ViewSonic PLED-W500 projector review

Ultra-compact standalone projector for business
Photo of ViewSonic PLED-W500 projector
£493 ex. VAT

ViewSonic’s PLED-W500 LED mini-projector is an ultra-portable mode designed for business execs who need to make presentations on the move. It has been released alongside a smaller brother, the PLED-W200. The essential difference between the two machines is that the W200 has a maximum brightness of just 250 ANSI lumens with a contrast ration of 2000:1 while the W600 doubles the brightness to 500 lumens and triples the contrast to 6000:1. No prizes for guessing which is probably the most useful then.

Highly compact
The all-black PLED-W500 is satisfyingly flat, rectangular and compact, measuring a trim 214x164x42mm, and at just 1.18kg is unlikely to make much of a dent in your suitcase – thankfully, ViewSonic also provide a padded carry case for additional protection. With a native resolution of 1280×800 (WXGA) and a throw distance of between 0.91 and 2.4 metres, it’s perhaps not surprising that focus is manually operated.

You can, of course, regulate all your settings either via the tiny control panel on the top or via the remote. As the set-top controls are arranged in an unusual and fiddly diamond pattern that’s  anything but user-friendly, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the remote, especially when you come to the PLED-W500′s strongest selling point, which is its impressive range of inputs.

In-built Media Player
A quick scan of the projector’s back panel reveals not only the expected VGA, S-Video and HDMI inputs but also a USB 2.0, a mini-USB and an SD card slot. While the mini-USB comes with a relevant cable so you can do firmware updates and laptop presentations, both the USB 2.0 port and SD memory card reader enable you to dispense with a PC entirely and work from a flash drive or memory card.

In addition, the ViewSonic comes with Microsoft Office Viewer software built in, so you can instantly view Word, Excel and Powerpoint files, together with an integrated Media Player ready to play back photos, videos or music. However, the onboard 2W speaker is not going to make too much of a racket with your heavy metal collection and there’s no audio-out facility. The LED lamp, though, means low energy costs and with a 20,000 hours life cycle you won’t be changing a bulb for at least a few years on average usage.

Company: ViewSonic

Website: http://www.viewsoniceurope.com/uk

Contact: ViewSonic on 0207 382 8250

Positives
  • USB and SD card inputs.
Negative
  • Awkward set-top controls.

Verdict

We can see the ViewSonic PLED-W500 ultra-portable projector being a very attractive proposition for travelling business people despite its low lumens, because of the useful USB flash card and SD card inputs and built-in Microsoft Office Viewer.