GCN Lab Reviewer's Choice: Dell 1800MP

Dell 1800MP

Pros: Brightest in review, solid audio, good ventilation

Cons: Light-colored images somewhat washed out, a bit heavy

Price: $849

Features: A

Brightness: A

Color quality: A

Portability: B+

Value: A

The 1800MP is the brightest DLP in its class. We found this out as soon as we powered up the projector. We could easily see images on our test screen before we even dimmed the lights, a testimony to the 1800MP's functionality in almost any environment.

Specifically, in our tests, the control image displayed at 1,150 lumens in the center of the screen, dropping off to 970 lumens at the corners. That's a fairly significant drop-off'one you might notice, depending on the images you display'but if anything, it's a minor problem. And you can automatically configure the contrast and white balance depending on your needs, setting the 1800MP for PC image rendering, movie display or game playing.

Ventilation on the 1800MP was the best in the review (an important factor when you consider the potential cost of an overheated projector). One entire corner of the unit is a grid-patterned opening that resembles a fancy corner office. The opening lets air flow easily through the unit, which you can appreciate by putting your hand near it. This setup should contribute to longer bulb life and cooler system components.

In addition, the unit was surprisingly quiet, unless we cranked up the internal speaker. Unlike most portable projectors, the 1800MP actually includes a usable 2-watt speaker, which was loudest in the review.

The (slightly heavy) 4.6-pound unit has two VGA ports, an S-Video port and a normal video port. We would have liked to see a DVI port instead of the dual VGAs. Sure, having two analog signals is helpful if you have multiple presenters, but it would be more helpful to be able to pump a pure digital signal into the 1800MP without having to use a converter dongle.

We found that color matching and registration were nearly perfect for all colors, although black images were a bit washed out, as the powerful light tended to bleed through slightly. Also, finely shaded images, such as light pink over white, tended to be more washed out than with other projectors. Still, such light images are a rarity in daily business use, and the color display was near perfect otherwise.

The 1800MP is a great choice if you need to take your projector on the road and don't know what kind of environment you'll be presenting in. In anything other than direct sunlight, the 1800MP should pull you through with flying colors.

Dell Inc., Round Rock, Texas, (800) 999-3355, www.dell.com

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