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Verdict

The Dangbei Atom is a small premium projector that punches well above its size class, with good image quality, a manageable weight and mostly intuitive Google TV software. But for some more ports and settings tweaks it would be the best small projector in its price class.

Pros

  • Good brightness
  • Strong picture quality
  • Can adapt to most home setups

Cons

  • Hard to access key adjustment features
  • Not as portable as some small projectors
  • No kickstand

Key Features

  • Google TVSupports Google’s interface with built-in Netflix
  • Laser projectionProduces 1200 ANSI lumens of brightness
  • HDR supportCan play HDR10 and HLG content

Introduction

The right projector for the right person is a nice idea. You have a need and there’s a device out there that exactly fits it for a price point that’s kind to the wallet.

Coming across said device is another matter altogether however. You’ll find big options, small options, expensive options, bright options, portable options, budget options, but never something that combines every feature you might need. Perfection comes at a price, or at least it used to.

With the Atom, Chinese firm Dangbei is trying to be all things to all comers, though with the proviso that it is focussed on indoor use. It promises to be small enough to fit into any setup, bright enough to be used in a variety of lighting conditions and simple enough that it can be used by anyone. 

That last point is key, this is the first projector from Dangbei which runs Google TV as opposed to its own custom flavour of Android. That means it has access to almost every streaming service and an interface focussed on curated content rather than specific apps.

There is of course competition and plenty of it, from the likes of Anker, XGIMI and Samsung in particular. Beyond that, there’s also danger in trying to be all things to all comers. So the question is, does the Dangbei Atom do enough to earn a place in your home setup?

Design

  • Premium looks
  • Isn’t heavy but has enough heft
  • Can’t cast bluetooth audio

There’s no shortage of premium projectors on the market that deliver excellent image quality, but there’s usually a trade-off in terms of size. Those which produce a bright image are often bigger, and those few which manage to be bright and small are typically so expensive that they rival the price of a used car.

With the Atom, Dangbei is trying to right that situation, to create something powerful and pint-sized that’s still premium without also being pricey.

On first glance it certainly makes for an interesting impression. A small grey box with rounded corners, it looked like an inflated Apple TV rather than a projector. At 195 x 195 x 47mm, it is small, surprisingly so, and as a consequence should fit into any home setup easily.

Dangbei Atom with remote
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The small size and weight (1.3kg) hold another big advantage, if you want to put this on a tripod you’ll find a larger range of options available. Many tripods that can support a light camera will also be able to support this.

Moving around the sides, there’s an HDMI slot, a barrel-pin connector for power, a USB-A slot and a 3.5mm audio out. It isn’t the most versatile array of ports available, but it does the trick. It would have been nice to have another HDMI connector, and/or a USB-C port. The latter isn’t widespread among projectors, but would have been a nice bit of futureproofing, and especially for charging.

One thing to note, although this is a small projector, it isn’t necessarily portable, meaning if you want to travel with it, it doesn’t have a battery pack. If you want to watch in the garden, you’ll need to daisy-chain extension cords or bring a battery pack capable of taking a three prong plug.

Dangbei Atom makeshift kickstand
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Atom is constructed entirely from black plastic and has a premium heft to it, feeling worth the price of entry. Concealed within are two 5W speakers too, which do a decent job of filling a small room but which won’t trouble a dedicated soundbar.

There’s a tripod mount on the bottom, and a series of fan vents all around, which in operation were never too loud.

So although the Atom doesn’t have the instant wow appeal of the likes of the Samsung Freestyle, it is a sensible, attractively designed projector with a profile that makes it supremely adaptable within the home, with the caveat that you won’t be taking it outside.

Features

  • Built-in casting options
  • Google TV installed by default
  • Has full Google TV store access

So beyond design, what makes the Atom special? Two words: Google TV. That is to say, this is the first projector from Dangbei that doesn’t come with the firm’s own version of Android baked in. Instead, it has an interface and software direct from Google. That means direct access to all apps available on the Google store, with all of the richness that entails.

Whereas before you were stuck with Prime Video and Netflix on Dangbei projectors, with the Atom there’s no limit to the streaming services that you can add. Disney, Apple TV, Paramount, everything which was once impossible is now fair game. There’s also certain games that can be put up, and even an internet browser.

Dangbei Atom projected screen
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

What’s best however is that content is put front and centre. Instead of the mental gymnastics of “I want to watch X, which of the 13 streaming services is that on?”, Google TV puts the shows and movies first, making them much easier to access. There are some limitations, but on the whole it is a better way to structure a user interface than some provide.

Where issues come is in accessing important settings. Google TV, as the name suggests, is built around the concept of a TV. So when accessing functions specific to a projector, you begin to encounter issues. Take keystoning and focussing, an important part of projector set up. Instead of being available easily through the main interface, they are a buried option in ‘Advanced settings’. They aren’t impossible to access, but the relative difficulty in doing so shows they weren’t a first priority.

As might be expected, given that it is Google TV, casting to the Atom is a simple process and effective.

Performance

  • No kickstand included
  • 1080p resolution
  • Laser tech

With a body as slim as the Dangbei Atom, usually compromises come in tow. The most typical is brightness, most often a small projector, no matter the price, can’t compete with direct sunlight.

The Dangbei Atom can reach a maximum theoretical brightness of 1200 ISO lumens, however I have to take this claim with a pinch of salt. ISO lumens aren’t the same as ANSI lumens, translating to roughly 0.8 ANSI lumens. So where we see 1200, we should read 960 ANSI lumens. This is still a strong showing for a small and relatively budget projector.

Though it won’t compete with direct sunlight well, it puts in a better showing than most portable options. With the curtains drawn, it shines bright and produces a clear picture that is mostly devoid of shadow noise. It produces nicely saturated colours which don’t go overboard, and the resolution of 1080p is great up to 80 inches in particular.

Dangbei Atom on a chair
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Keystoning and focus, once you have found them in the requisite sub-menu, are quick and confident. The fans work quietly for the most part, and input lag was mostly kept to a minimum, but with the proviso this isn’t a gaming projector.

One thing to note, though the Atom is portable, it doesn’t have a kickstand like the Emotn N1. As such, to position it to your liking it is recommended to use a tripod.

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Should you buy it?

If you are looking for a small and versatile projector

The Atom is small enough to fit into most home setups with ease and offers great image quality.

You need a powerful projector

Though the Atom offers a lot of brightness for its body size, there’s others which offer a lot more, and sometimes for a smaller price.

Final Thoughts

There’s no one projector which is the complete package, everything to everyone, but the Dangbei Atom comes closer than many. Its portable proportions make it easy to move around the home and fit to a large variety of tripods, and it has enough brightness to tackle even more difficult lighting conditions. With Google TV installed it has access to a panoply of apps and for the most part performance is fast enough not to cause issues.

Sure, it could use more ports and the option of even using an external battery would have been appreciated, but for the price of entry this is a resoundingly accomplished projector that should likely be a default option for many, and as such earns our recommendation.

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We test every projector we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

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Tested with real world use

Tested over several weeks

FAQs

How long can the laser in the Dangbei Atom last for?

According to Dangbei, the laser source can last for up to 30,000 hours of use.

Full specs

USA RRP
Manufacturer
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Release Date
Resolution
Projector Type
Brightness Lumens
Lamp Life
Max Image Size
HDR
Types of HDR
Ports
Audio (Power output)
Display Technology
Projector Display Technology
Throw Ratio

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