In the world of consumer projectors, the premium on 4K resolution is still very much in place. It's easy enough to pick up a 4K television on a budget, but most of the recent consumer projectors have concentrated on portability rather than detail.
Native resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160)
Connectivity: Chromecast, Android TV, USB-C, USB-A, HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, 3.5mm Audio
Throw: 1.8m (6ft) to 60-inch screen
5.8m (19ft) to 200-inch screen
Brightness: 600 ANSI lumens (1440 LED lumens)
Contrast Ratio: 1600:1
Weight: 4.08KG / 8.99lb
That's not to say I don't love portable devices like the Asus ZenBeam L2 which you can pick up and carry to a new location but a bit of me really wants movie night to be about matching cinema quality as closely as possible.
By the same token, if I'm hooking up a projector to display my work – video or photographic – I want the maximum resolution, not downsampling. The SP005, then, is a very appealing proposition given the price is half – or less – than similar native 4K projectors. (Native, by the way, means the projected image itself is 4K – plenty of projectors can accept a 4K input but downsample because they have lesser resolutions).
The odd thing? Well, Paris Rhône is not exactly an established brand in the field – never a previous entrant on our guide to best projectors. It's a name now attached to everything from baby monitors to air purifiers, kettles to dog-treat cameras – historically it is associated with French vacuum cleaners. Perhaps, though, that's a plus? Unproven in this space and keen to grow, it must be motivated to set a high standard and unable to command a premium price.
Paris Rhone SP005: Build and handling
Dare I say it? Projectors are rarely things of beauty. There are some exceptions amongst the portables, but larger projectors like this aren't really built for looking at; you set them up and – by their nature – look elsewhere. The SP005 is, given the boxy nature of the category, surprisingly chic.
The body is a matt black plastic with a pleasing curve to it. The sides have cut-outs from this for ventilation and to act as a grille for the 2 speakers, while the front and back have speaker-grille style fabric where there aren't components which looks much more legant (though perhaps a little more vulnerable) than your average projector. The front cut-outs are for the AF/keystoning sensors, while on the rear there is an array of inputs on a glossy black 'cut out'.
The power button is the sole interruption to the top of the device, save for the logo, while the base has a removable panel for removing and cleaning the filter. There is also a small foot. This isn't enough to provide a lot of angle in my 'coffee table test', so setup can be quite involved depending on available support.
Admittedly some of the room for looks comes from leaving an enormous 240W power brick on a cord, though even that has the grace to have a cool cut-off corner to reduce the risk of cable damage.
On power on, you'll be guided to set up the remote control which has a Bluetooth mode – this means you don't need to point it at the projector. It's unusual to find a projector without this feature. In most cases, you'll need to connect to a Wi-Fi network, though you can also plug into Ethernet if so inclined. Setup is easy if a bit plodding, and of course, relies on you having a screen/wall to project onto.
Because the system uses Android TV 9.0, not the current Android TV 11, the apps it installs generally expect to have access to a touch screen. The system solves this with a pointer directed using the remote control's directional buttons in apps like Netflix and Disney+. It's, well, irritating – best considered a backup rather than an alternative to a smart TV.
The menus offer table, ceiling, and rear projection and don't prove challenging. The device definitely benefits from central positioning despite the auto-focus and keystoning.
Paris Rhone SP005: Performance
In terms of the picture, I have very few complaints given the cost of entry (though admittedly the sheer physical size means you'd hope for at least this brightness). That 1600:1 contrast ratio and HDR 10+ is impressive and the brightness seems, if anything, to under-value the picture. The projector is just about bright enough to use in a room with the lights on, so it is useful to display images, but it is definitely still better suited to entertainment in a dark room.
I couldn't detect much ghosting, so the projector can also serve as a gaming display. There was a softening around the edges, but that's far from unusual with projectors and didn't seem to detract.
The noise right next to the power-hungry device is about 55db, which is fairly loud, though in fairness you're unlikely to lean your ears right next to it. This is also countered by the dual 24W speakers which do a decent job of filling the room. That's fine for movies, but for presentations and art displays the device will be generating a noticeable white noise.
Though, obviously, I was unable to test it, the claimed 40,000 bulb lifetime is about 10,000 more than most projectors too.
The SP005 doesn't have the latest Android TV, but An Android 9-based system which is backed up with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. This isn't a lot and will force you to make choices about the apps you install. The processor is definitely not as meaty as you'd hope either and will drop frames on 4K videos in the YouTube app.
Moreover, the interactivity solution – the remote control moving a pointer – feels awkward and makes interactions slow. You'll be far better off with a FireStick, Apple TV, or equivalent.
The auto keystone correction and focus also seemed a bit noisy mechanically, though that's hardly a problem. They're activated at power-up by default, or if the device's motion sensor is triggered. There is also an object avoidance feature which, to be honest, seemed more trouble than it was worth. What was more troubling was the occasional typo in the menus.
Paris Rhone SP005: Verdict
As mentioned, the fact Paris Rhone is a brand that sells water filters & air fryers made me somewhat skeptical. Despite that, I found the SP005 delivered on its tagline 'affordable luxury' (especially against the 1080P you're normally restricted to in this price range).
Quality is good when it comes to the casing and the image – it's not just the native 4K. The 600 ANSI lumens seem brighter than many other devices, and the high contrast ratio makes this a contender against laser projectors too.
That said, the device is not without a number of irritations. The operating system is not up to the standard set by some. I found the apps disappointing; they didn't feel 'native' and, in the end, I was a lot happier when I plugged my Apple TV into the HDMI port – you could do the same with a laptop or Android TV device.
The foot could also stand to offer a little more height, and there is definitely room for some firmware updating to fix bugs. Assuming that hasn't happened yet, then I am still prepared to be a little more positive than some have been about this device because, I think, I'm a bit older and am less used to expecting the display device to be 'smart'. I'm happy to provide the image and – where there is sound too (so movies more than presentations) this is a fine way to display them, at this price anyhow.
By modern standards, it is a serious compromise, and while native 4K feels worth it to me, there are plenty of situations when one-controller usability would be more important – that is the choice this projector needs you to make.
Should you buy the Paris Rhone SP005?
✅ Buy this if...
- You want a 4K native projector and you're on a budget
- You are happy to provide input, perhaps via HDMI
- You want good-quality built-in speakers
🚫 Don't buy this if...
- You need a very quiet projector for presentations
- You want an up-to-date smart TV-like user interface
- You want portability
The Emotn N1 is a cheap 1080P projector that is a Netflix-approved device. It is reasonably quiet, has a good, bright image, wi-fi, and the operating system is a bit easier to navigate, so for occasional movie nights this is an even cheaper choice at the cost of resolution.
How I tested the Paris Rhone SP005
When testing projectors, I always try the device on a dedicated projection screen, a painted white wall and a grey painted wall to see how well it copes with imperfect conditions.
As convenience is important too, I also conduct the 'coffee table test', to see how good a picture I can easily get by placing the device at a coffee table in my living room – this tests the off-angle keystone correction and the device's ability to assist in aiming.
I choose to connect to a MacBook to display work and check the appearance of type (black on white, white on black etc.) and typical samples photos as well as standard tests like the color bars, as well as a selection of video clips with dark backgrounds, fast motion, and other key criteria.
Finally I also like to declare it "movie night" and see whether the device works in a family movie-watching setting. On this occasion I was rounding out the Star Wars experience with my son.