At a rated 450 lumens, the Dell M115HD palmtop projector gets a boost in brightness over the 300-lumen Dell M110, which it is replacing in Dell’s lineup. It has a good range of connection choices for a micro-projector, and it’s more compact than the brighter Dell M900HD .
The M115HD is an LED-based DLP projector with a claimed WXGA (1,280-by-800) native resolution, as is typical of today’s palmtop projectors. Its LED light source has a 30,000-hour expected lifetime, so the bulb should easily outlast the projector itself. This tiny, boxlike projector measures 1.4 by 4.1 by 4 inches (HWD); we weighed it at 0.8 pounds, 1.5 pounds when you include the power adapter. It’s a tad smaller than, and the same weight as, the Editors’ Choice 3M Mobile Projector MP410, which has a 300-lumen rated brightness.
The M115HD has a 24-pin universal port, with which it can connect via VGA with the included cable. It a USB type A port (for running data, audio, video, or photos computer-free from a USB thumb drive, as well as direct USB display from a computer); a full-size SD card slot; and an audio-out jack. It also offers Wi-Fi connectivity, including Intel’s WiDi technology, with an optional wireless adapter ($70 direct), which fits in the USB type A port.
Unlike the Dell M900HD, the M115HD does not come with a handheld remote (one is available as a $25 accessory.) I did not find this an impediment, though, as pressing an LED-lit button on the projector itself calls up the onscreen menu, which can be easily navigated using four backlit arrow keys.
The Dell M115HD filled our test screen with an image about 65 inches diagonal from 7 feet away. It’s best used in a room with minimal ambient light, as there was some image degradation when a fair amount of stray light was introduced.
In data image testing using the DisplayMate suite, the M115HD provided image quality suitable for typical business presentations. Colors looked reasonably good, though there was some yellow fringing at the borders of white areas, and some gray areas had a slight greenish tinge.
As has been the case with many LED-based DLP projectors with a claimed 1,280-by-800 resolution that we’ve recently tested (including the Dell M110, the Dell M900HD, and the Editors’ Choice 3M Mobile Projector MP410, among others), the M115HD showed what resembled scaling artifacts—unwanted lines or moire-like distortions appearing in images with patterned fills. Scaling artifacts generally show up when the projector has to add or drop pixels in an image to make it match the number of pixels in the display. A projector shouldn’t have to scale an image that’s already at its native resolution, but these artifacts were visible, nonetheless.
For most types of images common in presentations, these artifacts won’t be a factor. They’re most likely to have an effect on text quality. That may have been the case with the Dell M115HD, as its text quality was below average. Type was blurry at the two smallest black-on-white and white-on-black sizes; the white-on-black type also showed considerable spurious color.
All single-chip DLP projectors are potentially subject to the rainbow effect, in which light areas appear broken down into their component colors to form rainbow flashes, generally in light areas against dark backgrounds. The effect was fairly modest in data images, and shouldn’t be a distraction even to people sensitive to it.
Video and Audio
The M115HD’s video is best used for short clips as part of a presentation. The projector showed considerable in its video, with an excess of red in some scenes, and blue in others. Switching to other color modes didn’t resolve this. Rainbow artifacts, though, were minimal, and should not be bothersome even to people sensitive to them.
We don’t expect loud audio from a palmtop projector, but audio from the M115HD’s 1-watt speaker was unusually feeble, audible only when I was seated right next to the projector, and I still had to listen closely at times. The projector does have an audio-out port, so you can use it with earphones or powered external speakers.
The Dell M115HD is a small, featherweight projector that has a solid set of connectivity choices, including an option for Wi-Fi. Like many similar WXGA-based LED projectors, it showed scaling artifacts in our testing, and they may have adversely affected text quality, which wasn’t the case with the Editors’ Choice 3M Mobile Projector MP410.
The M115HD is among the brighter palmtop projectors we’ve seen, and suitable for use in a reasonably dark, small room. Although its text wasn’t as readable at smaller sizes as we’d like, data image quality should be fine for typical business presentations. There was enough tinting in video to make it best reserved for short clips as part of a presentation.
Though its image quality for both data and video falls a bit short of the Editors’ Choice 3M Mobile Projector MP410, the Dell M115HD offers a higher rated brightness, an attractive feature for road warriors who need to present on the fly in rooms they may not have had the luxury of vetting beforehand. It has a good range of connection choices for a palmtop projector, including optional Wi-Fi. If you need higher brightness in an ultraportable LED projector, the somewhat larger, 900-lumen Dell M900HD may fit the bill.
|Native Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Computer Interfaces||Analog VGA|
|Rated Contrast Ratio||10000|
|Rated Brightness||450 ANSI lumens|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc