Review Contents
Overview
Performance
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Mobile Presentation
SiVal MP720B1 Projector SiVal MP720B1
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Street Price: n/a
MSRP:$349
Contrast:200:1
Lumens:60
Weight: 1.8 lbs
Resolution:1280x768
Aspect Ratio:15:9
Technology:LCoS
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:30,000 Hrs
Connectors:  Composite, RGB, HDMI 1.3, Headphone Jack, USB

SiVal MP720B1 Portable Projector

Allan Abbott, November 12, 2010

If you're a gamer or a movie buff, if you want a projector that is small and inexpensive, and if you can control the ambient light in your viewing area, you should take a look at the only projector under two pounds that offers 1280 x 768 native resolution . . . SiVal's new MP720B1. Rated at 60 ANSI lumens with a 200:1 contrast ratio, it is not meant for large or bright rooms, but a 720p HD source maps nearly 1:1 onto its LCoS chip so you won't have to contend with the large horizontal black bars seen on SVGA and XGA projectors when connected to HD sources. With an LED lamp life of 30,000 hours and a manufacturer's Web-discounted price of $499.99, the MP720B1 sets a new standard for what is probably best described as a "miniprojector" . . . not battery-powered like pico projectors, but lighter and smaller than low-end SVGA and XGA portable projectors.

The MP720B1 is a personal projector. It cannot manage "hallway conferences" like a battery-powered pico projector, and at 60 lumens, it is limited to small conference room presentations for just a few people where a smaller image size is acceptable. Its real niche is in bedrooms, dens, and hotel rooms where high ambient light is not an issue and the AC outlet is nearby. It even comes with a snap-on mirror that deflects the image upward so you can watch movies on the ceiling if fully reclined is your favorite viewing posture. There are a few items that limit performance, but in general, this new class of projector represents a nice step forward for personal projection applications.

Overview

Operating Modes: There are three Preset modes for the MP720B1 . . . Vivid, Standard, and Movie. They each have slight color and brightness variations, but they are very similar, so choosing any of them will not affect the image much. Brightness, contrast, color, and tint controls (brightness and contrast only for PC inputs) are inactive in any Preset mode, so if you need to make image adjustments, you will have to head for the User mode which allows you to store favorite image settings. Just be aware that when color temperature is set to Data mode, no image adjustments can be made in User mode.

Brightness: To get brightness up to our measured 65 lumens, the MP720B1 cranks up the green content in the "Data" color temperature mode and disables all image adjustments. All Preset modes register the same 65-lumen reading with color temperature set to Data, but brightness reduction occurs when selecting one of the three other color temperature settings . . . Cool, Standard, or Warm. At those color temperature settings, brightness dropped to 36 lumens on our sample unit in all Preset modes, but image controls were enabled in User mode. In short, if you want to alter the image (brightness, contrast, etc.) that you get with color temperature set to Data, you will lose about half of the MD720B1's brightness.

Image Quality: Despite the image adjustment limitations noted when color temperature is set to Data mode, the video image in that mode is quite good. The MP720B1's low contrast ratio of 200:1 limits dynamic range, but skin tones look natural and color saturation is good. This is not a home theater projector, but for the gaming environment and for casual movie watching, it is more than adequate.

Audio Quality: Unlike most small projectors, the audio quality is pretty good for personal use, and when you are on the road, external amplification is not usually convenient. However, if the MP720B1 is settled in your bedroom or den, an external amplifier and speakers adds a lot to your gaming or movie enjoyment.

Compatibility: The MP720B1 accommodates computer resolutions from VGA to UXGA and HD video from 480i to 1080p. Composite and component video signals displayed flawlessly, but our sample unit had some difficulty syncing at 720p and 1080p in HDMI mode although the 480i signal displayed correctly (SiVal attributes this problem to our test unit and says that it is not representative of production units).

Image Size and Position: For a 72" image, the centerline of the lens is at the bottom of the image, and the projector is about 10 feet from the screen. This throw ratio works well for all but the smallest of rooms. There are no adjustable feet on the MP720B1, so you need a level surface to avoid horizontal keystoning, but the projector base is threaded for a tripod so there are other leveling options.

Projector Control Panel: The MP720B1 employs touch-sensitive function buttons across the top of its case. Touch sensitivity makes it possible to inadvertently make an unplanned function selection, but using the remote control solves this potential annoyance.

Warranty Provisions: SiVal offers a one-year warranty on the projector and a 90-day warranty on the remote control.

Review Contents: Overview Advantages Limitations

Reader Comments(2 comments)

Posted Dec 23, 2010 11:11:27 PM

By benhur

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The Acer K11 4:3 aspect ratio and it's native 800x600 resolution make it totally obsolete by today's standards. Practically all movies and gaming platforms (PC, xBOx360, PS3)is presented in native wide-screen aspect ratio and HD resolution. While the iSival is far from perfect, it does at least get those two critical things right to make it a good projector.

Posted Nov 30, 2010 1:43:57 PM

By Nabi

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I wonder if the Acer K11, available for under $400, isn't a better deal. True, it's only an 8 by 6, but it doesn't have the image problems that come with the SiVal (undermining the advantage of 720p.) It also throws 200 lumens and has automatic keystoning etc. and produces a pretty pure picture for a mini portable.

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