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Thundeal TDA6 : test / review

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On this page:
Price Thundeal TDA6
Timeline
Why this projector?
Unpacking
Operating system
Finish
Projection room
Battery autonomy
Power consumption
Operating noise
Connectivity
Image quality
Image size and projection distance
Audio quality
Video games
Test / Review conclusion
Projectors Tests Reviews

Thundeal TDA6 : test / review


Published on: 02-12-2023 / Modified: 02-12-2023
With Black Friday approaching, I'm on the hunt for bargains to find interesting products at rock-bottom prices on Aliexpress and this time I bought this Thundeal TDA6 projector for 162 EUR instead of 300 EUR. I had already tested a projector from this brand earlier this year (the Thundeal TD98) and as I was satisfied with that first purchase, I bought a second one. The Thundeal TDA6 is an entry-level LCD projector, and just by using these few words, I should already be able to write the conclusion of this test, as most entry-level LCD projectors share the same qualities and shortcomings... so what's the point of testing it?

The first reason that motivated me to buy this projector, and probably the one that will also motivate you to buy it, is quite simply the price. For less than the price of an entry-level TV, I get a projector capable of producing a large image. Okay, it's a projector and the comparison isn't very fair, but the price will undoubtedly be the starting point. Knowing that this projector is an entry-level projector, I'm not going to try to demonstrate that it's less good than a €500 projector, that I already know. I just wanted to show what this projector is capable of, to help you make your choice

If you enjoy my tests, please consider purchasing your products by clicking on my links before buying, as this allows me to continue testing other products.

Manufacturer web site:
https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_Ddc8tLX
Site where I have bought or received the Thundeal TDA6: https://s.click.alie...

Price Thundeal TDA6

The list below shows the prices for the Thundeal TDA6 from more than 50 sites around the world. If you are not satisfied with any price, you can subscribe to a price alert to be the first to be notified when the price drops.

The above links are affiliate links from companies such as Amazon, Gearbest, Aliexpress,... If you appreciate my work, I would be grateful if you could purchase these products through these links. It costs you absolutely nothing but I get a small commission that allows me to buy the material I test. Thank you very much!

Timeline

November 11, 2023: Thundeal TDA96 purchased on Aliexpress

November 17, 2023: projector delivered

Why this projector?

I try to test projectors in all price ranges to get a good overview of the projector market. Of course, I know that a 300€ projector won't be able to compete with a 2000€ projector, but the entry-level range is gradually evolving to achieve an interesting result. I also receive a lot of requests for first-time projector purchases at an affordable price, so I regularly buy this type of product to be able to advise my visitors with real experience rather than a theoretical opinion on a datasheet

I tested the Thundeal TD98 a few months ago and was positively surprised on several points. Image quality certainly wasn't comparable with a €500 projector, but this projector represented an interesting evolution compared with all the other LCD projectors I'd tested before. Will this be the case again with the Thundeal TDA6? That's what I'm going to tell you in this review.

Unpacking

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Chinese entry-level brands like Thundeal have come a long way in recent years. Packaging is a prime example. The first projectors of this type I bought were packaged in anonymous cardboard boxes that made you think you'd ordered a crate of oranges. The Thundeal TDA6's box resembles those used in the mid-range, and Thundeal have no doubt been inspired by XGIMI in the design of their product.

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The box contains the projector with a cover for its optical block, a remote control (without batteries), an HDMI cable, a manual and a power cable. The projector is well protected by a thick layer of black foam, which is much needed when I see the state of the box when I received it.

Operating system


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The Thundeal TDA6 uses an operating system derived from Android and although this system works and makes this projector stand-alone, I think it has no future like most systems of this type. The projector has its own media player and a few applications such as Youtube, but these are not official applications and sometimes certain functionalities are limited. You also don't have access to the Play Store like on the official versions of Android. So I'd advise you to use an external solution like a Google Chromecast TV to benefit from full access to the Android experience with official apps that will continue to be updated over time

If I disregard the app part, the operating system also allows you to set up the projector to configure the wifi, adjust the image, adjust the sound, ... so you'll still need that Android layer to adapt the projector to your needs

Finish

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The previous Thundeal I tested had a traditional lamp projector design. This new TDA6 is freely inspired by the XGIMI Horizon range of projectors, using the cube format and its metallic appearance. The result is quite successful, and the aesthetics of this projector give it more credibility than the previous model, but the comparison with XGIMI stops there: this projector is made entirely of plastic, and even if this plastic appears to be of good quality, the difference with a mid-range projector is very perceptible.

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The large optical compartment at the front can be protected by a cover to prevent dust from settling too quickly. Of course, this optical unit is of crucial importance to image quality. Not only does it magnify the image, but the composition of the lens also plays a role in image uniformity and sharpness. This is often a problem with projectors of this type, where brightness and sharpness are not uniform, and we'll see later in this test that this is also the case with this projector.

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There's also a depth sensor that automatically focuses the image. This type of projector needs a minimum distance of around 1m20 to be able to focus the image; below this distance, the image will be totally blurred.

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On each side, there is a grille to evacuate heat and diffuse sound. These grids are important because this type of projector emits a lot of heat, which must be expelled by fans to the outside

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On the underside of the projector, there's a standard screw thread for a tripod or wall/ceiling mount.

Projection room

My projection room is rectangular, 4.6m by 2.9m (height 2.2m). I have two projection walls, one white wall 2.9m wide with just white paint with a possible 4m setback. I then have a 133 inch ALR screen on another wall with a possible setback of 2.8m. I mainly use the ALR screen except when the layout or type of projector is not suitable for this situation.

Battery autonomy

The Thundeal TDA6 is not equipped with a battery.

Power consumption

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I measured a consumption of 135 watts at the plug, this consumption does not fluctuate much. Consumption is higher than that of the Mogo2Pro or the Xiaomi Mi Smart compact, but the Thundeal is brighter.

Operating noise

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Almost all LCD projectors have the same flaw: they are considerably louder than DLP projectors. I measured 45 dB close to the projector, which is 5 dB less than the Thundeal TD98 I tested a few months ago. It's also 20 to 30 dB less than on other LCD projectors from Wanbo or Blitzwolf. I can't say that the Thundeal TDA6 is quiet, but it's still considerably quieter than the other LCD models I've tested.

Compared to a Mogo2Pro, I have to give the Mogo2Pro the win because it's so quiet.

This operating noise is unavoidable for this type of projector, as the heat has to be evacuated, and this is done via fairly noisy fans. This projector also emits a fair amount of heat, which could add a few degrees to the projection room. My projection room is about 20m² and insulated, so I could clearly feel the influence of the projector on the room temperature

So make sure you keep the projector away from your ears so you don't hear too much noise or feel the heat coming out the sides

Connectivity

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The Thundeal TDA6 boasts generous connectivity for a projector in this price range. It has an ethernet port (although it can work with wifi), there are also 2 HDMI ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, an AV output and a headphone output

Image settings
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In the projector's Android layer, you can modify a few image parameters. The settings are fairly limited, there's not enough to do a calibration, so you'll have to make do with choosing one of the available modes or go through the few settings in user mode to try and improve the situation.

I measured very little difference between these different configurations, and I'll come back to this later in the test.

Image quality

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To illustrate the video quality of this projector, I've used the same trailers as for the other projectors. I'll start with the Costa Rica 4k video, which is rich in color of all types, but you can tell from the very first seconds that something is missing: the image is too cold and there's a visible loss in color rendering. The second trailer is for the film Top Gun Maverick. The cold colors are less visible here, as the mood of the film lends itself better to them, but if you're familiar with this trailer, the differences will jump out at you. Then there's the Batman trailer, which I'm using to demonstrate its ability to render dark scenes, and of course you can't expect a miracle from a projector in this price range. All this was perfectly predictable and normal, and my aim is not to destroy this projector's reputation, but rather to show you what you can expect. The choice is then yours, as you'll always have to make one concession or another for a projector in this price range

I regularly mention the XGIMI Mogo 2 Pro in this test, as it's the closest projector in terms of price among the DLPs I've tested. Here's how it looks when you compare the same video:

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Here you can clearly see that the Mogo 2 Pro offers a warmer image (a little too warm, in fact) and that color rendition is much better. If you freeze-frame the first snake, you'll see what a smaller color space can do. The Thundeal image is still quite watchable, but the Mogo2Pro image is much richer in color.

Colorimetry

Color fidelity

thundeal tda6 color accuracy gamut


Using LCD instead of DLP has a direct impact on colors: the color space is significantly smaller. What does this mean? It means that the number of colors available for display is significantly lower, resulting in a more color-poor image. The black triangle indicates the color space that this projector should ideally be able to achieve, and the triangle with the white edges corresponds to the color space that this projector is capable of reproducing.

I measured the color fidelity of this Thundeal TDA6 with my probe, tested all available configurations and obtained a dE greater than 10. This is not very good, ideally you should approach a dE of 3. The blue is too dominant, so the image is quite cold.

Add to this the fact that the color space is very small, covering barely 50% of the REC709 space. So it's not with this projector that you're going to get a quality cinematic experience, but I think that if you've never had projectors before, this problem won't be as noticeable. Images will be a little colder and you'll lose a little in image dynamics, nothing surprising for this type of projector or this price range

The Mogo 2 Pro does better here too, with wider color coverage and above all much better color fidelity

Brightness

Brightness

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The manufacturers of this type of projector often use completely insane values for brightness, and in most cases, this is totally untrue. This is also the case with this projector. I measured a brightness of between 400 and 500 ANSI lumens, so it's not a super-bright projector, although with this level of brightness, the Thundeal does better than a Mogo2Pro

This projector should therefore be used in total darkness, and I have an example here that illustrates the difference between daylight use and use in complete darkness.

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There's another feature of the light that you need to understand. The optical block does not diffuse light evenly, so the center of the image is brighter than the periphery. I measured a 41% loss of light between the center and the edge. This is quite noticeable if I project a completely white image; there's a darker halo all around the image. It's very common with this kind of projector, less visible on a Mogo2Pro

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Sharpness

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The sharpness of the Thundeal TDA6 is correct in the center and deteriorates in the periphery. It's the same as for brightness, it's the optical block that's responsible and it's also often the case for this kind of projector. The effect isn't very noticeable if you're watching a film, but with the periphery is clearly softer than in the center

Contrast

Contrast

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Contrast is what makes it possible to distinguish details in dark scenes, and it's the great weakness of most DLP projectors, but it's also the case for LCD projectors in this price range

If I measure only FOFO contrast, I get a huge contrast of over 3000:1, and with such a value you'd think this little Thundeal is capable of doing better than a 3000€ projector, but forget that, the reality is different.

Many testers limit themselves to FOFO contrast because it's so easy to measure, but this type of measurement doesn't tell the whole story about a projector. Ideally, you should measure ANSI contrast to get an idea of true contrast. A good ANSI contrast is more than 200:1, but this projector doesn't exceed 10:1. Contrast is therefore as low as on entry-level DLPs such as the Mogo2Pro

Motion compensation

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The Thundeal TDA6 does not have a fast-motion correction mechanism. This is quite visible in this video, where the top block of the screen tears a little with each lateral movement; it's the same for other projectors of this type

Image size and projection distance

At a projection distance of 1 meter, you'll get an image 70cm wide, but as a minimum distance of around 1m20 is required to get a sharp image, you'll need to place this projector at a greater distance. At 2 meters you'll get an image 140cm wide. The Thundeal TDA6 has no optical zoom, so the size of the projected image will vary only with distance

Beyond image size, you also need to take into account brightness, which decreases with the square of the distance. With a distance of 2 meters, you get an image 140cm wide with a diagonal of 160cm, and with a maximum luminosity of 500 lumens, the image will be perfectly bright. I set the acceptable brightness limit at a distance of around 2m50, beyond which the image will start to look too dark.

Audio quality

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To test the sound quality of this projector I used Spotify to stream a few tracks of music and as usual, this video will probably be blocked on my site because of the copyrights linked to the selected songs. If this is the case, I invite you to use the following link to watch the video on YouTube:

Watch on YouTube

In the first few seconds of the video you'll probably hear the noise of the projector fan, as the recording phone was placed right next to the projector with the microphone pointing towards the fan outlet. The projector is actually less noisy (although far from silent). I was quite surprised by the sound quality of this projector: low tones are quite powerful and high frequencies are not muffled. Contrary to most other criteria, I found the sound of the Thundeal TDA6 to be better than that of the XGIMI Mogo 2 Pro. The sound is more powerful and has better dynamics.

Video games

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The Thundeal TDA6 projector is not a gaming projector, and this is noticeable when playing games like this one (Shadowrunner). Movements are not very fluid and I felt a perceptible lag while playing that makes this kind of game difficult to play. I measured an input lag of over 100ms, so you can already rule out fast FPS games like this one.

The projector's colorimetry deficit is quite noticeable in this video, but it's not a problem for this type of cold environment. The effect is less positive for a film or series.

Encoutered bugs

Not yet available / tested

ALR/CLR Projection screen

Are you looking for a good ALR/CLR screen for your projector? I may have what you need:
ALR/CLR NothingProjector Screen

Test / Review conclusion

I wrote in the introduction to this test that my aim was not to demonstrate that this projector was less good than a €500 projector - I already knew that before I bought it. Rather, my aim was to render as faithfully as possible the experience you can get from a projector of this type.

Image quality has a few weaknesses: colorimetry, color space, sharpness, contrast... and it's the same for all the low-cost LCD projectors I've tested so far. With this in mind, all you have to do is decide whether these shortcomings are acceptable to you. If, for example, your budget limit is firm, then this projector will enable you to get a great image for a limited budget. If buying a projector isn't urgent, I'd advise putting some money aside for an entry-level DLP like the XGIMI Mogo 2 Pro or Formovie S5

I bought this projector for just over 160€ and at that price, I can hardly complain, especially as it offers a few improvements over the other projectors of this type I've tested. Of course, there's the usual cold coloring, reduced color space and low contrast, but in terms of sound quality, I've noticed a nice improvement. Fan noise is still audible, but the volume is much lower than in previous generations. The projector's format is also closer to that of a "modern" projector, and it can be placed more flexibly than the previous model.

In conclusion, I'd say that if you're on a tight budget and the price comes in at under €250, this projector can help you enter the world of video projectors without breaking the bank. If, on the other hand, you're not in a hurry, I'd advise you to wait a little and opt instead for an XGIMI Mogo 2 Pro or a Formovie S5.

Strengths

Audio quality

Price

Format

Weaknesses

Colorimetry

Contrast

Color space

Fan noise

Image uniformity

No motion compensation

Input lag





Laurent Willen LAURENT WILLEN
Head of myself on this blog

I share my passions on my blog in my free time since 2006, I prefer that to watching nonsense on TV or on social networks. I work alone, I am undoubtedly one of the last survivors of the world of blogs and personal sites.

My speciality? Digital in all its forms. I have spent the last 25 years working for multinationals where I managed digital teams and generated revenues of over €500 million per year. I have expertise in telecoms, media, aviation, travel and tourism.
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