The Asus ZenBeam Latte L1 is unlike any portable projector I have seen. It has an unusual coffee-mug design that looks more like a Bluetooth speaker. In fact, you can use it as a speaker. As a projector, it offers decent brightness, automatic keystone, and supports wireless projection. Hence, you can easily mirror the contents of your phone (iOS or Android) to the projector.
- 300 lumens brightness
- 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution
- Projection distance: 0.8m to 3.2m
- 6,000mAh battery (up to 3hr in Eco mode)
What's great about the Latte is its portability. At 585g, it's like holding a small Thermos flask. Its fabric finish should also blend well into most homes. The controls for the projector are at the top, but I prefer using the included remote control. At the base, there's a tripod mounting hole and a small two-step flap to tilt the projector for a better angle (only slightly). The Latte weighs more than some portable projectors like the ViewSonic M1+. But it is still handy enough to bring to your next outdoor party, thanks to the included carry pouch.
The Latte beams an image of between 40-inch (at 1m) and 120-inch (at 3.2m) at 720p. There's an HDMI port, a USB-A port, and an audio jack. It tops out at 300 lumens brightness in Presentation mode. At its maximum brightness, the screen is legible when projecting to a wall next to the window on a sunny day. However, the brightness drops significantly in battery-saving Eco mode. Asus says the Latte offers up to 3 hours usage on battery in Eco mode, which turns out to be accurate. It lasted just four mins shy of 3 hours in a video playback test, though I found Eco mode too dim for movies. When used as a Bluetooth speaker with the display off, Asus claims 12 hours of operation, though I did not test this. The 10W speaker sounds pleasant, but turns harsh when close to its fairly loud, maximum volume.
The Latte uses the Android mobile operating system, but with Asus' own custom launcher. This interface is straightforward, and comes with instructions on how to connect your phone for wireless projection. But it does not support the streaming of DRM video services such as Netflix from mobile devices. Instead, you can download Netflix as well as other video apps like YouTube from the preloaded third-party Aptoide app store (no Google Play Store). I couldn't get the Disney+ app to work, but Netflix was fine. I found it easier to just plug in my Chromecast with Google TV to the HDMI port instead. Of course, video playback at 720p is not as sharp as my TV, but the Latte gets the job done. Besides, how else am I going to watch videos while lying on my bed?
At $759, the Asus ZenBeam Latte L1 is more expensive than the portable projectors that we have tested. It offers decent brightness and resolution considering its size. It also has a unique design, and it can double as a Bluetooth speaker, too. It's available now at Shopee and Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Asus.
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