ELMO BOXi MP-350
Portable LED 1280x800 Projector
September 10, 2013
Good, not great, data image quality. The BOXi MP-350's data image quality falls short of excellent, but it's good enough for most purposes. Colors are fully saturated in all of the predefined image modes, despite being slightly dulled-down in the brightest mode. Similarly, color balance in the brightest mode is a touch off, with the brightest shades of gray slightly pink compared with dimmer shades, but not by enough to be a problem. Other predefined image modes are close to neutral for all shades of gray.
A potentially more serious issue for data images is that the projector doesn't handle fine detail well. With both black text on white and white text on black, for example, characters have a soft focus look at 9 points and are hard to read at 8 points or smaller. Unless you need to show small-size text or fine detail, however, this won't be an issue.
Better than par video quality. Video quality for the BOXi MP-350 is better than average for a 300-lumen portable projector. The 1280x800 resolution translates to 720p widescreen for video, and the image quality is good enough for long sessions. In my tests, the projector did a good job of resisting posterization and showed only a slight loss of shadow detail, even with scenes that most data projectors have problems with. It also did a good job with skin tones, showed only a minimal amount of digital noise with DVDs, and showed even less noise with Blu-ray discs.
Few rainbow artifacts. Also helping image quality is that the projector doesn't show rainbow artifacts easily. The only time I saw red-green-blue flashes with data screens was with one image that's designed to bring them out. They showed more often in video, but primarily in a black and white clip and in night scenes. Even those who see these artifacts easily, as I do, should see them infrequently enough to find the BOXi MP-350 acceptable for watching a full length movie, with the possible exception of black and white films.
Highly portable. The BOXi MP-350 weighs 1.1 pounds by itself and is just shy of 2.0 pounds with its power block and cord. It's also small enough, at 1.7" x 4.0" x 5.2" (HWD) to fit easily in a briefcase or laptop bag, and it comes with a protective sleeve so you don't have to worry about scratching the case.
Adding to the projector's portability is that it can read files directly from a USB memory key, so you don't have to carry anything else with you. I tested it with JPG, BMP, PPT, and Word DOC files. According to ELMO it also reads Word and PowerPoint 2010 files, Excel 97 though 2010 files, PDF format, and most common movie formats. In addition, if your phone supports MHL and you have an appropriate adaptor, you can connect to the HDMI port to use your phone as an image source. And if you have an iPhone, iPad, or Android device, you can download ELMO's app to connect by Wi-Fi.
Easy to focus. Another feature that adds to the BOXi MP-350's portability is that it's easy to focus. This isn't true for much of the competition, and it helps make setup fast and easy too.
Low running costs. As is standard for 300-lumen, 1280x800 projectors, the BOXi MP-350's red, green, and blue LEDs are meant to last the life of the projector. That helps keep total cost of ownership down by eliminating the need to buy replacements. BOXi rates the LEDs at 20,000 hours.