- Compact and lightweight
- good image quality
- accepts digital and analogue inputs.
- Side-mounted air vent could prove annoying
- no native widescreen support.
Dell’s first branded offering in the projector market is a sleek, lightweight model that will likely find its way into corporate briefcases worldwide due to its efficient performance, robust magnesium casing and attractive price. There’s even the option to install the projector in your office with an optional Ceiling Mount Kit (£109 ex. VAT) which permits height, yaw and roll adjustments. Seasoned travellers can opt for the durable Hard Carrying Case (£79 ex. VAT), although most users will find the supplied notebook-like plastic carrying case sufficient.
This 1.6kg unit is based on Texas Instruments’ DLP technology which allows it to offer a native XGA resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels with an aspect ratio of 4:3. Movie buffs will be disappointed that there’s no native widescreen (16:9) support. If your video source can’t output to the native resolution, the 3100MP automatically scales VGA, SVGA, SXGA and UXGA signals. The 130-watt user replaceable P-VIP lamp gives the imaging unit a claimed brightness rating of 1,050 ANSI Lumens, a contrast ratio of 280:1 and a claimed operational time of 1,000 hours. Replacement lamps cost (£289 ex. VAT). The 3100MP can project an image size of 20 to 294 inches from a throw distance of 1 to 12 metres.
The projector’s auto synchronisation feature produces accurate image sizing, positioning and timing from analogue signals without manual tweaking. Its greyscale response is excellent and colour fidelity good. Although the projector can scale input signals as high as 1,600 by 1,200 pixels (UXGA) to its native 1,024 by 768 (XGA) resolution, image quality is reduced at non-native resolutions. Video signals are handled very well, particularly skin tones, but the built-in speaker isn’t designed to do justice to a DVD movie. The projector is fairly quiet in operation, but hot air is vented from the side rather than the front, which may annoy a few in your audience -- although it does mean it can be pushed back against a wall in cramped environments.
The Dell 3100MP’s plug and play capabilities make setup intuitive and allow the projector to work with most notebooks and video sources. The package also includes all you need to get the projector up and running: infrared remote control with laser pointer (including batteries); DVI-I to 15-pin VGA cable; S-Video cable; RCA audio/composite video cable; power cord and remote mouse cable. The 1.2:1 zoom lens and digital keystone correction controls provide positional flexibility.
The top of the projector hosts seven buttons plus temperature and lamp warning lights. From this array of controls you can power the unit, alter the volume from the 2-watt single speaker, select a video source, trigger the mute and open the multilingual on-screen-display.
Like most of Dell’s products, the 3100MP is backed by a two-year return-to-base warranty. For business presentations on the go, Dell’s first projector is hard to beat considering its commendable mix of price, features and performance.