JMGO N1 Ultra Laser Speckle – Review Sample and Final Version ComparedJune 22, 2023
This is an early production run review sample of the JMGO N1 Ultra, and this is the mass market version that was shipped to Kickstarters and available on Amazon, and it’s time for an update on the unfortunate triple laser speckle situation.
Here’s a little backstory.
A month ago, I did a huge roundup of 4K lifestyle projectors, and in that video I concluded that despite the JMGO N1 Ultra’s total domination when it came to performance specs like brightness, contrast, and color space coverage, that the laser speckle caused by the JMGO’s triple laser light source was too significant for me to give it a full recommendation.
Since JMGO specifically included marketing about laser speckle reduction, hopeful comments piled up wondering if I had gotten a faulty unit and asking why no other early reviewers had mentioned any laser speckle issues, two things that I didn’t really have an answer to.
So fast forward to the present.
I got in touch with JMGO and I now have 2 different JMGO N1 Ultras to compare side-by-side. According to JMGO, the original review unit on the right was part of an early production run, and the new one on the left is from the mass market production batch that was sent out to Kickstarters and is now available on Amazon.
Physically they are almost identical, with good build quality and fitment and the only difference I can spot is that the early unit has a smooth textured grey plastic, while the mass production unit has a rougher surface.
Both units have the same set of options for picture adjustment, which are notably different than the options that were available for other reviewers who had access to the projector before the final firmware updates, and unfortunately now lack a “movie” or “cinema” mode which are typically the most color accurate modes on projectors and TVs.
I reran all my picture quality tests using the most accurate picture mode, “Standard,” on the new unit and I’m happy to report there is almost no difference in the performance of the old and new JMGO N1 Ultra as far as brightness, contrast, color gamut coverage, and color accuracy, meaning it’s great and it still blows any other similarly priced projector out of the water. In fact, every stat that I tested in my previous video was nearly identical between the two projectors.
But that’s also a bit of a problem, because unfortunately the new unit has an almost identical amount of laser speckle visible when using ambient light rejecting or contrast enhancing screens, which actually doesn’t appear to be surprising news. I had a zoom call with the Chief Product Officer in charge of the N1 Ultra at JMGO after my first video and he confirmed that ALR screens, which he described as containing metal particles, can cause increased amounts of laser speckle, and that some speckle when using that type of screen with a triple laser light source is somewhat unavoidable, but that using the correct screen material can make a big difference.
In my last video I concluded that the JMGO N1 Ultra is really best suited for projecting onto matte white walls or ceilings, and that recommendation hasn’t changed. However, if you do want to use a screen I did break out my material sample packs from Elite Screens, Vividstorm, Silver Ticket, and ProjectorScreen.com and tested over 50 different screen materials to see which reduced laser speckle the most, and here’s a chart of my results.
As you can see, hands down acoustically transparent material performed the best, with woven material performing slightly better than perforated material. White screens were better than gray screens in all cases, and screen gain between 1.0 and 1.2 was the best, and significantly reduced visible laser speckle to the point where it wasn’t noticeable or distracting from standard viewing distances. The downside of woven acoustically transparent screens is that they don’t block out light coming from behind them, and they slightly reduce image sharpness due to their texture, but ultimately that’s what alleviates the laser speckle problems, so in my opinion it is well worth the tradeoff. If you’re going to buy an N1 Ultra to use with a screen, I highly recommend selecting a screen material using this list and I’ve put links down in the description for the materials that reduced laser speckle the most in my testing.
I also recognize that different people’s eyes have different sensitivities for effects like DLP rainbow and triple laser speckle, which could explain why other reviewers didn’t spot it, but this isn’t my only triple laser projector, and it’s normally not an issue for me, but as a sanity check I did have a bunch of friends and family check out the image from the JMGO both on an ALR screen and a white screen, and 7 out of 8 of them immediately noticed something strange about the image on the ALR screen, and the one who didn’t was quickly able to see it when I described what he was looking for.
However, on the matte white 100” screen from a 10ft viewing distance only 1 out of the 8 people that I surveyed said they could still see the laser speckle when viewing normal content from a typical viewing distance, which is also in line with my personal observations.
In conclusion, the performance specs of the JMGO N1 Ultra are still absolutely insane for the $1100-1500 that Kickstarters paid and if laser speckle is an issue for you, it’s worth investing in the correct screen material to eliminate the problem.
If you’re looking for a highly portable, sharp, bright, projector with high resolution, great auto keystone and focus capabilities, a built in gimble stand, and very capable built in speakers, then the JMGO’s stats are better than any other projector on the market and may even be worth it’s full retail price of $2300 as long as you don’t have plans to use an ambient light rejecting screen.
I’ve got a link in the description to my much more in depth original review, as well as links to buy both the JMGO N1 Ultra itself and recommended screens for reducing laser speckle, and as always, I appreciate if you use those links since as an Amazon affiliate I do earn a small commission on the sale at no cost to you.
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