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Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector review

Simulate the aurora borealis at home with this fantastic star projector and Bluetooth speaker combo.

Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Galaxy Star Projector
(Image: © Tantse Walter)

Our Verdict

Out of all the star projectors we've looked at, this is one of our favorites. Although there's no Smart capability, there are still three methods of controlling the device. It's highly customizable, the patterns are realistic and the music rhythm mode is impressive.

For

  • Good quality in-built speaker
  • Feature-rich compared to other models
  • Bluetooth, button and remote control

Against

  • Website feels ingenuine
  • Not quite 'plug and play'
  • Unbranded packaging and device
Specifications

Size: 15 x 13 x 16cm
Bulb Type: LED and laser
Rotation: Yes
Sleep timer: Yes
Speaker: Yes
Projection Surface: Not specified 

The Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector is a hybrid between the Encalife Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Projector and the Encalife Ambience Galaxy and Star Projector, combining the Bluetooth speaker and app controls into one unit. Unlike the 'Atmosphere' it isn't compatible with Google or Alexa but that doesn't stop it from being a nifty device that is worth your attention. We put it to the test and see how it performs versus the other best star projectors.

Although star projectors are great for bringing the night sky into your home, if you plan to explore the real thing, have a look at our best telescopesbest binoculars, or even best cameras guide to find the perfect stargazing setup. For now, let's put the Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector (opens in new tab) to the test.

Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector: Design

Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Galaxy Star Projector

The front view of the Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector (Image credit: Tantse Walter)
  • Almost 180-degree positioning
  • Matte black finish
  • Plug and play button operation

When we reviewed the Encalife Ambience Galaxy and Star Projector we commented that the packaging was pretty poor, but the Atmosphere was noticeably nicer and felt much more premium. The packaging for the Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector is unfortunately most akin to the former. Again, no branding, and questionable translation. Ultimately, at first glance when removing the postal wrap, it looks like it will be a cheap and unreliable product.

The device itself however looks sleek and modern, it feels a little light and plasticky to the touch but the finish is good. The stand is like a globe stand, only it holds the 'globe' from the bottom rather than at the usual 23.5 degrees. This allows the user to position the direction of the light almost 180-degrees onto the ceiling, wall or even the floor without moving the whole unit, the light is dispersed through a dome so has great coverage.

There are five buttons on the unit, and they are less cluttered than on the Ambience model with just one function per button rather than multiple. The buttons can be used to 'plug and play' (moon, stars, power, speed, aurora) however you'll need to use the remote control (2 x AAA batteries required, not included) or app for full functionality including timer, preset scenes, volume control and rhythm mode.

Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector: Performance

Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Galaxy Star Projector in use

Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector, projecting onto the ceiling (Image credit: Tantse Walter)
  • Highly customizable colors, speed and brightness
  • Realistic looking aurora
  • Music rhythm mode is impressive

The 'musical rhythm mode' is brilliant. We tested it out with the on-theme dance classic 'Out of Space'. The projector did an excellent job of not only flashing on and off or changing color with the music but also activating and matching the stars, moon and aurora to the different sounds within the music to create a dynamic and exciting display. We also tested it alongside some soothing whale music, again, the patterns and order of color combinations fit perfectly to create a tranquil ambiance. The sensitivity of the microphone picking up different sounds can be adjusted for a more or less intense light display. We do need to point out that the microphone only seems to pick up the music coming from the device itself and not when it comes from another music source.

The LED and green lasers can be dimmed to be barely visible or turned up to display highly vivid and bright lights. In the Ambience review we highlighted that the unit itself emits quite a bit of light which might be distracting, in this model, it emits some light, but even at the brightest setting, wouldn't be enough to distract whilst playing a game, watching a movie or trying to get to sleep. The noise of the motor, however, is slightly louder than other models, but shouldn't be a distraction when the device is on alongside other sounds.

Unlike the Sega Toys Homestar Flux, the projection isn't scientifically accurate, however, the full moon looks realistic and the aurora patterns and movement of light do resemble a real-life aurora. We'd have liked a slower-moving aurora setting as the next speed up from static is quite fast. A slower display would resemble the northern lights more accurately.

Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector: Functionality

Smart Life App controlling the Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Galaxy Projector

Screenshots of app controls in the Smart Life App for light and speaker (Image credit: Encalife)
  • Three methods of controlling the device
  • Full star projector control using the App
  • Four sound modes to suit your music

The remote controls took a bit of getting used to in terms of what effect pressing each button had on the display. In simplest terms, each 'mode' column controls either the stars, aurora or moon. Each can either be static, fading in and out, or cycling between modes. This could have been reduced to three buttons rather than nine.

Like the Encalife Atmosphere, this projector can work in conjunction with the Smart Life (opens in new tab) app for full functionality. This means you have three ways to control the device (buttons, remote and app) You do have to create an account if you haven't already got one and you need a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi frequency. 

Within the app you can set one of 10 preset scenes, change the primary and secondary color lights (out of 16.7 million colors), change the speed of the motor, turn the three separate projections on and off, as well as control the volume of the speaker. There are even four pre-set sound modes so you can optimize the sound to whatever you are listening to (Default, Classical, Jazz or Rock). The music itself is controlled like you would with any other speaker, via a third-party app such as Spotify or Youtube. We thought the sound quality was great for a small Bluetooth speaker.

Also similar to the Encalife Atmosphere, the timer can be set to countdown and switch off when you choose, between one minute to 24-hours. This model however doesn't have a power-on timer so you'd have to do this manually.

Encalife's Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector in action on the ceiling

Encalife's Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector in action on the ceiling (Image credit: Tantse Walter)

Should I buy the Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Galaxy Projector?

The Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Galaxy Projector (opens in new tab) is definitely more feature-rich compared to other projectors on our best star projectors list and is the first we've reviewed with attractive aurora borealis patterns instead of 'nebulae'. It also has a projection of the moon, which, whilst seems a little gimmicky, we don't hate.

This is an ideal purchase if you want a combined projector and in-built speaker that offers multiple control options and plenty of customization. It isn't at all scientific so if that is what you're looking for, our recommendation would be to purchase the Sega Homestar Flux.

Don't be put off by Encalife's website which is littered with dubious 'time limited' offers. It is a genuine site but we think Encalife would do well for removing the disingenuous promotional offers.

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Tantse Walter
Tantse Walter

Tantse Walter is a photographer and adventurer that's spent seven years facilitating global adventurous expeditions. She loves getting into the nitty-gritty of sourcing and planning trips. Whether that be for astrophotography location scouting, or just for the love of exploration. Tantse enjoys taking creative, bright and bold photos of people, places, animals and the night sky. Tantse’s photos have been purchased by notable companies such as Ford and Cross Country Trains as well as an upcoming book about the songs, rituals and musical history of Capoeira.