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Dangbei Emotn N1 review: A compact 1080p projector that gives you decent bang for your buck

Our Rating :
£259.00 from
Price when reviewed : £299
inc VAT

It’s not the brightest and colour performance could be better, but the Emotn N1 gives you enjoyable pictures and sound for a bargain price


  • Easy to use
  • Good 1080p picture with natural colours
  • Netflix and Amazon Prime Video work smoothly


  • Limited app selection
  • Restricted colour gamut

Budget projectors from smaller Chinese brands used to have a fairly bad name. While the prices and sometimes the specs looked tempting, the harsh reality was poor contrast and low brightness levels, dreadful colour performance, poor optics and low resolutions.

The Emotn N1 is a good indicator of how much things have changed. While image quality still leaves some room for improvement, you’re getting a watchable picture, built-in streaming and workable sound for under £300. If you’re on a limited budget, these aren’t things that you can take for granted.

Dangbei Emotn N1 review: What do you get for the money?

The Emotn N1 has a list price of £299 but costs £259 at the time of writing. That outlay gets you a compact 1080p projector with built-in streaming and Dolby Audio 2x 5W stereo sound. It uses an LED light source with a 500 ANSI Lumens output and – unusually – is baked on LCD technology rather than the DLP tech normally found at this price. It includes automatic focus and trapezoidal corrections and, thanks to a 1.25:1 throw ratio, can give you a 60 to 120in image from roughly 2m to 3.8m away.

It’s a good-looking little blighter available in grey or white plastic casings and measures 12.5 x 18.2 x 20cm (WDH). It’s not silent in use, but it’s reasonably quiet, and Emotn earns some extra credit by including a fold-out prop on the bottom to point it upwards at an angle. This means you can use it on the floor or a low coffee table without needing to prop it up on a bunch of books, though much will depend on your screen and how and where it’s mounted. There’s also a fitting for a tripod if you need to place it higher.

The Emotn N1 does things a little differently on the streaming front. Normally I’d expect a custom version of Google’s Android TV or Google TV software with a handful of apps, with more available through the Google Play Store. The Emotn N1, however, features its own, spartan but functional home screen with Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube apps pre-installed. There’s only a very basic app store with a small selection of apps you’ve never heard of – if you do decide to look for anything more. Plex is as good as it gets.

This means there’s no support for Disney+, NowTV or the BBC iPlayer, not to mention ITVX, Paramount TV, Channel 4 or anything else. However, the versions of Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime installed are stock versions built for TV use, not the hacked-together efforts we’ve seen on some other budget projectors. As such, they work exactly as they should.

Plus, should you need more apps, you can always connect a streaming stick to the HDMI input at the rear, where you’ll also find a USB Type-A port, an Ethernet port and a 3.5 mm audio line-out.

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Dangbei Emotn N1 review: What does it do well?

The Emotion N1 keeps things simple. There’s no complicated setup routine; you just enter your sign-in details when you launch each app for the first time, and use the auto-focus, auto-zoom and auto-keystoning features to get your image straight and sharp. A perfectly functional remote with preset buttons for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube is included, and if those services are all you want to watch you don’t need to worry about anything more.

You can tweak the picture manually, but the automatic settings do a fine job as is, though you may occasionally need to adjust one corner or tighten up the focus just one notch. And while there are a set of picture presets, and even a custom preset with more advanced colour controls, I didn’t find the differences that profound. You can pretty much leave it on Vivid, Cinema or Standard, start up your chosen app and just enjoy.

The image has its faults. With just 500 ANSI Lumens to work with, you’re not going to get the kind of contrast, clarity and vibrant colour you might see on more expensive models like the Epson CO-FH02 or the XGIMI Halo+. The picture is visible in ambient lighting, but only really watchable in a dark room. Meanwhile, colour performance is visibly poorer than on pricier compact projectors like the Anker Nebula Capsule 3 and XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro. It covers less than 50% of the sRGB colour gamut (47% to be exact).

This doesn’t sound great, but here’s the thing: the Emotn N1 still produces a watchable and even enjoyable image. Colours look natural, there’s plenty of detail and motion is nice and smooth without looking artificial. I wouldn’t get excited about talk of HDR10 support – there’s not enough brightness here for that – but there’s some subtlety and dynamic range on offer, not to mention whiter whites. I cheerfully sat through episodes of Fallout and The Three Body Problem plus a decent stretch of Past Lives and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and all looked fine if never blow-your-socks-off good. The big-screen experience holds up pretty well.

Much the same applies to the sound. It’s a little thinner than the audio from the MoGo 2 Pro or the Nebula Capsule 3 but it’s clear enough. Dialogue comes through cleanly and there’s some respectable stereo spread, with dialogue and effects positioned reasonably accurately to the left and right. You have to sit behind the projector to get the best of it – the output’s slightly muffled from the sides – but it’s fine for casual viewing or an ad-hoc movie night.

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Dangbei Emotn N1 review: What could it do better?

There’s no battery in the Emotn N1, so it needs to be connected to the mains. It also uses an old-school AC adapter rather than a modern USB Type-C supply, so there’s no way to use it with a power bank if you want to take it on the road.

If I were being picky, I’d also moan that the auto-focus is a bit slow to find a crisp focus and that there’s no automatic refocusing and distortion correction if you move the projector. You’ll find better on more expensive projectors, but these are projectors costing nearly twice as much.

Dangbei Emotn N1 review: Should you buy it?

Most projectors at this price point aren’t worth buying unless they’re portable models where you’ll take, say, low brightness levels or a low resolution as reasonable compromises. The Emotn N1 is different, giving you the kind of 1080p pictures and stereo sound that make a movie night a treat rather than an abject disappointment.

Sure, a bigger budget will net you something better – the MoGo 2 Pro and Epson CO-FH02 immediately spring to mind – but an extra £200 could be a serious investment when you’ve only got so much to spend. So if you’re on a very limited budget and don’t mind making some sacrifices here and there, the Emotn N1 is one of the best cheap projectors around.

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