This review appears in the June 06 issue of PC Advisor, available now.

Blessed with a brightness rating of 3,300 Ansi lumens, the Dell 5100MP can handle itself in most presentation environments, including large conference rooms and lecture halls. You probably won't carry this 3.7kg model around too much, however.

The DLP (digital light processing)-based 5100MP has a native SXGA+ (1,400x1,050) resolution that requires a computer signal at the same resolution for optimum image quality. Since the still-image tests that we use to compare projectors were at an XGA (1,024x768) resolution, the 5100MP had to upscale our test images to fit its frame size. Unfortunately, this interpolation caused a slight loss of sharpness when projecting text images.

The difference in resolution didn't affect the 5100MP's performance in our graphics and motion playback tests, though. In those areas, the Dell earned better-than-average scores, displaying accurate colour with good tonal detail in both light and shaded areas. And in informal tests using images captured at SXGA+ resolution, it coped much better with text.

A small LCD on the top panel shows the projector's status – such as active input source – and is less cryptic than the blinking lights replied on by most other models. If the Dell is tilted at an angle to the screen, an automatic correction facility removes trapezoidal image distortion.

Despite being packed with options, the onscreen menu is reasonably easy to navigate. To optimise the image, the 5100MP provides several preset picture modes – PC, movie, game, sRGB and user mode – along with extensive colour controls. The well-designed remote includes all the amenities a presenter may need, including a laser pointer, dedicated buttons for picture-in-picture and standard picture modes and mouse control.

The 5100MP supports a wide range of computer and video connections and comes bundled with all the cables you'll need, including digital and component video. You even get an RJ-45 input connector for using the unit in a wired network environment. The built-in stereo system – a pair of 2W speakers – provides stronger sound than most business projectors.

Dell 5100MP: Specs

  • DLP technology
  • native resolution 1,400x1,050 (SXGA+)
  • contrast ratio 2,500:1
  • brightness 3,300 Ansi lumens
  • 300W lamp (lasts 1,700 hours, replacement bulb £239)
  • noise rating 37/31dB (normal/economy mode)
  • 2x 2W speakers
  • 3-year warranty
  • 330x261x115mm
  • 3.7kg
  • DLP technology
  • native resolution 1,400x1,050 (SXGA+)
  • contrast ratio 2,500:1
  • brightness 3,300 Ansi lumens
  • 300W lamp (lasts 1,700 hours, replacement bulb £239)
  • noise rating 37/31dB (normal/economy mode)
  • 2x 2W speakers
  • 3-year warranty
  • 330x261x115mm
  • 3.7kg

OUR VERDICT

The versatile but pricey Dell 5100MP delivers bright, high-resolution images and earns a qualified recommendation. Be warned that for best text results it requires a PC set at an SXGA+ resolution.

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