JMGO U2 4K Tri-Color Laser Projector Review
Fast-switching pixel shifting in 4K (3840×2160)
From inches away, UST lenses fill a 100-inch screen
With a lumen rating of 2,400 ANSI
Light source using lasers (not laser phosphors)
Speakers that emit surround-sound and play music in a chamber
A lens that has a fixed focus
There are some 1080p SDR materials that have oversaturated colors
A 4K image has a much lower brightness than a 1080p image
A limited number of image quality adjustments and 3D support are available
In our tests, this product showed a lot of rainbow artifacts
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JMGO U2 4K TRI-COLOR LASER PROJECTOR SPECS
Engine Type DLP
Rated Brightness 2400 ANSI lumens
Native Resolution 3840 by 2160 using 1920 by 1080 DLP chip with XPR fast-switch pixel shifting
Despite its price of $2,999.99, the JMGO U2 4K Tri-Color Laser Projector is not overly expensive compared with what it delivers.
A comparison is provided by the Xgimi Aura, which is $2,499 and offers more capable built-in streaming capabilities. A streaming dongle will be needed for the U2 to compete. There are some other strengths to the U2, such as robust surround-sound audio and 50,000 hours of light source life, which are twice as long as those of the Aura. Short story: If you can find a good deal on it or don’t mind the price, this is an excellent UST projector.
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Laser, Not Laser-Phosphor
As with most of its 4K competition, the U2 has a single 1,920-by-1,080 image chip and fast-switch pixel shifting to display 3,840 by 2,160 pixels. However, unlike most, it uses lasers directly to emit light, rather than coaxing phosphors into emitting light. Before reaching the DLP chip on the way to the screen, the red, green, and blue laser light goes through a despeckler element, so the image does not contain the speckling that direct laser beams are known for.
The U2 is also different from most of its competition because it comes with a fixed-focus lens. JMGO claims the lens will give sharpest focus with an image size of 100 inches, so the projector is about 9.5 inches away from the screen at this size. As a result of my tests, I confirmed that the lens delivers good focus, if not its best, over a range of 80 to 120 inches diagonally, which a JMGO representative said.
Its laser light source has a brightness of 2,400 ANSI lumens. The statement on JMGO’s website states that a 1.5 gain screen will produce 3,600 ANSI lumens, but this is simply a way of explaining what a 1.5 gain means: namely, the image will be 1.5 times brighter than it would be with a 1.0 gain screen.
JMGO’s Luna OS is used to power streaming on the U2. The Android TV OS is based on Android 6.0, but there are relatively few apps to choose from, with the $2,699 Wemax Nova and Editors’ Choice–winning Xgimi Aura fully integrated, or via dongle on the $3,499 BenQ V7050i. For “the optimal experience,” JMGO recommends using streaming sticks and set-top boxes.
A Big Case for Big Sound
There are no digital zoom settings or keystone correction settings with the U2, which measures 6.6 by 28.3 by 15 inches (HWD) and weighs 28.2 pounds. For streaming, you connect a network via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, connect video sources via either or both HDMI 2.0 ports, and position the projector so that the image fills the screen and squares off. The focus is fixed, and no keystone correction is available. There is no setup required for Luna OS, unlike Android TV.
Despite having an optical output for S/PDIF audio, the U2’s built-in audio is more than adequate for most tasks. On both sides of the case, near the edge of the top panel closest to viewers, are two full-range 15-watt speakers, while two 10-watt tweeters are hidden within the case and face the viewer.
In addition to Dolby Audio and DTS-HD, the 2.4-liter chamber boosts both audio volume and quality. The U2 can also act as a Bluetooth speaker for other devices.
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Testing the JMGO U2: An Adequate Image
According to most people’s standards, the image quality of the U2 is good enough for casual viewing. Although there are some flaws, you may not be bothered by them.
Standard has the most accurate color and keeps the best shadow detail of all the predefined modes on the menu. There are several predefined modes that cannot be adjusted. By default, User mode is identical to Standard mode, but it lets you adjust brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, and sharpness. Frame interpolation, for smoothing motion, is on. Despite its ability to enhance live and recorded video, you’ll likely want to turn it off for filmed material to avoid a soap opera-like appearance.
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When I used 1080p material, Standard mode delivered good contrast as well as a suitably dark black and a sense of three dimensions in dark scenes. Standard mode was well tuned for colors from broadcast and streaming sources. The colors on Blu-ray discs, however, were much too oversaturated for my tastes. Color accuracy can be improved with User mode without affecting streaming and broadcast TV’s look too much. You can switch between the adjusted User mode and Standard mode to get the best quality for each type of input. I also noticed occasional overly aggressive edge enhancement. For example, on a reddish-brown background, it added a red outline to a doctor’s white coat in one test scene.
During my viewing of several movies from both 1080p and 4K sources, I found that colors were far more accurate in the 4K versions, especially memory colors (like green grass and blue sky). However, even with the highest power settings, bright scenes were significantly dimmer than those in 1080p, and black and dark gray colors in dark scenes were several shades lighter, so the images were washed out and less impactful. For the reduced brightness of the images, you’ll need to use a 4K video source with lower ambient light levels.
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Rainbow artifact problem
A rainbow artifact problem was also apparent with the U2. I see these flashes easily (though not everyone does), and saw more of them with the U2 than with most laser-based DLP projectors. You can test the projector for yourself by buying it from a store that allows easy returns without a restocking fee, if you’re concerned about these artifacts.
A Bodnar meter measured the input lag for 1080p 60Hz and 4K 60Hz input with the U2’s Computer mode, which is generally considered suitable for casual gaming. The projector supports HLG HDR and HDR10, but does not work with 3D Blu-ray discs. Input lag is 67 milliseconds for 1080p 60Hz and 42 milliseconds for 4K 60Hz.
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Verdict: Keep Your Eyes on the Price
With its list price, the JMGO U2 is hard to justify as a good value. You should probably bump up your budget just a bit and consider more expensive projectors if you’re willing to spend that much on a 4K UST laser projector. You can fully calibrate the image for your room and screen with the BenQ V7050i, which significantly improves color accuracy, shadow detail, and contrast. Wemax Nova or Xgimi Aura both offer equivalent features at lower prices, so you can save a few hundred dollars.
Despite that, you could save money on a separate audio system by using the JMGO U2’s excellent audio and good image quality. Look for coupons and discounts when choosing the U2; for the right price, it may turn out to be a great deal.
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