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ViewSonic M1+ Portable Projector Review


ViewSonic M1+ is said to be the smarter successor of their first-ever portable projector, the M1 (you can read all about that one here) and since we reviewed the first one, we were keen to find out how this one fares. With an upgraded OS to accommodate an all-new 16GB internal storage, app compatibility, and wireless connectivity, we’re quite hopeful – let’s dig deeper to find out more!

Design

The M1+ is quite a good-looking projector with the body featuring a mesh top to conveniently draw more air and the front and rear sides being covered in ventilation grills. The rear end features an uncomplicated set of control buttons for power and battery level indications. The left edge sports a focus adjustment wheel and the bottom side comprises of a mounting jack that is compatible with regular tripods and mounting screws. The body is all plastic, except one element – the stand. The stand swings out from the front and also doubles up as a lens protector as it houses a proximity sensor that can detect when an obstruction is in front of the lens, in which case it quickly disables the lamp automatically to save battery as well as potential blindness.

It may look small, making one feel like there might be a definite compromise on the number of ports on this, but the M1+ makes no such settlement in our opinion as it houses a plethora of ports to make all kinds of connections. Its USB-C, HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack (audio out), and 5W USB-A ports are sufficient for most use cases. Moreover, there is a MicroSD card in addition to the already expanded 16GB internal storage, which we think is a huge positive. ViewSonic’s M1+ also supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. The device also comes with a handy remote that has basic media controls.

Performance & Features

The M1+ offers a reasonable 854 x 480p resolution, so it doesn’t make sense to expect 4K video quality from its projection. Also, we noticed that the projection starts getting blurrier, the further you move the projector from the surface you’re projecting on – text is not legible after you move it beyond 3 metres. Although, in addition to external input, ViewSonic’s M1+ supports media playback through SD cards so that users do not have to carry a laptop when the presentation only involves media files.

Coming to the colours, the ViewSonic M1+ claims to support up to 1.06 billion colours (around 65 times the sRGB (Rec. 709) colour gamut), but what it does not tell you that this colour rating is only something that its Texas Instrument Digital Light Processing (DLP) chip can support. This means that your routine output is actually heavily influenced by other factors like optics and colour wheel quality, thus, failing to deliver that too good to be true colour quality it claims. However, the images and movies still look great, and the colours are punchy and saturated, so it does end up delivering an enjoyable viewing experience overall. One thing to keep in mind though – it tells quite a dull story in a well-lit room, even on full brightness. On lower brightness and in power-saving mode, one needs an almost pitch-black room to get a good visual experience.

Its throw ratio always determines a projector’s projection size, so a higher throw ratio indicates a wider projection and vice versa. Now, since the M1+ is expected to be used closer to the projection surface, it has a higher throw ratio of 1.2. When you combine it with a 3m usable distance, it can impressively produce a projection up to 3.6m wide – a huge plus for such a small unit.

Let’s talk about the audio performance now. ViewSonic’s M1+ supports audio output through a 3.5mm audio jack, but it also houses a pair of speakers by Harman/Kardon. The sound is quite impressive, to be honest, better than a lot of portable speakers even. The projector’s built-in speakers actually do a fantastic job at delivering clear sound across a small office space. And if you’re wondering if this can be used as a standalone speaker after our portable speaker comment, yes it can! This can totally be done without turning on the projector, provided with the fan is still on.

ViewSonicM1Plus Rear

Battery

Considering that the unit draws up to 45W of power, it lasts a little over 2 hours on maximum brightness after a full charge – which is pretty good. If you dim the lighting and subsequently the brightness, it can last even longer. The ViewSonic M1+ projector is set to be Eco mode by default in order to optimize battery life. Users can manually adjust brightness and can also change its power settings to full. The M1+ charges using a dedicated charging port, just like its predecessor and can take a few hours to do so.

The projector lamp isn’t changeable, but it is supposed to last for around 30,000 hours of usage on moderate brightness.

Verdict

While the ViewSonic M1+ is a decent updated entry-level portable projector that brings a couple of new features to the table, it does a have a considerable drawback when it comes to brightness, especially for office use. It is excellent for watching movies since one would prefer to watch them in that dark, but making presentations using this device can be a struggle in a well-lit room. However, we are quite impressed with the M1+’s wide array of screening options – over and above the USB-C and HDMI input options, it also offers wireless screen mirroring support which is super convenient for when one does not wish to transfer their files over to a PC. Moreover, there’s no denying that it is equipped with an impressive set of speakers that can even operate it independently.


What do you think?

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