The out-of-the-box color on the M7 is good, even when compared to some other full-size DLP projectors at a higher price point. I suspect this is due to the M7's Osram Quad Cast LED light source. The M7's four Picture modes are Dynamic, Standard, Movie, User. They affect contrast, brightness, color, sharpness, and tint.
Each Picture mode can be adjusted further by selecting one of the projectors Color modes which can change the assigned values for Red, Green, and Blue (RGB).
In the gallery below are examples of the four Picture modes.
The images above provide a general idea of color accuracy. However, the actual colors that I saw during my evaluation are slightly less exaggerated than in the photos above.
From the images above, you can see the modes aren't dramatically different in terms of color. However, there are slight variations in color saturation and color temperature. For instance, from Mild to Dynamic mode, I could see that greens and magentas became a tad brighter than they were in the User or Standard Modes. While Dynamic mode was the brightness, the colors were the least accurate. The Standard mode provided the best compromise between brightness and color accuracy.
The best balance between color and brightness was in the pairing of Standard picture mode and Standard lamp mode. On my sample of the AAXA M7, the default lamp setting is Standard. If you don't have full control of ambient light in your projection space then increase the lamp output to Boost while leaving the projector in Standard mode. This kicks up the brightness significantly without completely sacrificing color accuracy. If you are going for maximum brightness change the mode to Dynamic mode and leave the lamp mode set to Boost. Your image will move more toward a greenish-blue hue but will push the projector to output the highest level of brightness.
AAXA rates the brightness of the M7 at 1,200 LED lumens and they do not provide ANSI lumen measurement. AAXA rates the M7 in LED lumens. Many manufacturers of Pico projectors have begun using the term LED lumens, which should not be confused with ANSI lumens which is the industry standard.
We took the time to measure its ANSI brightness but just remember that LED projectors do appear brighter than their measured ANSI lumens would indicate. The M7 was more than bright enough for all the different environments in which I tested it.
To measure brightness, I took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens.
Everything on this projector is wide zoom. To achieve maximum brightness I put the projector in Dynamic mode with a Lamp mode of Boost. The M7 measured 626 ANSI lumens which are quite good for a portable projector of its size. I measured the remaining Image modes and my measurements are below.
The M7 comes out-of-the-box in Standard Lamp Mode for all 4 Picture settings. The measurements below reflect our suggested lamp and picture mode settings. Obviously, you can adjust as you see fit.
Brightness (ANSI Lumens)
626 Lumens in Boost Lamp Mode
469 Lumens in Std Lamp Mode
151 Lumens in Eco Lamp Mode
To achieve it maximum rated brightness of 1200 LED Lumens the M7 must be plugged in. When running on the battery the projector's maximum rated brightness drops by 50% to 600 ANSI lumens. In addition, there are also three different lamp power modes. I'm not really counting the User mode since it appears to be identical to Standard mode on my sample.
Brightness (ANSI Lumens)
510 Lumens - This is almost a 19% drop in brightness
175 Lumens - This is almost a 74% drop in brightness
To see the difference in light output only I chose the M7 Dynamic preset mode measured the light output in Boost, Standard, and ECO lamp modes in order to calculate the Lumens percentage difference listed in the chart above.
Let me start by saying that I don't think any informed buyer would expect a $488.00 Pico projector to have the most accurate, out-of-the-box colors. I know I didn't. That said, the AAXA M7 does an overall good job with skin tones. It was easy to make additional adjustments to the picture using the M7 color modes.
Animated movies viewed on the AAXA M7 look vibrant with colors that pop. When it comes to television or film content the color is vibrant. Unfortunately, when it comes to contrast, blacks tend to get crushed. Don't expect to get amazing results like you would from a much more expensive projector. It is only possible to improve shadow detail so much. In the end, I don't think that contrast will be a deal-breaker for the customer who chooses this projector.
The AAXA M7 comes equipped with two 4-watt speakers placed side by side on the right side of the projector. This positioning is not optimal for good stereo reproduction. I found the sound these speakers produced, especially in the movies that I watched, to be lacking. The speakers might be loud enough for a small audience but I recommend connecting the M7 to external audio via the included 3.5-inch audio jack.
AAXA lists the M7 audible noise at 30 dB in standard mode. In Boost mode, the fan noise is a lot louder than 30 dB. I could hear the M7 fan very clearly as I watched movies and shows and I found it annoying. If you turn the projector lamp mode to Standard the fan noise becomes more bearable. Eco mode is practically silent but, in this mode, you lose almost eighty percent of the projector’s brightness.
Will this be a problem for the buyer? I think it depends on how they use it. If the M7 is being used as an on-the-go projector then I don’t think so. If it’s being used as a bedroom projector maybe it will be an issue especially if the M7 is running in Boost mode. My recommendation is to set the Lamp mode to Standard and fan noise becomes more manageable without sacrificing a large amount of brightness.