“With a projected screen size of up to 200 inches, a solid sound output, and the versatility of Android TV, the Jireno Cube 4 is worth every penny spent on it.”
- Stylish, durable, and lightweight
- Remarkable colors
- Hearty audio
- Option to sideload Android apps
- Not truly portable
- Older version of Android TV
Jireno, a Hong Kong-based brand that specializes in portable projectors, recently introduced a new compact and easy-to-wield projector called the Cube 4.
The Jireno Cube 4 features a tightly sealed metal chassis and can project a screen size of up to a whopping 200 inches. The more exciting part is that the Cube 4 comes preloaded with Android TV, which means you can prepare it for a movie marathon simply by connecting it to an internet source. It also features a solid built-in speaker that is loud enough for indoor as well as outdoor usage. The projector features metal buckles and a leather strap to carry it around easily.
The Jireno Cube 4 sports an output resolution of Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), but the company says it can decode 4K videos. That’s not the same thing as projecting at 4K resolution, of course, which is something to consider in regard to that “200 inches” claim. The projector also comes with 16GB of built-in storage, so there is ample space to download and store apps and files. It also sports basic input options, including USB Type-A, USB Type-C, and HDMI, allowing you to play videos or movies locally, without an internet connection.
There is one caveat to all this, however: the Cube 4 does not feature a rechargeable battery. That means even though its design permits you to carry it around and change its position, you will still need a power source to run it. So it’s “portable-ish.”
I have used the $289 Jireno Cube 4 for over a month now. Does its svelte design and dapper persona actually come with outstanding performance? We will find out in this review!
The Jireno Cube 4 sports a finely crafted aluminum body in space gray, and the company claims to use the same materialthats Apple does for the Mac Pro. The chassis measures 7.4 by 7.6 by 4.8 inches. The back and the lower half on the front of the projector have black fins that are presumably there to dissipate heat from the projector. The top half on the front is occupied by the projector’s lens, while the rear side features all the input ports. The projector also features dual fans that eject heat from the rear vents and get about as loud as the fan on my 13-inch MacBook Pro.
There is nothing on the sides other than an “04” logo to denote the projector’s name. Both sides have hooks to attach the leather strap included in the box. The top of the Cube 4 features a large power button, while the bottom has rubber feet and a screw mount to install the projector on a tripod stand or attach it from the ceiling.
The orange strap provides good contrast against the gray body of the Jireno Cube 4. It is made of leather and feels sturdy enough to handle the projector’s weight. Due to the thickness of the strap, however, wrapping it around the hooks can be a challenge. I ended up distressing the leather in the process of wrapping it around the pins, and while it doesn’t affect the durability, it does irk me every time it catches my attention. But leather does that.
The Cube 4 weighs around 2.2 kilograms (roughly 5 pounds), and it feels fairly light when you pick it up. Overall, Jireno appears to have done a great job in making the Cube 4 feel sturdy. Unfortunately, it does not come with any protection against water, which means you will have to be cautious about the weather while using it outdoors. Other than that, the Jireno Cube 4 easily impresses with its rugged and resilient build.
The Jireno Cube 4 is an LCD-based projector with a claimed brightness of 500 ANSI lumens, a unit of luminescence that is treated as the gold standard for measuring a projector’s brightness and is calculated by taking the mean of the brightness at different sections of the screen. Based on my usage, the Jireno Cube 4 felt very bright while projecting on a white concrete wall in the house at night. As expected, the display appears washed-out in daylight or under bright indoor lighting, and while the text is legible, the colors are softened beyond a point where it can be enjoyed. That is why it will be absolutely necessary to use the Jireno Cube 4 in low light, which is a fair expectation for a projector.
The Jireno Cube 4 puts out vibrant picture quality when in perfect darkness. The colors are bright and easily distinguishable, while the image is mostly sharp. The Cube 4 has a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Although Jireno claims the Cube 4 can project a screen size between 30 inches and 200 inches, I feel the image is sharp only up to the size of about 60 inches. Beyond that, sharpness begins to dilute. That’s a far cry from 200 inches, and smaller than many affordable TVs that offer far better picture quality.
The Jireno Cube 4 puts up vibrant picture quality with bright colors and a sharp image, but not at huge screen sizes.
If you have a large room with seating at a considerable distance (about 10 feet or more), then the fuzziness is not likely to be a big concern. But if you sit close to the screen, the crude image might bother you. Because of the Full HD resolution, the content from apps like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and the like will be capped at 1080p resolution, but the 4K decoding support will allow playing 4K videos on YouTube, as well as through physical sources such as a thumb drive or an external hard drive.
There is also HDR10+ support on the Cube 4, which means you can stream HDR videos on YouTube, Prime Video, and other services that support the standard.
The blurriness is perhaps the only exception to my overall fondness for the picture quality. As I mentioned, the colors look great and really pop on a white background. To ensure the image is as sharp as possible at any given distance, the Jireno Cube 4 also uses automatic focusing. It also comes with automatic keystone correction to adjust the skewed edges if the projector is not right in front of the screen or does not lie on a flat surface. In some instances, automatic keystone correction may still leave some room for improvement. That is why you also get the option to correct the dimensions manually for a perfect viewing experience. The display’s aspect ratio can be adjusted from 16:9 to 4:3 to avoid empty bands around the screen if you watch an older movie or TV show.
Jireno says the projector lamp will last up to 30,000 hours.
The Jireno Cube 4 comes with two 5-watt speakers, offering a combined output of 10W. The company claims it has specialized diaphragms for better resonation, leading to deeper bass and clear treble through the drivers. Jireno’s claims appear to be valid, with the speakers sounding very crisp and clear, even at high volumes. The speakers are sufficiently loud to fill up a roughly 200-square-foot room. Dialogue us delivered clearly, while the music output is appreciable in the high and mids frequencies and bass is decent.
In some instances, such as when the background score in a movie is very intense, the audio tends to get a bit muddy. Unless you are listening to a complicated piece of music or have a preference for specific nuances in the audio, you should feel satisfied with the audio quality of the Jireno Cube 4.
The Cube 4 also supports a playback mode that allows you to connect a device via Bluetooth and use it as a wireless speaker. You can also connect an external speaker to the Jireno projector if you already have a better audio setup and prefer it to the default speakers on the device. You can also plug your headphones or a speaker unit into the 3.5mm jack if you prefer.
Jireno offers a healthy number of input options on the Cube 4. It supports dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi-Fi. along with Bluetooth 5.0 for lag-free streaming and transmission. Built-in Wi-Fi and Android TV offer numerous possibilities for streaming media, but the availability of a USB Type-A port, a USB Type-C port, and an HDMI port extend these possibilities even further. Besides storage devices, you can attach media streaming devices like an Amazon Fire Stick or Chromecast using the HDMI port or even hook up a gaming console, laptop, or PC to enjoy content on a large and unrestricted screen.
The Jireno Cube 4 also sports an infrared receiver that lets you control the projector with the included remote control. You can also connect an air remote or a keyboard with a built-in trackpad such as the Logitech K400 Plus to elevate your experience.
Speaking of the remote control, the one that accompanies the Jireno Cube 4 can interact with the projector using infrared and Bluetooth. Using Bluetooth is preferable because it comes with lower latency, and you do not need to point the remote toward the projector to control it.
The remote control has a very ergonomic design. Above the directional pad, it features a power button, settings button, a Bluetooth playback mode button, and dedicated controls for focusing in and out on the screen. Underneath the D-pad, the remote has navigation buttons for going back and going home, along with a button for voice control. Under these three buttons is a horizontally stretched volume control. I find the layout very easy to use, with the horizontal volume controls being incredibly convenient.
The only minor gripe I have with the remote is that it needs two AAA batteries instead of using a rechargeable battery that would have made things much more convenient.
As mentioned above, the Jireno Cube 4 comes preloaded with Android TV 9.0. Because it runs Android, you can choose from innumerable apps and games to install and use on it. The projector also comes preloaded with the most popular entertainment apps, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play Movies & TV. Surprisingly, it still runs the older Android TV instead of the new discovery-focused interface similar to Google TV. Despite this shortcoming, opening already installed apps and discovering new ones is an effortless task.
What makes browsing even more accessible is the Amlogic T972 processor combined with 2GB of RAM. The duo offers ample processing power and a lag-free experience. You also get 16GB of onboard storage, which is sufficient for installing the majority of the popular streaming and entertainment apps through the Google Play Store. Android TV also facilitates the direct installation of apps that can be downloaded using the internet or sideloaded using an external USB drive.
The Jireno Cube 4’s mouse mode allows users to move a mouse cursor around via the direction pad on the remote control. This mode makes navigation very easy, especially on apps not natively supported by Android TV.
The mouse mode, along with the expansiveness of Android, leads to a comfortable user experience.
Speaking of apps that are not natively supported, the Jireno Cube 4 unit I received for review is not certified for Netflix and therefore does not run the version of the app intended for Android TV. Instead, it runs the version meant for tablets, and it is fairly cumbersome to control the app using the remote. In this case, the mouse mode makes navigating through the Netflix app much more manageable.
I have been informed by the Jireno team that the Netflix issue arises because the unit I received is a pre-production prototype. Jireno is working on getting official Netflix certification on commercial models, so people who purchase the Jireno Cube 4 will hopefully not have to grapple with the tablet version of Netflix.
The user interface is mostly stable, except for occasional app crashes, which are most likely to be blamed on the preproduction software. I hope that Jireno upgrades the projector to a newer version of Android TV, considering Google has already made Android TV 11 available.
The Jireno Cube 4 is available on Jireno’s website for $289. Shipping charges will be levied separately based on your location. Jireno also offers details on shipping charges and expected delivery time. You can also buy the Cube 4 on its Indiegogo page and take advantage of discounts on other related products such as an 84-inch projector screen, a carrying case, a tripod, and a 300W portable power station.
The Jireno Cube 4 is a stunner of a device, but what makes it more attractive is the incredible value it offers. At only $289, the Cube 4 brings a portable home theater to any location, whether indoors or outdoors (as long as you have a power outlet). The Jireno Cube 4 delivers remarkable picture and audio quality and has extensive options for connectivity. One of the most significant advantages is the availability of Android TV, which makes the Jireno Cube 4 capable as a stand-alone entertainment unit. The only issueI have is the lack of absolute portability, but it may be a little much to ask for it at this price.
Is there a better alternative?
There are a number of generic projectors with Android TV on Amazon priced lower than the Jireno Cube 4. But we cannot recommend these products owing to their lack of association with a brand name. The closest product that comes to the Jireno Cube 4 is the XGIMI MoGo Pro, which is an actual portable projector. It features a built-in battery that offers nearly two hours of playback time. But for this extra feature, you will have to shell out roughly $200 more for freedom from wires. Meanwhile, a portable projector from Xiaomi with similar specs will cost you $600.
How long with it last?
The aluminum shell gives me great confidence in the durability of the Cube 4. It is resistant to wear, and you are unlikely to see signs of aging in the form of fading color or scuffed finish. The only thing that could shorten the projector’s life is physical abuse or accidental damage.
What we can’t speak to yet is software updates. As is the case with this sort of product, we’ll have to wait and see.
As for the lamp, Jireno claims 40,000 hours of playback throughout its life span, which means it will survive about 27 years if one uses the projector for four hours every day without a break.
Should you buy it?
The Jireno Cube 4 is well worth the money if you are in the market for an affordable yet powerful projector that is easy to carry around with you on vacations or visits to friends. Its clear picture and crisp sound is perfect for large gatherings. And if you like to tread solo, the Cube 4 is a great entertainment device and a reliable companion for your laptop or gaming console thanks to its versatile connectivity options.
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