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Connex Lumen digital projector – Review

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The Connex Lumen digital projector

Is a projector costing half the price of an Epson any good? Justus Visagie tested the Connex Lumen to find out.

Purchasing a digital projector usually requires a significant expense. In South Africa, Japanese giant Seiko Epson dominates the local market with projectors costing around R6 500 and up. But increasingly affordable options have popped up in local shops, including a handful of projectors from Connex. We tested their mid-range Lumen model, to determine how useful and effective a projector of less than R4 000 can be.

Key specs and features of the Lumen

  • Resolution: High definition (HD) 1920×1080p (with image flip for upside-down mounting)
  • Projection size: 30 to 170 inches (0.76 to 4.32m)
  • Connects to sources via HDMI, USB, 3.5mm jack, WiFi and smartphone
  • Lamp type: LED 110W, 4 000 lumens, 50 000 hours lifespan
  • Remote control (with limited functions)
  • Equipped with a built-in speaker
  • Light and compact, measuring 260×210×102mm
  • Comes with small, tailor-made backpack

Purpose and purchase

I bought the Lumen projector mainly to teach grade 6-10 learners at a school in the Western Cape, showing slide presentations and films. This included the brilliant animated adaptation (from 1954) of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and the poem We real cool by Gwendolyn Brooks.

I ordered the Connex Lumen from Takealot, paying R3 819. It arrived three days later, securely packaged.

What’s in the box?

The box (which felt disappointingly light at first) contained the projector, remote, power cable, HDMI cable, a very short 3.5mm AV cable, a tiny ‘foot’ that screws into the base of the projector for elevation, and a small backpack that fits the projector perfectly.

Set-up and use

Going to the local Spar to buy two AAA batteries for the remote was the most time-consuming part of setting up! The rest was easy: remove the plastic bags and cable ties, and plug in the power cable. Plug in the HDMI cable (supplied) and connect to a laptop or DVD player. Press the power button on the projector or remote, and wait for it to warm up. Use the remote to select the source, and start presenting. Adjust the focus and press play on the source device. That is it.

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Wi-Fi and built-in speaker

One of the Lumen’s best features is its Wi-Fi capability. After downloading a casting app to my Oppo A53s smartphone, I opened a Microsoft PowerPoint slide-show that was saved on my Google Drive. With PowerPoint already installed, I simply opened the file and easily projected the slides, using the Lumen. Showing a YouTube video was just as easy.

I could only dim the light in the classroom slightly (there are no blinds), yet slides and images were detailed and the colours vivid enough. The built-in speaker made the narrator and music audible enough, and there was almost no sound distortion at top volume.

What we like about the Connex Lumen

There is a lot to like. It is relatively inexpensive, compact in size, does not weigh much, is easy to carry, has a built-in speaker, and it can connect wirelessly to compatible sources.

Where Connex can improve

The functions on the remote control unit should be repeated on the projector. The remote could break, go missing, or the batteries could go flat, possibly rendering the projector useless. Imagine the terror of standing before an audience expecting a presentation and you can’t select the relevant source, for example, HDM1 or USB2! The poorly-designed and ill-fitting lens cap also disappointed.

Conclusion and rating

The relative affordability of projectors like the Connex Lumen put them in reach of more people who wish to present a lecture or run a training session. It’s also perfect for having friends over for a movie night or to watch a big game, without the need for an expensive, large-screen television. I have decided to buy a spare remote from Connex’s distributor, SMD Technologies, for R274 including delivery. You can see the full specification list of the Lumen here.

The Connnex Lumen scores 4.5 out of 5.

4.0 out of 5.0 stars
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