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Dell 4350 Projector Review

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Dell 4350 Projector Dell 4350
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2200:1 Contrast Ratio
4000 Lumens
PC 3D Ready
Street Price: n/a

The Dell Projector 4350 delivers native 1080p (1920x1080) HD resolution, but it's definitively meant for business and education rather than home entertainment. With an $1199.99 direct price, it's a touch more expensive than some other models in the same resolution, weight, and brightness class, but it offers enough to keep in the running. Rated at 4000 lumens, and close to that in our tests, it can throw a bright image that's big enough for a midsize to large room and high resolution enough to show lots of information in enough detail to be highly readable. It's also light enough, at 6.6 pounds, to serve as a bright, high-resolution portable projector.

Picture Quality

Like most DLP projectors designed for business, the Dell 4350 delivers much better image quality for data images than video, showing rainbow artifacts, for example, far more often with video than with static data images. However, it handles video well enough that if you don't see rainbow artifacts easily, or don't mind seeing them, you might consider using it for extended video sessions at least occasionally.

The 4350's strongest point for data images is how well it maintains detail. White text on black, for example, was highly readable at sizes as small as 6 points with the test unit, and black text on was white was crisp and readable even at 5 points.

The projector also did a near-excellent job resisting pixel jitter and moire patterns on images that tend to bring both out. Results can vary from one graphics card to the next, but in our tests, there wasn't any pixel jitter, and there was just enough dynamic moire with an analog (VGA) connection to be barely noticeable. Unless you use closely spaced lines or dots for fills in your graphics, you'll probably never see this issue. If you see it, however, you probably won't consider it significant enough to be bothered by it. And, you can get rid of it entirely by using a digital (HDMI) connection instead.

Dell 4350

Color Presets

Bright mode delivers the highest brightness of the four presets. It also has the biggest percentage difference between white and color brightness, giving most colors the dull look that typically goes with large differences between the two. There's also a greenish bias, which is obvious enough with photorealistic images to shift colors beyond a reasonable range. However, it's even across all levels, so, for data images at least, the eye quickly adjusts to it.

Presentation mode, the default setting, offers suitably attractive color for business graphics and other data images, with most colors bright and well-saturated. Color balance is near excellent, with no obvious tints at any level between black and white, but it is not quite the absolutely neutral gray at all levels that Movie and sRGB modes offer.

sRGB mode delivers significantly lower brightness than Presentation mode, but also significantly better color for data images along with its excellent color balance.

Movie mode offers the lowest brightness of the four presets, but it's not much lower than sRGB mode. Whether you consider the Movie or sRGB mode to have the best color quality of the presets depends on which colors you're looking at. As with sRGB mode, color balance is excellent.

Rainbow artifacts are a non-issue for data presentations. The only time they showed in my testing was with one image that's designed to bring them out, with small white areas on a black background. With full-motion video, they appeared often enough that anyone who sees them easily and finds them bothersome is likely to be annoyed by them. However they do appear less frequently in well-lit clips, so how bothersome they are will depend largely on the source material.

2D video has some minor problems besides rainbow artifacts, including more judder than with most projectors and obvious noise in more test clips than is typical. In addition, none of the preset modes delivers particularly good color quality for video, both because each mode has at least some dull-looking colors and because of related issues. Posterization in particular isn't significant enough to notice with data images, but shows with photorealistic images in some modes.

The green bias in Bright mode makes it less than ideal for video presentation. In Movie mode, colors look dark, making midtones muddy and hiding shadow detail. Color in sRGB mode falls within an acceptable range, but the mode also loses shadow detail and shows posterization in clips that tend to cause that problem. Presentation mode shows even greater posterization, losing the subtle shading that gives a sense of three dimensionality.

Somewhat frustrating if you're trying to decide on which preset to use is that you can't change modes with 1080p 24Hz input to make comparisons easily. If you're watching a movie on Blu-ray, you have to stop it, switch to 1080p 60Hz input on the same port, change the mode, and then go back to playing the movie to see how the change affects color.

3D video is limited to using Movie mode only, with the necessary drop in image brightness from viewing through 3D glasses added to the loss of shadow detail and the tendency for Movie mode to give midtones and dark scenes a muddy look. The good news for 3D is that I didn't see any crosstalk or 3D-related motion artifacts.

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Key Features
Review Contents: Picture Quality Key Features Performance Set Up and Install
  Limitations and Conclusion