Recently, I wrote that adding a second monitor to your computer is the best thing you can do to speed up your workflow efficiency. Well, if you want to supersize it and make it a lot more fun and immersive, the next step from there is a projector.
The folks at Wemax recently reached out to me to have a play with one of their new projectors – the Wemax Go Advanced, which is currently running on Indiegogo – and give them some feedback. Feedback that I’ll also be providing here in this review.Is it a valuable editing tool? Well, it can be. It really depends on your needs and your editing space.
Update: The model name of this projector was previously the Wemax Go Pro. The company has since changed this to the Wemax Go Advanced to avoid confusion with a certain popular manufacturer of action cameras.
Let’s start with a basic look at the projector.
The Wemax Go Advanced Projector
I’ve wanted a projector for years. But I could never really justify the cost of a really good one and all the ones within the budget I wanted to spend were pretty terrible. So, I never got one. I’ve had access to a few whenever I wanted it, but I’ve never really felt that I could set them up the way I really wanted to – essentially as another monitor.
When Wemax reached out to me, they told me that they had a couple of new projectors coming to Indiegogo. These projectors were different from those that most of us might have used before in that they’re ALPD projectors. This means that they use a laser to project the image onto the surface and they typically offer brightness 2-3x that of LED-based projectors of the same size while using around 50% less energy offering displays up to about 120 inches. They also offer a lifespan of up to 25,000 hours.
The Two models are the Wemax Go and the Wemax Go Advanced. “Go” seems to be a popular word amongst products at the moment (Rode, Insta360, etc) due to the nature of their portable use and… Well, this projector is no different. It’s designed to be portable. In fact, the standard non-Pro version of the Wemax Go is small enough that it fits in your pocket yet still puts out an impressive 300 ANSI Lumens. The Advanced version is a little bigger and puts out 600 ANSI Lumens.
The Wemax Go Advanced is the version I have here, so here are the basic specs of both versions of the projector and then the rest of this review will focus on the Advanced version.
|Wemax Go Advanced||Wemax Go|
|Light source||ALPD Laser||ALPD Laser|
|Brightness||600 ANSI Lumens||300 ANSI Lumens|
|FOFO Contrast Ratio||500:1||500:1|
|Focus||Automatic Focus||Manual Focus|
|Keystone correction||Automatic and manual (vertical and 4-point corner correction)||Automatic and manual (vertical)|
|Intelligent Obstacle Avoidance||Yes||No|
|Intelligent Screen Alignment||Yes||No|
|Power Input||Type C USB-PD||Type C USB-PD|
|Battery||3,485mAh built-in battery (40.25Wh)||None|
|WiFi||2.4Ghz & 5Ghz||2.4Ghz|
|Inputs||Type-C USB (Power), Type-A USB (storage), HDMI, Headphones||Type-C USB (Power), Type-A USB (storage), HDMI, Headphones|
|Dimensions||8.6 x 4.6 x 0.98″||5.94 x 3.27 x 0.97″|
|Price||Early bird: $599
|Early bird: $299
As you can see from the table above, the Wemax Go Advanced is a little larger than the Wemax Go, but it’s still pretty small, with only a 8.62″ x 4.60″ footprint and a hair under an inch in thickness. This means you can easily slot it into a (very large) pocket or slip it into a backpack or other bag along with your laptop. And if you don’t want to carry a laptop, you can stream to it from your smartphone.
The Wemax Go Advanced runs an operating system, so has a short boot-up time of around 10-15 seconds. The projector I have is a pre-production model using an operating system that’s based on Android. I’m not allowed to show it all to you, but there are things I can talk about.
For a start, because it’s Android based, it’ll run a whole bunch of apps. Apps like YouTube and Plex, giving you access to your entire movie and TV show collection as well as those you follow online. There’s also apps for the other usual suspects like Netflix, Hulu, Disney, etc. Interestingly, though, there’s no Amazon Prime – at least not on mine. Perhaps that might appear in a future update.
As well as the apps, you can also plug in a feed directly from an HDMI source or plug in a USB hard drive or SSD and play media files from it directly. And, as mentioned above, you can also stream videos, images or mirror your actual display straight from your smartphone over WiFi (and the Wemax Go Advanced supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi).
A couple of cool features of the projector include intelligent screen alignment and obstacle avoidance. This basically means that when you turn the projector on or move it, it automatically figures out how to make itself look good on screen. Essentially, a pattern is projected onto the surface in front of it and a sensor in the projector reads it to see how much it’s distorted and in what ways. It then automatically applies a correction to fix it. And, it’ll look out for obstructions on the wall, to try to prevent it from overspilling onto areas you don’t want it to.
It also has Time of Flight autofocus, so you need never worry about having to adjust the focus manually. You just point it at your screen or whatever surface you want to project on, turn it on. It knows exactly how far away it is from the surface on which it’s projecting and sets the focus distance automatically.
It pretty much takes care of itself. The obstacle avoidance isn’t always perfect for me right now. It’s pretty much 50/50, but this is a pre-production unit, so the fact that it gets it right at all suggests to me that they’ll have it spot on by the time the final release firmware is released. For now, it does offer full 4-point keystone correction (imagine something like the Corner Pin in Adobe After Effects but in reverse) as well as automatic keystone correction that also does a pretty good job on its own most of the time.
When it comes to audio, the Wemax Go Advanced features a pair of built-in 2W speakers. Now, they’re not amazing speakers. But they’re also not terrible. They’re not very immersive. Fortunately, the Wemax Go Advanced supports Bluetooth, meaning you can hook it up (figuratively speaking) to just about any Bluetooth audio device you want. Want to throw on some AirPods so you’re not disturbing others while you listen? No problem. Want to connect it to a couple of Sony SRS-XB33 speakers for some booming (but also portable) stereo sound? You can do that, too. And if you don’t have Bluetooth speakers or headphones, you can also plug into the standard 3.5mm TRS output.
And while we’re on the subject of audible output, let’s talk about the cooling fan that’s on all the time when the unit is powered up. When you initially turn the unit on, you can hear the fan, but after a while, it kind of just fades into the background. It doesn’t get any quieter but you just kind of get used to it and ignore it. Even the relatively low-powered built-in 2W speakers can easily overpower it and if you’re Bluetoothed to a more powerful audio system, it definitely won’t be an issue. But, if you’re just working in silence, it may occasionally distract you. That being said, it’s much quieter than many traditional video projectors I’ve seen (I’m looking at you, Epson!).
Portable, you say?
The Wemax Go Advanced is billed as a portable projector. This is due to the fact that it’s pretty tiny, despite its power output, and the fact that it has a built-in battery. It can also be kept constantly charged up while in use from an external USB-PD power bank – but you’ll need one capable of supplying at least 65W (20v at up to 3.5A).
The Wemax Go Advanced comes with an AC adapter that provides the 20v USB-PD signal, however, it has an American socket on it. Rather than using plug socket adapters, I chose to simply use my Ravpower 65W USB-PD charger. Needless to say, when the projector’s plugged in and pulling power, there isn’t much juice left for other devices, but it will continuously power the projector without issue.
It’s pretty chilly here in Scotland at the moment, so I haven’t been able to head out anywhere to give it a proper location test yet (I’m really looking forward to tying up a big white sheet between a couple of trees next time I go camping!). I had hoped to give it a quick spin in the back garden using the Wemax 50″ Advanced Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) screen but since the projector arrived we’ve had nothing but rain. So, here’s how it looks indoors with the regular room lights on.
The ALR screen isn’t included by default with the Wemax Go Advanced projector and is an optional extra. It certainly isn’t required, although it can make viewing in brighter conditions easier. As with all ALR screens, though, they have relatively low viewing angles. This is what allows them to keep a nice contrasty image even in brighter conditions – but only if you’re viewing from close to straight-on. If you’re viewing at odd angles, or you want to project to a room full of people, you’re best sticking with a standard white screen and simply turning off the lights.
The brightness and colour
The Advanced version projects a 1920×1080 full HD resolution image with 600 ANSI Lumens of brightness for a screen up to 120 inches along the diagonal. Yes, folks, a 10ft screen. Personally, I’ve only been able to measure it up to a 97.5″ screen (that’s how big the unbroken part of the wall is) but it looked great and was still putting out plenty enough brightness to see even in the shadows. Of course, the viewing angle wasn’t the best given that I was watching in bed.
This brightness at this size, though, was impressive to me and I wanted to see how it compared to my new monitors. Yes, the dead one (and my old main monitor) have now been replaced with a pair of 28″ 4K Philips displays. And, well, a 1080p projection that’s projecting to about a 53″ screen isn’t going to look as sharp as a 4K 28″ monitor, but it looks pretty damn good.
The colours appear a little bit off in this photograph between the monitor and the projection because light reflecting off a surface (the wall) is almost always going to look a little different to light being emitted (the monitors) when viewed from a camera. Also, I had a low power room light on for this photo so that the room didn’t descend into blackness around the displays. To my eye, they’re pretty much spot on with each other when the ambient room light is off.
Turning off the light and just shooting a photo of the projection onto the wall – yes, it’s embossed wallpaper but for general viewing of videos and movies, it isn’t really an issue – it looks very good. I had initially attempted to mount the ALR screen up to the wall and project onto that, but the viewing angle from my desk was too great to let me see anything easily. This will eventually be covered by a solid (and flat, not embossed) white background.
As you can see in the photograph above, the blacks and whites are exactly where they need to be and the colours appear very pleasing. It easily holds as much detail in both the shadows and the highlights as my 100% sRGB monitors and while a ~53″ projection is a pretty large display for 1080p resolution, it’s really not that bad to look at – even sitting as close to it as I do at my desk. And when sitting at a more appropriate viewing distance it’s very acceptable.
How about editing with a projector, though?
Editing video with three monitors instead of two might seem like overkill (and to some people, even editing on two seems overkill), but being able to always see a full-screen preview of your edit without having to constantly hit CTRL+F (or whatever the shortcut key is for your app) to bounce between full screen and windows mode is a massive timesaver. You don’t need to keep switching in and out of full-screen to move the play head and watch a clip or transition, because you’ve got both of them up on your displays all the time.
Aside from the workflow efficiency and even if, as in this case, the full-screen display isn’t the same resolution of your footage (the projector’s 1080p and I usually edit in 4K), you’re still going to get a good overall view of the final look of the video you’re editing without a UI in the way. Do note, though, that with DaVinci Resolve, this ability is not available in the free version. If you want a full-time full-screen view of your clips or edit without having to buy extra hardware, you’ll need DaVinci Resolve Studio.
While DaVinci Resolve has predefined layouts for multiple monitors, you can also expand other applications like Adobe Premiere Pro or After Effects out to multiple displays for the same purpose, too. Throwing all your bins and less used panels onto a second monitor and setting up the third as a full-screen preview will do wonders for your editing efficiency.
Is a third display essential? No, of course, it’s not. And even if you do go triple displays, it’s certainly not essential to have your third display be a projector. I wouldn’t blame you if you couldn’t justify the cost of a projector just as a full-screen preview for video editing. You can easily get by just fine editing on two screens. Switching in and out of full-screen as needed is pretty common in most editing workflows – or cramming the whole UI onto one screen and having your second display be the full-screen view.
But is it really really nice to be able to just queue up the timeline, sit back, relax and hit play to see how an edit is coming together with minimal effort while still having everything else easily at your fingertips on two other monitors? Hell yeah!
For editing photos, on the other hand, three monitors definitely aren’t essential. Even two is often more than you need unless one of them is a graphics tablet like a Wacom Cintiq or a Huion Kamvas – allowing you to zoom in on one while seeing the full image view on another. Two can also be useful for loading up reference images you’re trying to match on one screen while having Photoshop on the other. Or maybe you’re just the type of photographer that likes firing up YouTube or Netflix while you work, in which case an extra display can be quite handy. And when you don’t want to waste your computer’s resources running a third display, you can always stream to the Wemax Go Advanced from your phone or even use one of the built-in apps for YouTube, Plex, Netflix, etc.
The benefits of having a nice big full-screen preview for editing aside, as projectors go, the Wemax Go Advanced is pretty good – mostly. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times higher up, the one that I have is a pre-production unit and doesn’t have the final software on it yet, so there are a couple of features that don’t quite always work the way they should (like object avoidance), but the company assures me they’ll be fixed in the final firmware.
When it comes to the pros of this projector specifically, this thing is bright. In a dark room, you can easily send out a huge image in a relatively small space and get a very vibrant and contrasty image. And if you want to watch during the daylight hours without shutting your curtains, the 50″ ALR screen is fantastic to watch – assuming you can get yourself and the projector suitably positioned for the viewing angle.
The only real negative for me is a lack of 1/4-20″ socket underneath for easy mounting to something like a tripod – which would be invaluable if you’re regularly taking this out to random locations and you don’t know if you’ll have a desk to park it on. But this is are fairly minor negative. The lack of 1/4-20″ can easily be overcome with a dedicated stand.
Overall, my feelings towards the Wemax Go Advanced are largely very positive.
As I’ve said, a third display isn’t essential for editing video. It sure makes it a lot easier, but essential? No. And even if you do want a third display, it doesn’t need to be a projector, but if you’ve been considering getting a projector anyway, the Wemax Go Advanced is a pretty solid option – especially at the current $599 early bird price. It’s bright, contrasty, offers a lot of wired and online connectivity options and the 1.2:1 throw ratio means that you can get a big screen in a relatively small space.
The Wemax Go Advanced is currently available to back on Indiegogo for the early bird price of $599. Once it goes retail, it’ll be $1,198. Shipping is expected to begin in April 2022. The standard Wemax Go is currently $229 and that will become $598 when it goes retail. Shipping for the standard version is expected to begin in February 2022.