So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Small, stylish and powerful.
- Small size, powerful light output
- No USB cable, difficult remote usage
Dell’s M209X is light, well-priced and has a high brightness level. If you can look past the fiddly remote, it’s a great portable data projector.
Price$ 1,699.00 (AUD)
Dell’s M209X barely weighs more than a kilogram and is well priced, and its technical specifications are more than adequate. A slightly cramped control interface doesn’t hold back the M209X from being a great budget portable data projector.
The M209X follows the current trend in the projector market with square edges and simple styling, but it also maintains a timeless black gloss finish. The projector’s body has a forward-firing fan, which we prefer over rear- and side-firing models. Noise levels were acceptable enough for the projector's size — with a rating of 32 decibels — though they might be slightly uncomfortable in a small room.
In terms of ports it sits at the front of the pack, with an HDMI port as well as the usual line-up of Composite, S-Video and VGA connectors. The HDMI port is definitely a plus, allowing for connection to most recent digital devices and entertainment notebooks.
The M209X replaces the 3400MP from Dell and makes several improvements to its ancestor’s successful formula. The M209X's lumen count is 25% greater than its predecessor's, making it brighter. The contrast ratio is also more than acceptable with an 1800:1 rating. This means the M209X is able to reproduce a rich range of colours with pinpoint accuracy.
The 1024x768 resolution is on par with class leaders, while its 300in maximum projection screen is large enough to suit even the most sizeable room. Once you get to these kinds of projection distances, however, pixel sizes are certainly noticeable — so if you’re looking for outright image quality and smoothness you might be left slightly disappointed.
The projector has a 4:3 native aspect ratio, making it more suited to PowerPoint presentations and data projection than movies, although it is able to scale to 16:9.
When purchasing the projector the traditional Dell goodies are included — a full swathe of cables and a high quality carrying case. Taking pride of place is the unit’s remote, which looks ultra-modern and slick with a flat face and square buttons.
Setting up the M209X is simple thanks to its small size. Put it down, run a few cables and switch it on. It boots up speedily and the default Dell logo can be replaced with a picture of your choosing for that added touch of class in your travelling presentation.
Image quality is great for the projector’s small size, with vibrant reds and blues. We did find that shades of yellow were slightly dull in comparison but this won’t be an issue for most users, especially if the projector is primarily being used for data presentations. It shows images smoothly without any noticeable instances of a rainbow effect or any image tearing.
In its low-power output mode the projector is rated to last an immense 5000 hours — certainly ahead of the pack and definitely suited to frequent users. This is made possible in part by the projector’s comprehensive shut-down process, which includes the fan running for up to 90 seconds. This can be cut down with the Quick Shutdown procedure, which completes the cool-down process in 10 seconds.
All in all, the M209X is a great projector. It’s small, light and powerful, and is suited to almost any data projection situation.
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