Budget Portable XGA Projector
The 1800MP's case measures 4.5 x 9.6 x 8.3 inches, giving it a footprint smaller than your average magazine. While its 4.5" height precludes putting it in a case with your laptop, the included carrying case is sturdy enough to survive a plane trip as your carry-on.
The Dell 1800MP weighs only 4.6 pounds. At this writing there are only two XGA projectors that weigh less than 5 pounds and cost less than $1,000. To get a projector with the same lumen and contrast ratings but one pound lighter, it costs at least $1,299 - a $500 premium over the price of the 1800MP. This combination of light weight and low cost puts the 1800MP in a unique position in today's market.
There is a control panel on the top of the unit that allows for navigation of the 1800MP's menu system as well as one-touch keystone adjustment. The connection panel is on the rear of the projector. It has two VGA inputs, which is nearly unheard of in a budget projector. It also has one VGA output for monitor loop-through, a feature that is highly desirable in the education market in particular. Password protection can be used to limit access to the projector, and a Kensington lock provides the security needed for classroom deployment.
The 1800MP has a flat throw angle, meaning that the centerline of the lens intersects the bottom edge of the projected image when the projector is not tilted. Practically speaking, this means that the bottom edge of the picture will be just a couple inches above the level of the conference table. If you want the image higher on the wall, you must either elevate the projector or tilt it upwards. If you choose the latter, you will have a trapezoid-shaped image that you can opt to square up with keystone correction.
Keystone correction is vertical only, and manually adjusted. When using keystone, the 1800MP applies an uneven bolding effect across the screen, resulting in small text becoming slightly harder to read. However, at 12pt font and above, this should cease to be a problem except on very small screens.
The 1800MP's remote control is sleek and simple, with source selection, menu controls, volume controls for the onboard 2W speaker, and page up/page down buttons for a computer connected via USB. There is relatively little learning curve, and the buttons are easy to use by feel, even without a backlight.
The menu system is somewhat unique. Pressing the menu button on the case or remote brings up a row of icons at the bottom of the screen, representing different categories of adjustments. Pressing "enter" on any of these adjustments brings you into that submenu, and pressing "menu" again collapses it back down. It is a very slimmed-down, low profile approach that manages to maintain functionality without taking up valuable screen real estate.
When the projector is operated in standard mode with the lamp on full power, fan noise is about average for this class of projector. However, eco-mode makes it significantly quieter, to the point where it is easy to ignore even when used in a small meeting room and placed in close proximity to the audience.
The 1800MP has a 1.1:1 zoom/focus lens, which is as limited in range as a zoom lens gets. It cannot be used to significantly alter the size of the projected image from any given throw distance, so it does not allow for much placement flexibility. For example, if you want to present a 70" diagonal image, the projector needs to be placed about 9.5 feet from the screen, give or take about six inches.
Lamp life on the 1800MP is rated at 2500 hours for standard operating mode and 3000 hours for eco-mode. Replacement lamps cost $270 directly from Dell, or 1/3 of the cost of the projector itself. This sounds like a large amount, but it really means that you can purchase the 1800MP and a replacement lamp for the cost of the larger 2400MP, and keep it running for twice as long. Furthermore, even at 2500 hours of lamp life, the price of running the 1800MP works out to roughly ten cents per lamp hour.
|Review Contents:||Specifications||Overview||Performance and Conclusion|