Do you remember the old days when your office used paper charts and a whiteboard? Or how about the days when you had to huddle your clients around a laptop to view a PowerPoint presentation? Thankfully, those days are long gone. Computer projectors, whether for your home business or your corporation are a great way to portray a professional image while conveying your company’s message via sales or information presentations. Expectations from clients are high these days, and if you want to land that big account you need to come off as polished and professional. A projector is the lifeblood of any road warrior, and Dell’s latest offering is small enough to put in the palm of your hand.
Designed for frequent travellers looking for a compact and light projector at the expense of features and performance, Dell’s M109S (£400) micro projector has got to be credited for its ultra mobility – at 93×105x37mm and weighing 360g (including cables and power brick), you’ll hardly notice it’s in your laptop case. It really, really is small, and will fit easily in the palms of most hands. Powered by Texas Instruments’ Pico technology, the 4:3 aspect ratio projector is equipped with a 858×600 (SVGA) native resolution, built around a DLP chip and an LED light source that offer a brightness of just 50 ANSI Lumens and a contrast ratio of 800:1. As you can tell, the M109S isn’t going to blow you away in terms of performance.
Operating the projector is a snap. It features a 3-in-1 multi-input cable – one for the power block, one with a VGA connector to plug into a computer, and one with a standard composite video connector. The single cable also eliminates the hassle of fussing over multiple adapters and connectors. Video compatibility is good, supporting NTSC, NTSC 4.43, PAL, PAL-M, PAL-N, SECAM, HDTV (1080i, 720P, 576i/P, 480i/P) via VGA, and composite video. Sadly there are no HDMI or DVI inputs.
The projector offers an effective projection image size of 15-60 inches diagonally (you can get a 40-inch-diagonal image from about 60 inches, or a 50-inch image from 80 inches), which is more than enough for small meeting rooms. The M109S comes with a range of essential features including auto keystone correction and vertical image adjustment, password protection, and quick shutdown. There’s no zoom control, but it is easy to adjust image size by moving the projector closer to or farther from the screen. A neat touch is the M109S utilises a mercury-free LED light source offering of usage life up to 10,000 hours, helping to save money and reduce maintenance to a minimum – the LED module has been designed to last the lifetime of the projector.
If you are looking for a projector you can carry with minimal effort so you can give presentations just about anywhere, Dell’s M109S fits the bill. It’s so small that it is guaranteed to impress your clients. The downside is that colours are washed-out compared to regular projectors and it is not very bright. There is no remote control, the touch-sensitive control panel is a pain, and an operating noise level of 32dB/35dB (Normal/Bright mode) is louder than I expected. Another annoyance is that the cable with the VGA connector is only about 2.5 feet long, which resulted in my laptop tugging the projector out of position. Still, it handles PowerPoint presentations with aplomb. If it makes you feel any better, you’d be investing in one of the most eco-conscious display technologies out there. But when there are really great performers are out there for the same price or less, you really are paying a price premium for the size.