Formovie Theater review: A formidable $3,000 Dolby Vision UST projector

On the one hand, Extremely Quick Throw (UST) projectors provide a top-notch residence theater expertise at a fraction the price of a comparably sized TV. On the opposite, options like Dolby Imaginative and prescient that you simply count on on an excellent 4K TV are nowhere to be discovered on any projectors, UST or in any other case.

That simply modified with the launch of the Formovie Theater residence projector. At a avenue worth of $3,000, you rise up to a 150-inch image, a triple-laser 4K DLP projector with Dolby Imaginative and prescient, Dolby Atmos, audio system tuned by Bowers & Wilkins and Android TV. With Formovie’s shade administration system, it additionally guarantees shade accuracy we’ve solely seen on $5,000+ fashions like Samsung’s Premiere.

Formovie Theater


  • Dolby Imaginative and prescient
  • Nice brightness and distinction
  • Straightforward setup
  • Android TV
  • Good built-in audio system


  • Netflix app doesn work
  • Fan a bit noisy

I’ve had an opportunity to check the Formovie Theater in a wide range of eventualities, together with Netflix, Prime, Disney+ and different streaming providers together with a Blu-ray UltraHD participant. Chopping to the chase, it was very spectacular, other than one or two points.

Design and options

Formovie Theater UST projector

Steve Dent/Engadget

Although you could have by no means heard the identify Formovie, it’s a three way partnership between two better-known entities, Xiaomi and Appotronics. The latter makes the ALPD laser engines utilized in numerous projectors, together with Barco business movie show fashions. The Formovie Theater relies on the Fengmi T1 offered in China, however provides Dolby Imaginative and prescient and a shade administration system (CMS).

It has a nice-looking, discreet design that will match into most residing rooms. The oblong dark-gray-and-black physique is comparatively small, with a pair of fabric-covered important audio system on the entrance and two tweeters on the facet. As normal on UST projectors, the triple-laser mild supply and lens component are situated in a trough on the high, with a sensor designed to close off the highly effective mild must you poke your head in entrance of it (which I did, a number of instances). It’s cooled by a fan that may be mildly distracting throughout very quiet passages.

It makes use of a 0.47-inch Texas Devices XP DLP chip with a 1080p native decision and 4X pixel shifting that successfully delivers a real 4K picture. With 2,800 lumens of sunshine energy, it’s within the mid-to-upper-range of UST brightness ranges. The triple laser permits it to cowl 113 % of the Rec 709 and 107 % of the HDR BT.2020 shade gamuts, whereas delivering a superb 3,000:1 distinction ratio.

It additionally eliminates the rainbow impact that occurs with single lasers and a shade wheel. The $3,300 Hisense PX1-Professional and $3,500 Vava Chroma are among the few different fashions on this worth vary with a triple laser engine – others (LG’s CineBeam HU915QB, the Samsung LSP9T and AWOL Imaginative and prescient LTV-3500) are $5,000 and up.

Formovie Theater Projector

Steve Dent/Engadget

The Formovie Theater can be the one mannequin on the market within the US with official Dolby Imaginative and prescient certification. As you in all probability know, Dolby Imaginative and prescient is a complicated type of HDR (excessive dynamic vary) that makes use of dynamic metadata programmed by content material creators on a frame-by-frame foundation. To that finish, brightness, shade and distinction ranges are typically superior to the HDR10 discovered on most projectors.

Understand that projectors, even the newest UST fashions, typically aren’t as shiny as 4K TVs – so that you lose some impression of Dolby Imaginative and prescient. Nonetheless, the Formovie can show extra colours than any TV and even most displays on the market, so that you do get the HDR advantage of a large gamut and billions of colours. Different fashions like Samsung’s Premiere assist HDR10+, which has similarities to Dolby Imaginative and prescient however a lot much less broadly supported.

One other key function is Android TV 11.0 assist. Not like with another projectors, it helps 4K and Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR streaming, so you will get essentially the most out of Disney+, Apple TV+ and different supported providers. It additionally comes with YouTube and quite a few different apps, together with Google Assistant voice management. And also you get a good distant to entry all that content material, modify image settings and extra.

You’ll discover that I didn’t point out Netflix there. Because it stands, the Netflix app isn’t supported by Formovie’s Android TV implementation. “Presently we’re negotiating with the Netflix workforce, nonetheless, we won’t commit that Netflix will work on our gadget within the close to future,” a spokesperson instructed me. Positive, you should use a $30-50 4K streaming stick, which I did, nevertheless it’s unlucky that the world’s hottest streaming service isn’t obtainable natively.

Formovie Theater review: A formidable $3,000 Dolby Vision UST projector

Steve Dent/Engadget

Apart from that, nonetheless, the Android TV expertise is sweet, with each different streaming app (Disney+, Prime Video, YouTube, and so on.) working properly. It has Chromecast built-in so you’ll be able to solid out of your telephone, pill or PC. The distant is fundamental however practical, with devoted buttons for YouTube and Google Assistant. The latter could be activated by the same old “Hey, Google” command that’s picked up by the projector’s far-field microphone.

In any case, Formovie remains to be forward of some rivals when it comes to its good TV implementation. Optoma’s newest UST projector, the CinemaX D2, solely presents good TV options by way of an exterior dongle, for which they cost a cool $200.

It comes with three HDMI inputs on the again, together with one with eARC enhanced audio capabilities. It additionally presents SPDIF digital output, a 3.5mm line out, two USB-A ports and an ethernet enter. The 42-millisecond lag time (in line with Projector Central), is adequate for mild gaming, however not something past that.

Lastly, the Formovie Theater has a reasonably spectacular audio implementation. The built-in audio system are tuned by HiFi firm Bower & Wilkins, and it helps Dolby Atmos encompass sound if in case you have a appropriate soundbar or 5.1 system.

Picture and sound high quality

Formovie projector review

Steve Dent/engadget

Organising the Formovie Projector was pretty easy on my 100-inch ALR display. At that dimension, the underside of the display sits 14.6 inches from the underside of the projector at a distance of simply 9 inches away. As soon as the projector is roughly in place, you employ the thumbwheel controls on the toes to degree it entrance to again and facet to facet. It’s finest to keep away from keystone correction as it may well distort the image, nevertheless it’s there if wanted. Some focus adjustment could also be required the primary time you employ it, nevertheless it’s finest to attend till the projector has warmed up.

I had excessive expectations for the Formovie Theater’s picture high quality, and I wasn’t dissatisfied. I began by testing it in an setting with daylight coming in to see how it could operate as a TV substitute.

With simply “Film” mode chosen in SDR (commonplace dynamic vary) mode, I noticed a vibrant 4K picture with natural-looking colours and correct pores and skin tones. Sharpness was good, although not fairly as much as what I’ve seen with Samsung’s way more costly Premiere fashions. It’s possible that the lens (a crucial piece of substances on a UST projector) isn’t fairly nearly as good, although one thing clearly has to provide on a projector costing lower than half as a lot.

Coloration accuracy is decrease “Sport” or “Vivid” modes, however they provide essentially the most brightness and highest distinction ranges, properly over 3,000:1 – one of the best of any UST projector. So these are good settings for watching common cable TV, sports activities and so forth, even with a good quantity of ambient mild coming in. Different settings embody “Normal,” “Recreation” and “Youngster,” designed to work properly for youths’ exhibits and cartoons.

Formovie Theater UST projector

Steve Dent/Engadget

Subsequent, I converted to Dolby Imaginative and prescient mode, with the projector displaying the Dolby Imaginative and prescient emblem when it detects a supply. I discovered it finest to make use of this mode with the room as darkish as potential.

I watched desaturated scenes of Netflix’s Queen’s Gambit, detailed segments in Prime Video’s LOTR: Rings of Energy and the intense and punchy F1: Drive to Survive from Netflix. I additionally watched MIB Worldwide, Thor: Ragnarok, Loki, and different motion pictures and sequence, together with Aquaman and Earth on Blu-ray UltraHD.

Proper out of the field, colours in Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR mode appeared correct by way of a wide range of sources, with a lot better element within the shadows and shiny sections than in SDR mode. Colourful scenes in MIB Worldwide and Earth confirmed off the big selection of colours and gamut obtainable. Pores and skin tones had been pleasing and colours typically appeared correct. Nonetheless, distinction was barely lowered in comparison with the SDR. One other very small challenge is that very shiny scenes lacked element, probably as a result of the projector isn’t tone-mapping them appropriately.

I additionally checked out HDR10 content material from Prime Video (which principally helps HDR10 and HDR10+, and presents only a few Dolby Imaginative and prescient exhibits), together with Bosch and The Boys, together with some 4K HDR10 YouTube content material from Thriller Field. Once more, All the pieces appeared very punchy and shiny, with colours that appeared to come out of the display.

Formovie projector review

Steve Dent/Engadget

The Formovie Theater has a slight blue bias out of the field, nevertheless it has a wide selection of controls to right that (white steadiness, grayscale and a Coloration Administration System). Utilizing an Xrite i1 Show Professional, I used to be in a position to get an almost excellent white degree, however frankly, it was a tiny adjustment – one thing exhausting to see by eye. Nonetheless, you need to undoubtedly activate the “Coloration Area” mode (it’s off by default) or it gained’t learn the right gamut out of your supply.

As for audio high quality, the Formovie’s sound was crisp and freed from any distortion, matching some soundbars I’ve heard. Dialogue was clear, whether or not from deep or excessive voices, so I by no means missed any key moments. It even presents good soundstage that tasks out to fill out the massive display.

It lacked bass as you’d count on, however total, sound was surprisingly good for built-in audio system. I’d think about that most individuals springing for a product like this could additionally spend money on a 5.1 residence theater setup to get one of the best out of the projector’s Dolby Atmos assist – however the Formovie’s audio system do the job very properly in the event you don’t.


Formovie projector review

Steve Dent/Engadget

The $3,000 Formovie Theater presents options and picture high quality not present in some other UST projector even remotely on this worth vary. With a triple-laser engine and Dolby Imaginative and prescient, it delivers a shiny image, excessive distinction and correct colours. And in the event you’re not fairly glad with the image proper out of the field, there are a variety of controls to regulate and calibrate it.

Whenever you’re not in film purist mode, it’s additionally an amazing projector to make use of with some daylight streaming in for sports activities and common TV. And the audio capabilities are a powerful bonus, providing you with a really minimalist setup in the event you don’t really feel like splurging on a 5.1 encompass sound system. The principle disadvantages are the shortage of Netflix assist and a barely noisy fan.

Better of all, the pricing is on the low finish for a UST projector, and spending an additional couple of thousand {dollars} doesn’t offer you much more. Actually, in the event you really need Dolby Imaginative and prescient, the Formovie Theater is the one UST projector choice obtainable.

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