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Review Contents
Performance
4.5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Dell 1800MP Projector Dell 1800MP
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2000:1 Contrast Ratio
2100 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

Dell 1800MP
Budget Portable XGA Projector

Bill Livolsi, May 9, 2007

Performance


The Dell 1800MP remote control
Our 1800MP test unit measured a hair under 1800 ANSI lumens in its brightest precalibrated mode (PC). Putting the unit into eco-mode dropped lumen output from 1800 to 1180, or a 33% drop. This represents more of a lumen differential between full power and eco-mode than we find on most projectors, as the average is closer to 20%. Therefore, you can use the lamp power modes to control the amount of light you want for varying presentation situations. In smaller conference rooms, 1180 lumens will often be sufficient while 1800 may be too bright. (Due to the 1800MP's short zoom range, there was no lumen output difference between wide angle and telephoto zoom.)

For less light-intensive applications or darkened meeting rooms, sRGB mode in high lamp brings lumen output down to 609 ANSI, or 402 ANSI in low lamp mode. This is ideal for photography in a darkened room or even movies on the weekend, for which a business projector would typically be too bright.

While black level in PC mode was normal for very bright commercial projectors, which is to say not very good, sRGB mode offered a huge improvement. In this mode, the 1800MP is a fine choice for any number of applications, including photography, video games, and the occasional movie.

Image sharpness was impeccable. Not only was a text document clear and easy to read down to 8pt font, but the projector's image was razor sharp, from edge to edge. Every corner was in perfect focus simultaneously, and there was not the slightest hint of softness anywhere in the image.

One of the competitive strengths of DLP technology is its subtle pixel structure, a feature that is particularly desirable when viewing video, film, and digital photography. When viewing the image from a distance of anything more than one screen width, there was no visible pixelation and no hint of a screen-door effect.

The 1800MP looks its best when displaying a native XGA signal, or 1024x768. At 1280x1024, or SXGA, small text became harder to read due to compression artifacts, but 12pt and larger font was still legible. At 1600x1200, the 1800MP's maximum resolution, PowerPoint slide shows and photography were still presentable, while small text was practically illegible. For best results, use the 1800MP with an XGA-compatible computer.

Conclusion

The Dell 1800MP sets a new gold standard in the realm of low-cost projection - its superb XGA performance, high lumen output, and rock-bottom $799 price tag offer an enticing combination to mobile presenters, educators, and anyone else in need of a portable XGA projector. While there are some limitations, like a short zoom range and imperfect keystone adjustment, the Dell 1800MP is a serious contender and a tremendous value.

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