View­sonic M1

A PRO­JEC­TOR THAT’S BOTH POR­TA­BLE AND PORT-RICH, BUT LACK­ING IN THE IM­AGE DEPART­MENT.

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POR­TA­BLE PROJECTORS HAVE the ben­e­fits of be­ing rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive, fit­ting nicely in your bag and pro­vid­ing an im­age of up to 100 inches across. That’s what the View­Sonic M1 claims to of­fer, but can a great pic­ture re­ally be achieved from such a tiny unit? The M1 is a neat lit­tle de­vice. A han­dle makes it easy to carry about, and it can also be used as a stand to prop the pro­jec­tor up. Un­cover the lens and the M1 au­to­mat­i­cally bursts into life, which is a nice touch.

The but­tons for menu nav­i­ga­tion and vol­ume are lo­cated on the back, but for the most part, you’ll be us­ing the re­mote. It’s re­spon­sive, but works prop­erly only when pointed di­rectly at the front of the pro­jec­tor. The receiver for the re­mote is on the front of the M1, so if you’re sit­ting be­hind it, the pro­jec­tor has dif­fi­culty recog­nis­ing your in­struc­tions.

The M1’s power cable is quite bulky, al­most half the size of the pro­jec­tor it­self, and doesn’t fit into the carry bag sup­plied. This loses the M1 some of its use­ful­ness on the porta­bil­ity front. How­ever, you shouldn’t need the power cable that of­ten; the M1 boasts a claimed bat­tery life of six hours — around three more than the LG Minibeam PH150G. View­Sonic also claims 30,000 hours of lamp life, so you shouldn’t need to re­place it un­til you’ve watched The Lord Of The Rings tril­ogy at least 3,000 times. The View­Sonic also has more ports than many other por­ta­ble projectors. As well as the HDMI 1.4 con­nec­tion for Blu-ray and DVD players, it also has a Mi­croSD card slot, USB Type-A and Type-C. There’s also 16GB of on-board stor­age, which will hold around eight Full HD films.

With its 854 x 480 res­o­lu­tion, the M1 is ei­ther con­stantly down­scal­ing or up­scal­ing con­tent, which could po­ten­tially af­fect the per­for­mance. The M1 also has a claimed 120,000:1 con­trast ra­tio and a 250 lu­men out­put. This is bet­ter than some ri­val por­ta­ble projectors, but far from what the best bud­get do­mes­tic projectors, such as the Ep­son EH-TW5350, can of­fer. Like many por­ta­ble projectors, while the M1’s im­age is ac­cept­able in dark rooms, it has trou­ble han­dling sub­tleties in colour or in­sight in a given scene — and es­pe­cially strug­gles in brighter con­di­tions. It’s a vivid and rich pic­ture full of bright colours, but those colours lack so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

While the M1 brings up an ac­cept­able amount of de­tail for ca­sual view­ing, there’s a dis­tinct lack of tex­ture. Any at­tempt to eke more out of the pro­jec­tor by tweak­ing the set­tings sim­ply makes the im­age look un­nat­u­rally sharp and over­pro­cessed.

While View­Sonic has part­nered with Har­man/Kar­don for the speak­ers here, we’d rec­om­mend us­ing the 3.5mm out­put to con­nect to a more pow­er­ful pair of speak­ers, but it’s a shame there isn’t built-in Blue­tooth for a wire­less con­nec­tion.

The M1 has its plus points, but a few de­sign faults and sac­ri­fices mean that, while this pro­jec­tor will ful­fil the needs of some, it won’t be top­ping our charts any time soon.

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