LED Portable Projector Review
September 24, 2013
The new Dell M900HD is a lightweight portable WXGA presentation projector that is packed to the gills with features. It uses a pure LED light engine with no laser components to create a bright image with an estimated lifespan of 30,000 hours. Onboard PC-free document compatibility lets you use your projector without a laptop, and the projector's 2GB of onboard storage means you'll never lose your presentation flash drive again. WiDi connectivity makes it possible to go wireless even when using an external source. For the presenter on the go, the M900HD has a lot to offer -- and with an $899 MSRP, it won't break the bank, either.
The Viewing Experience
The Dell M900HD comes packaged in a small box, inside of which is an even smaller carrying case. The projector is about the size of a hardcover novel, measuring 1.7" tall by 9.1" wide and 6.5" deep, and could easily fit in a shoulder bag or laptop case if you do not want to use the included carrying case.
Unlike ultralight projectors of years past, the M900HD does not have a separate power brick. It uses a standard three-prong power cable found on most common consumer electronics. This is good news -- not only is the projector's 2.9 pound weight spec accurate, but if you happen to break or misplace your power cable, replacements are inexpensive and easy to find.
The M900 is clearly a presenter's projector. It has a fixed focal length lens, meaning there's no zoom. The projector will display a 60" diagonal image from roughly six feet away from the screen, and at this size the image is sufficiently bright to combat ambient light in a typical office or meeting room -- though the picture does look better if you turn off the lights. The projector throws its image essentially straight out, such that the bottom edge of the image is aligned with the center of the lens. Setting up this projector is really an exercise in point and shoot, as there are few controls to speak of. The projector does have a tripod socket in its base, for those times when the conference table and the wall are not positioned how you want them.
The first thing we noticed about the image itself was the M900's use of diamond-shaped pixels rather than traditional square pixels. Diamond-shaped pixels are formed by rotating the DLP chip 45 degrees, thus giving the pixel matrix the appearance of a series of staggered diamonds rather than a rectangular grid of squares (more on this below). The image itself is clear and bright, and the M900 has a variety of image modes that will be useful in different types of presentations. Color saturation is excellent, while black level is very good for this class of projector despite the projector's low contrast rating.