronics products in general.

Even when it does not work, it’s a gem on the desk.

I will let you enjoy the Atom in a mini photo album I created for you, because a picture is worth a thousand words…




 

Meet the Atom

The first impression, of course, has to do with the small size and weight. How can such a small thing contain so much technology?

With dimensions of 7.68 x 7.68 x 1.87 inches (20 x 20 x 4.7 cm) and a weight of only 2.82 lb (1.3 Kg), we are dealing with a projector that’s almost easier to carry around than a tablet or a book.


The packaging includes everything you need to get it up and running right away and enjoy your favorite Netflix series at the screen size you want by simply connect the Atom to your home Wi-Fi.

Inside the box we will find except the Atom itself, the external power supply and the remote control.


The remote control has separated buttons for the three basic streaming platforms and two side buttons.


The side buttons are multifunctional and make the owners life much easier.


If we push the red button we can immediately manual correct the focus and if with press it for two seconds the Atom will adjust again the focus using the auto-focus mechanism.

The black is also a multifunctional button. With long press we mute and unmute the integrated sound and with just one push we can access the projector menu.

 

Fire it up

When you fire it up for the first time, you will need to spend a few minutes setting up your Google account and installing your favorite apps.

You can scan the code on the screen with your phone and the whole procedure will be in auto mode. Minutes after your Google account with all your preferences will be installed on the Atom.

The graphical interface is the classic and well-designed Android TV, but without being cluttered with unnecessary settings and labyrinthine submenus. It screams from afar: “I am here to make your life easier “.


With official licenses for all major streaming platforms, your hands are truly free as you can enjoy all your subscription platforms at the touch of a button without using an additional media device.

You just activate all your streaming accounts and place Atom in front of any surface at any time choosing a screen size of your choice to watch your series, documentaries, sporting events, or make an impressive presentation at work. Whatever you choose, Atom needs only power and Wi-Fi connection (or a USB stick perhaps with your files). And all this with the size of a tablet, but with a performance that will make you smile like a child tasting ice cream for the first time.

Dangbei, I did not know you as a company, but I have to give you a big thumbs up, you have created and given us something really special and useful here, and I have to acknowledge that.

The Dangbei Atom could easily be a prototype device advertise the development of projection technology that we could only see at exhibitions.

Instead, it is a real product sold on the market, and you can purchase and enjoy it at a price below that of a good cell phone.

 

Performance

The sharpness from edge to edge of the image is excellent. The autofocus works flawlessly and quickly, so you can save yourself unnecessary additional time for settings.

Oh boy, that thing is bright! At first look, it’s difficult to accept that this bright image comes from this tiny projector.


I used my Celexon ALR 0.6 gain at 100’ to test this tiny projector. This screen can push to their limits a lot of “big” projectors out there as the gain factor of 0.6 cuts the lumens output significantly. No problem for the small Atom, the picture brightness was still quite impressive. This Appotronics Laser engine is the thing!

First, I started with Netflix streaming. Whenever a movie or series was in HDR format, the Atom flashed an HDR logo and started playing it in HDR!

The response within the app is not as fast or absolutely smooth, but it’s perfectly usable and you can easily navigate and explore the Netflix library with the remote.

I can definitely describe the image Atom projects as cinematic. The 1080p resolution can still hold its ground even today in the world of 4K, in terms of image clarity and sharpening.


The 100’ is a breeze for the Atom and under certain circumstances it can project to larger screens, even 120-130 I dare to say.

The colors give the viewer a natural, warm feeling, and the whole film experience is absolutely relaxing. The skin tone is absolutely balanced and natural, which is surprising for a projector in this category.


Who would have told me that I would have a true cinematic experience with such a tiny pocket projector, come on…

 

Measurements

Out of the box, the Atom demonstrates the classic behavior of single laser diode projector with a significantly boosted blue color and a rather cool Kelvin temperature.


It is quite difficult to correct this deviation, as you have to go into the Android menu each time to reach the gain settings of the grayscale. This process is time-consuming and tedious. That’s why I always prefer projectors with their own settings menu that is independent of the smart Android environment.

However, with a lot of effort and experimentation, the little Atom achieves a very good balance. The only shortcoming is the 100IRE, which is not affected by the settings at all, but that’s a minor issue.


In terms of color, the Atom covers the rec.709 standard as a true Full HD projector, and overall, it is quite balanced out of the box. Unfortunately, it does not have a CMS (Color Management System) for detailed color adjustment, but who wants to deal with complex settings on a portable projector? I think ease of use is the goal here.


As for brightness, the Atom offers the three options:

ECO mode (632 lumens) – here the projector operates completely silently, generates less heat and produces ~600 lumens.

Standard mode (978 lumens) – in this setting, the brightness increases to ~1000 lumens and the Atom’s cooling system works dynamically, meaning that the fans occasionally run faster during projection.

Manual mode (1236 lumens on max setting) – here we have the option of selecting the laser power ourselves from ~200 lumens to ~1200 lumens  (scale 1 to 10). If you select the maximum value, the cooling system also works constantly at maximum.

On/Off contrast measurement – 943:1

Without any laser dimming or an algorithm for frame-by-frame laser adjustment, the dynamic range of the small Atom is limited from the DLP technology with on/off contrast of ~1000:1.

 

Using the Dangbei Atom

There are so many things i want to mention but i am afraid that i will tire you. I used the Atom in every possible way that a projector can be used. 

I connected it to my Nintendo Switch and with the game mode enabled, I was able to play without any lag as if I were playing on my gaming monitor.


The automatic keystone and obstacle avoidance function works like a charm. I tried everything in my power to trick the projector and make it failed. I did not succeed even once.

Every time the Atom detects the obstacles and any image distortion, it corrects everything, even if it has to create a really small frame like in the photo below. It is like the Atom have human eyes and sees everything in front of him.


Other useful feature that is working perfectly is the casting-mirroring of a mobile or tablet device.

I used my tablet to stream everything, really everything, from watching YouTube to streaming video and pictures. The mirroring is so good on the Atom with its built-in Chromecast that you almost forget it’s wireless.


I am a big fan of 3D. The Atom is fully 3D capable and the performance with 3D Blu-ray disks is simply amazing. Even if the brightness is not ideal for 3D, you can enjoy a 3D content almost anywhere with this small projector. The best picture size the Atom can reasonably handle 3D is 80′, which is big enough in my opinion. For me this feature was a huge plus in my decision to buy the Atom in first place. I just love 3D.


Another feature that positively surprised me is the Atom’s integrated stereo sound system. It’s impressive that this little device can produce such a deep and loud sound, really impressive. I’ve never experienced another projector of this size with such good sound quality. The speakers are on opposite sides and the sound permeates the room as if you were listening to a surround system. Of course you can control the volume from your phone or tablet, or just from the remote control.

Finally, the main Atom’s weapon is the quality of the image. Oh boy, i totally enjoy every minute watching content on this tiny laser projector. The projected image is so natural and vivid that you can use the Atom even as your main home cinema projector and not only as a portable solution.


 

What i didn’t like

There are a few things I don’t like about the Dangbei Atom. The first is the Android menu for the image settings. You can’t stop watching your movie every time you want to to adjust the contrast or sharpness or maybe change the picture mode, that’s unacceptable! Basically, I prefer the clear AWOL Vision menu that allows you to adjust everything directly without having to fiddle with the Android environment, but that’s just my opinion.

I would also prefer it if the power supply for the projector was integrated. I forgot it one day and couldn’t give the presentation I had planned. That’s something to think about, it’s not a simple power cord that you can just buy one if you forget it at home. Also, Dangbei, you should include a small projector bag with the Atom, it’s a portable projector, we need a bag to carry it with us.

Here is a small taste of the Dangbei Atom performance

 

My thoughts for the Dangbei Atom Google TV laser projector

With advances in laser projector technology, such little gems as the Dangbei Atom will emerge to remind us that anyone can now enjoy a big-cinema screen in their living room, office or on vacation without spending a fortune.

For me, the Atom is perhaps the best option among portable projectors at the moment, because it offers much more than just the convenience of portability.

It is small, light and has an excellent build quality.

Powerful enough with decent brightness, including an amazing laser optical engine that eliminates the hassle of changing bulbs and with the 30.000 hours of lifespan offers tremendous flexibility as you can essentially use it as a TV and not just as ordinary projector.

Within 5 minutes it can be set up anywhere there is space and the Atom automatically adjusts itself to deliver a perfect image in shape and focus.

And the image, the image quality is better than you’d expect by far. The integrated sound system is also surprising good and you can use Atom as a stand alone Bluetooth speaker if you need it so.

The official Google TV with all official (licensed) streaming platforms works like a charm, it’s a powerful feature that you don’t usually encounter often on any brand, even on more expensive laser projectors.

If you don’t want to spend a lot and need a small laser projector with amazing performance to watch your movies with the family or enjoy sports on vacation, and in the meantime, to use it for your presentations at school or at the office, the Dangbei Atom is exactly what you’re looking for.

Here is the link for the Dangbei Atom on the most trustable site you can buy a laser projector/Laser TV these days (no affiliate link, no commissions here, just pure passioned reviews)

 

Nikos Tsolas

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Evans says:

    This is what i was looking for! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *