I provide honest ratings and reviews on tech, toys, and consumer home goods that I've purchased and used. Reviews are based on hands-on testing and personal observations. All opinions and comments are my own.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Ragu Z400 Mini LED Projector Review

Ragu Z400 Mini LED Projector Review

Buy it on Amazon: Ragu Z400 Mini LED Projector [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Decent SD resolution, loud but boxy audio, USB can't power some TV sticks like Chromecast.

You’ll receive the projector, remote control, 5 ft power cable, 5 ft HDMI cable, RCA input cable, and an instruction manual. The projector is compact and light, weighing a little less than 2 lbs. It measures 7.5”W x 5.75”L x 3”H. On the front of the projector is the lens which comes with a plastic snap-on lens cap. The lens is 2.25” in diameter. On the right side of the unit are the ports. There’s a full size SD card slot, AV input, audio out, HDMI in, USB input, and USB out for charging a device. On the back is the remote control IR receiver, VGA input and power port. On the bottom of the unit there’s a screwfoot that can add about 1/2” of tilt which can also fully retract for level viewing. There’s also a 1/4” mounting hole for a standard tripod, which I prefer to use.

On top are the controls. You have the power button, input selector, return or exit key, menu selection arrows and OK button. The remote has additional keys and functions like playback controls, volume, menu, and mute. The remote requires 2 AAA batteries which are not included. Just behind the lens are two dials. The first, larger one, controls the image focus while the second smaller one is the keystone for adjusting focus pitch when the projector is projecting at an angle. The power cable for this unit tends to be too short to reach most outlets, so I typically need to run an extension cord. I mostly use this on a tripod, so I can place the projector anywhere in the room to control the size and height of the screen be changing the distance from the wall/screen. The 1200 lumens isn’t all that bright, so you’ll need really dark conditions to see the screen clearly.

The HDMI and other input methods seemed to work fine, but I found that the USB port can’t read my USB 3.0 thumb drives. Also, the USB ports didn’t provide enough power to run my Chromecast, which would power on initially but couldn't stay on. Since the remote control is infrared, it only works if you’re pointing at the receiver on the back. It won’t work from in front of the projector. While this projector accepts input resolutions up to 1080p HD, the native output resolution is only 800 x 480p which is standard definition, so higher quality video will be downscaled. At larger projected screen sizes, the pixels can be really obvious.

I was actually surprised at how loud the volume could get on this unit. It does sound sort of boxy and distorts at higher volumes, and it competes with the internal fan that can be quite loud. Using an external speaker hooked up to the headphone port improves the sound and makes it easier to drown out the fan noise. Overall, the contrast and color saturation appeared accurate to the source footage but wasn’t very deep or rich. Sometimes images looked a bit washed out or faded or perhaps too dim/dark. However, this entry-level projector works fine for a family movie night with the kids so you can watch theater style movies at home or even outdoors. It’s also fine for running slideshows at parties. Text can be a bit tricky depending on the size (though large captions were fine) so I don't recommend it for business presentations or powerpoint.

Buy it on Amazon: Ragu Z400 Mini LED Projector [Affiliate Link]
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6 comments:

  1. Please help! I'm a middle school teacher. I bought this with my own money so its not the top of the line. When I hooked this up to my computer the image projects as a rectangular image and not a square image. It is very wide and looks awful. What do I need to do to fix this? Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This projector defaults to project an aspect ratio of 16:9 for wide screen movies, but it can be change to the standard "square" format of 4:3 ratio. To change the aspect ratio, use the remote and press the 'Settings' key, it look like three horizontal lines and is below the directional arrow buttons. This will open up the settings menu and the 3rd option should be 'Aspect Ratio' set to 'Auto' by default. Move down to highlight this menu option by pressing the down arrow key on the remote, then press 'OK'. Then move the selection down to highlight select the option 4:3 and press 'OK'. Press the menu key to exit out of the settings. I hope this works for you and solves your problem!

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  2. Also, what do all the buttons on the remote do? There was no manual in the box when I received this items.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the remote, the red top-left button is for power. The top-right button with the speaker icon and 'x' is for mute. In the next row, the double left-arrows and double right-arrows are rewind and fast-forward respectively while the button in the middle is play/pause. The circular wheel has 5 keys, up, down, left, and right for menu navigation and option selection while the buttin in the center is 'OK' to confirm menu selections. In the next row the curved arrow like a sideways U-turn symbol is the 'Back' button, the three-lines is the menu key, and the third button brings up the menu to change the input source (e.g. VGA, HDMI, USB, etc.) The plus and minus keys in the last row are for volume up and down.

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  3. Yo!? Nothing g on how to update via USB I take it??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, sorry. I think I replied to the comment on YouTube, but I'll re-post it here. I think there might be an option for updating via USB in the settings menus (possible called Software Update (USB). I can't verify because I gave the Z400 projector away when I upgraded to a different model. I did update a similar projector a few years ago in my video here: https://youtu.be/IAcpO4HFlpU?t=2m though I don't really talk through the steps, but you can see the menu screens I go through if you slow down the video (use the playback settings on YouTube)

      If you can't find the update option there, that usually means the projector will automatically detect the software update upon powering up if the new software package is loaded to the root directory on the USB drive and inserted into USB slot 1. However, if that doesn't work for you, I'd reach out to the manufacturer for more details: http://www.raguofficial.com/index.php?route=information/contact At any rate, you'd have to get your hands on the new firmware/software file first which, unless you have a custom ROM from a public source, you'd likely have to get from the manufacturer anyway.

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