Whether you’re watching the latest movies or your favorite football team, having a “big screen” can make all the difference. Of course you could buy the latest and greatest, biggest flat screen television out there, but then you’re likely out thousands of dollars. Plus, the amount of space required for a big TV isn’t always available. Not to mention, few TVs are available over ~75 inches. And the few that are can cost as much as a gently used car!
This is why more people now than ever are making the smart move to invest in a projector rather than a TV. Projectors offer much more versatility and can be used in a multitude of scenarios. However, just like TV’s, not all of them are created equally. There are hundreds of different makes, models and brands to choose from, all with different specifications and requirements. Needless to say, it can get quite confusing, quite fast.
If you’re like most, you’re searching for the perfect balance between features and affordability. If that’s the case, you’ve probably already heard about the new DBPOWER T20 Mini Projector. It’s a budget-friendly, 1080p high definition projector that seems to offer a lot of value for it’s minuscule price tag. We were lucky enough to snag one up for ourselves to test it out, go over it’s features and give an in-depth review regarding it’s pros and cons. DRPOWER was kind enough to send us a projector free of charge in exchange for our honest and thorough analysis of their latest release. Without further adue, let’s get started.
The DBPOWER T20 Mini Projector arrived to us within just two days thanks to Amazon Prime. Once we opened up the box, we were delighted to find the projector safely packaged and coupled with a lengthy instruction manual, quick start guide and a box full of accessories. These accessories included a remote, HDMI cable, 3.5mm AUX to RCA adapter and a small screw that’s used to angle it when placed flat.
The projector itself is fairly compact, weighing in at just over 2 lbs and measuring 7 1/4 inches wide, 6 inches deep and 3 inches tall. Located on the top are the focus and keystone adjustment dials and a wide range of buttons. These include the power, menu, source and escape buttons, as well as a directional pad with an “OK” button in the center.
On the back is a VGA input, with all of the other inputs located on the left side. These other inputs include HDMI, AV, Aux, USB-in, a 5v USB charging port and a memory card reader. The right side has only one input for the power cable. On the front you’ll see the lens and IR remote sensors located on both the front and back. Throughout there are ventilation holes with internal cooling fans to assure that inner temperatures never become problematic. In addition, there are four rubber feet that keep it stable and level at all times.
Getting the DBPOWER T20 Mini Projector setup and configured for the first time is really easy. Ideally, you’ll want to project it onto a blank white wall or projector screen in a dark room. Also, you’ll get the best image clarity if you position it between 32 and 176 inches from the wall/screen. Once you find a good position for it, you’ll want to manually adjsut the focus and keystone so it looks clear and vibrant. This usually only takes a couple of seconds – just spin the dial until you see clearly.
To get started, simply plug in the AV cable and within less than 10 seconds you’ll see a generic “home screen”. This main menu is pretty self explanatory. From here you can access settings, select your source and get a bit more familiar with the interface. The settings aren’t that in-depth, but they do allow you to adjust the on-screen display, perform software updates and restore back to factory settings.
Once you’ve powered it on and browsed around a bit, you’re probably ready to play your content. The great thing is, the T20 allows you to play media from a wide range of sources for a multitude of scenarios. Basically, if your media can be connected via HDMI, RCA or an SD memory card, you should have no trouble. However, smartphone compatibility is a little bit iffy. This is because you’re required to use an adapter (Chromecast or AudioCast) that must be purchased separately. Alternatively you could use an MHL to HDMI adapter (Android) or a lighting to HDMI adapter (iPhone).
We tried playing files through a USB flash drive, directly through an HDMI cable using a laptop and also using the provided RCA cables to play some “old school” video games in style. Either input worked equally well and we didn’t have any issues with configuring. Simply plug in your device(s) and select the source.
Playing 1080p high definition content was our favorite. The clarity was excellent and exciting to watch on such a massive screen – just make sure that your focus is dialed in correctly. Utilizing the RCA cables, we hooked up an old original Nintendo NES and absolutely loved it. It was exciting to see such a vintage form of entertainment brought onto such a massive visual scale. There didn’t appear to be any lag or latency issues with whichever input format we used.
Still photos on an SD memory card looked wonderful. Bright colors with excellent clarity. No complaints. It’s a nice feature to have when you’re wanting to show friends and/or family photos from your latest trip. What better way than on a massive screen?
Built into the T20 is its own speaker. Truthfully, it’s nothing extraordinary, but it does the job. Don’t expect incredible stereo sound, it delivers acceptable sound without distortion. However, there’s virtually no bass or anything fancy about it. We highly recommend utilizing the auxilery input and attach your own speakers if you feel that they’re lacking.
As with any projector, there needs to be an effective yet efficient cooling system in place to assure proper working order. Heat can be a huge problem for any electronic, especially one that’s equipped with a bright and powerful lamp. Luckily, DBPOWER included a unique double tube cooling system that properly dissipates any residual heat and “exhausts” it out a variety of ventilation holes.
The internal fans seem to do a fantastic job. We had it running for 6 hours straight and the projector only had a slightly warm feel to it. Now there is a slight downside to this, the fans are constantly spinning so there’s a little bit of ambient noise produced, but it’s not that big of deal. You can hardly notice them, especially when you have a movie or video game playing.
The lamp within the DBPOWER T20 is rated to last an impressive 50,000 hours. This is a ridiculously generous amount of lifespan which translates to roughly five and a half years of continuous play time. Realistically, 99% of users won’t even come close to needing a lamp change, but if you ever do, it’ll be several years to a decade down the road.
One of the most desirable aspects about DBPOWER is their impressive three year warranty with lifetime customer support. They cover the parts, workmanship and return process if you ever have any issues with the T20 in the future. They can be reached via email, through Amazon or their website.
Although the T20 has a wide range of features to get excited about, it’s important to point out a few disadvantages. Wireless connectivity isn’t available since the projector doesn’t have a Bluetooth feature. Any connection with a smartphone or tablet must be done through an adapter that has to be purchased separately. It would have been nice to see these adapters included, but they’re fairly inexpensive and easy to come by.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that the power cable is extremely short. You may need to invest in an extension cord since it’s only a few feet long. Not that big of deal, since most people have one laying around anyways.
Overall, we’re big fans of the DBPOWER T20 Mini Projector. It has a lot going for it, with plenty of desirable features at an affordable price point. The brightness is excellent, the interface is very easy to use, and the setup is self explanatory. You don’t need any fancy equipment to pair with it, everything that you need is included – just connect your favorite content via HDMI, VGA or RCA and you’ll be on your way.
Sure there are a few potential downsides, but every product has its quirks. The amount of value that’s packed within such a small and sleek design is exciting to say the least. We feel that the T20 is suitable for most scenarios and an excellent choice for kids and family. However, if you need something that’s a bit more professionally equipped, you’ll definitely have to spend quite a bit more.
If you’re needing to play the latest 4k content or expect the absolute best visual experience possible, you may need to look at something a bit fancier like the Epson 5040ube or the Optoma HD27. Alternatively, you could take a look at the best 1080p projectors that are currently available.