Projector

Canon RAYO i8 Review: Mini Wireless Portable Projector

Canon Rayo i8 on hand

RAYO i-series is a range of mini projectors designed and produced by Canon Korea Business Solutions. The i5 and i8 are identical other than the colour. i5 is in silver while i8 is in gold.

Canon Rayo i8 top-down view

Despite its compact size and running on battery, the i8 project delivers 100 ANSI lumens which is good enough for my home study room when I draw down my thick roller blind. It might not be as powerful as the larger projectors but this is so much more compact.

Canon Rayo i8 projector brightness

I also like that there is a standard screw thread so that I can mount it on a tripod and conveniently project it anywhere without relying on a flat top. It would be even better if I can do keystone adjustment, which was not available on the RAYO i8.

Canon Rayo i8 bottom view

Connectivity Options

The RAYO i8 supports connection via Miracast, DLNA, AirPlay and HDMI. The HDMI connection is the easiest, simply plug the cables to supported devices and the i8 becomes a secondary display.

Canon Rayo i8 rear view

For mirroring (Miracast protocol), turn the switch behind the projector to “M”, then from your device, activate the Miracast-compatible app and search for the RAYO i8. Once connected successfully, the i8 will mirror your device.

For DLNA, turn the switch behind the projector to “D”, then from your device, run any DLNA-supported apps to search for RAYO i8. The DLNA mode on the RAYO is peer-to-peer, meaning you have to connect to the Wi-Fi on the RAYO instead of joining RAYO to your home network.

Connect via DLNA on Android app

The difference between Miracast and DLNA is that Miracast is a real-time mirroring of your Android device, while DLNA is transmitting of multi-media content to RAYO for playback. Theoretically-speaking, DLNA delivers better quality, but any command triggered will be delayed, e.g. skipping the video playback, because the content has to be buffered again. Miracast does not have this problem because the skipping is done on the source device, while the RAYO is merely mirroring the display. HDMI will deliver the best experience because it is wired and hence has no latency.

To connect to iOS device, there is a need to connect a mouse to the micro USB using the included OTG cable (wireless USB mouse like Logitech works too). Right-click the mouse and the projector will display a different screen for you to navigate. From the looks of the UI, the RAYO seems to be running on a customised Android OS.

Right-click on mouse to open the menu on the Canon Rayo i8

Like many other wireless mirroring devices I have tested, there may be times when the initial connection is unsuccessful. When that happens, I will switch the connection modes, or restart the RAYO. Once connection is established, it rarely gets disconnected. The other frustrating part is that many smartphones rebrand the screen sharing feature, so it can be rather frustrating for consumers to find the display mirroring function, though it is usually under Settings -> Wireless Network. ASUS calls it “PlayTo”, while you can trigger it on Samsung using “Smart View” app or “Quick Connect” button from notification dropdown.

You can adjust volume from both the source and from the RAYO projector independently. You can also enjoy audio externally via 3.5mm audio port. Audio quality from the built-in speaker is tinny and not very loud. Watching shows with dialogues are fine, but for blockbuster movies, you will not feel any impact. The internal fan produces rather loud whirling sounds, but you will learn to ignore it after a while and treat it as background noises.

Focusing of the projector is manually done via a wheel next to the lens. You can focus between 0.3m and 5m. Images look sharp despite only 854×480 resolution.

Canon Rayo i8 focus ring

Charging is done with a proprietary AC charger. With a fully-charged battery, the RAYO i8 can run up to 120 mins, but there is no on-screen battery warning indicator, and the projector will stop running abruptly.

Besides the normal projector mode, the RAYO i8 also has a “flashlight” mode which is essentially beaming white light. There is also a sleep mode where the screen displays a screensaver. These modes are activated by pressing the button to the right of the volume buttons.

Canon Rayo i8 side view

Verdict

The last mini projector I reviewed was the Sony MP-CL1, which wins in size but lacks the real projection quality. The RAYO i-series fare much better in terms of projection quality, on par with the connectivity options and battery life, loses out on the keystone feature and resolution. If you need portability and decent projection, the RAYO i-series is a better option. Setting up is easy, just mount it on a standard tripod and place it anywhere in a dim room. Run on built-in battery for 2 hours, or plug in to AC adapter and your favourite external speakers for all-day entertainment.

The gold RAYO i8 and silver RAYO i5 are available on shop.canon.com.sg and Canon authorised dealers at a recommended retail price of $749 and $699 respectively.

Canon Rayo i8 front view

Product Specifications: RAYO i8 / i5

Size (mm): 111 x 111 x 17.2
Weight: 269 g
Display Type: 0.2” WVGA
Resolution: 854 x 480
Brightness: 100 Ansi Lumens
Contrast: 900:1
Light Source: (R/G/B) LED
Lamp Life (hours): 20,000
Aspect Ratio: 16 : 9
Screen Size: Max 158” (62”@ 2m)
Focus distance: 0.3m – 5m
Offset: 100%
Input: HDMI / MHL
Output: Audio out
Built-in Speaker: 0.7W x2
Speaker Type: Stereo
Built-in Battery (hours): Up to 2 hours, or maximum 3 hours on Eco mode
Wireless: Miracast / DLNA
Package includes: AC adapter, HDMI cable, USB-OTG cable, Mini Tripod, manual
Warranty: 1 year

Official product website: http://www.canon.com.sg/personal/products/projectors/projectors/rayo-i8

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