Dell M410HD Portable Projector Review
September 30, 2010,
Portability: When I searched our database for 1280 x 800 projectors weighing less than three pounds and selling for under $1,000, only two projectors popped up . . . and the other one is more expensive than the M410HD. It is easy to set up, and you will not tire from hauling it to and fro. Included with the projector is a padded carrying case with plenty of room for cables and media.
Image Quality: Data images looked very good with one exception . . . saturation is too high for computer photos, and there is no way to effectively reduce saturation in VGA mode. For graphics, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations, images were colorful and crisp with excellent definition even in small-font type.
Once minor adjustments were made to brightness and contrast settings, video images were excellent. Skin tones were natural and highlights and black levels were solid. In general, raising brightness and lowering contrast from factory default settings produced the best images.
Quick Shutdown: If you need to rush to your next presentation, you can shorten the usual two-minute cool down phase when powering down. An extended key press on the power button will accelerate the process by running the fan at a higher than normal speed for about 15 seconds to cool the lamp.
Auto Source Search: You have to search for sources manually on many inexpensive projectors, but the M410HD can look for sources automatically. On power up, it searches through the VGA, composite video, S-video, and HDMI inputs and selects the first active connection it finds. When the Source key is pushed on the remote, it begins searching and selects the next connection it detects. If you prefer to select sources manually, you can disable Auto Search in the Input Select menu.
On-Screen Menus: It is easy to move through the M410HD's on-screen menus. Layering is minimal, and menu names are easy to understand. The menu can be positioned at the top or the bottom of the image, and transparency can be set from clear to opaque.
Lamp Life: The M410HD's 3,000-hour lamp life in Normal mode is comparable to other 2,000-lumen projectors, but things improve in Eco mode where lamp life stretches to 5,000 hours. A replacement lamp may be purchased for $220.
3-D Ready: As you may know, when a projector claims 3-D capability, you have to start asking questions about compatibility. The M410HD is 3-D ready with a computer outputting low-resolution frame-sequential format, but not with Blu-ray or HD broadcast sources. If 3-D is important to you, check with your dealer to find out which formats are accommodated.
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