We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Projectors Reviews
15,491 Reviews

Dell M109S review

£299 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Dell

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The tiny Dell M109S is a palm-size LED projector with a low brightness rating of only 50 lumens, which makes it best suited for very small groups in dark or dimly lit conference rooms.

The tiny Dell M109S is a palm-size LED projector with a low brightness rating of only 50 lumens, which makes it best suited for very small groups in dark or dimly lit conference rooms.

Even with its cables, AC adaptor, and carry case, the Dell M109S has a traveling weight of under 1kg, making it a snap to take on the road.

The down side is that Dell had to sacrifice some features to achieve the Dell M109S's ultralight design. Its low native resolution of 858 by 600 means you need to use a computer running at SVGA resolution to get the best image sharpness and clarity when making presentations.

The Dell M109S has a small, fixed lens (no optical zoom) with a limited range of focus, it provides only two input options - VGA and composite video, but no audio or USB port - and it lacks a remote control and a built-in speaker. It also has no adjustable feet or tripod mount to help in positioning.

On the other hand, the Dell M109S consumes less power, runs cooler, and is quieter than a traditional lamp-based projector, and the 10,000-hour lifetime for its LED light source is much longer than the 3,000-hour lifetime for many conventional projector lamps.

In image-quality tests the Dell M109S earned a comparatively low rating of Fair for its overall performance. Among the seven ultraportable projectors we tried, it wound up in last place on all of our tests.

Its lack of brightness and its low contrast made discerning the content in some screens (such as white type over a dark background or the different shades of colour in shadowy areas) difficult, and its rendering of small type wasn't as sharp as that of the other, brighter LED projectors.

The Dell M109S's motion tests were also lacklustre. Some colours, such as yellow, looked washed out in an animated PowerPoint presentation, and we saw a lack of details in dark areas when viewing scenes from DVD movies, such as a tunnel car chase in Quantum of Solace and a nighttime speedway race in Speed Racer.

The method of accessing the Dell M109S's on-screen display (to make image adjustments) was also disappointing. The lack of a remote means that the only way to adjust the image is to poke at the touch-sensitive control buttons on top of the projector.

See also: BenQ GP1 review

Unfortunately, the buttons are so small that pressing the wrong one is too easy, which makes navigating the on-screen display a hit-and-miss affair. The menu options are fairly extensive and include five preset picture modes ("PC," "Movie," and such) for optimising the image, but the tiny buttons make them hard to navigate.

It's also daunting to use the Dell M109S's focus ring to obtain the sharpest image from its fixed-focal-length lens; since the thumbwheel moves very little in either direction, finding the best setting is hard.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

PCWorld.com

Dell M109S Expert Verdict »
50 ANSI Lumens (max)
R/G/B LED module light source (no lamp)
DLP technology and BrilliantColor technology
Native SVGA (858x600) Resolution
Contrast Ratio 800:1 (Full On/Full Off)
360g
92x105x37mm
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

All in all, it's difficult to recommend the Dell M109S for mobile presentations when for just a few pounds more you can have a slightly larger LED projector - the BenQ Joybee GP1 - that's twice as bright, provides better image quality, and has more features (including a remote and a built-in speaker). However, Dell frequently offers this product at a reduced price when you purchase it online, and that could make the M109S a much better deal for economy-minded mobile users who do small-group meetings or one-on-one presentations.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Dell M110 review

    Dell M110

    The Dell M110 is a tiny, LED-powered DLP projector for business with image quality that belies its pocketable proportions.

  • Dell M900HD review - an incredibly portable mobile projector

    Dell M900HD - an incredibly portable mobile projector

    A well-conceived tool for mobile executives, the tiny Dell M900HD captivates from the time you first undo its strings on its plush protective bag. Here's our Dell M900HD projector review.

  • 3M MPro 150 Pocket Projector review

    3M MPro 150 Pocket Projector

    Despite its modest dimensions, the 3M MPro 150 Pocket Projector is capable of beaming your presentations at up to 50in on a bare wall.

  • Dell 5100MP

    Dell 5100MP

    Blessed with a brightness rating of 3,300 Ansi lumens, the 5100MP can handle itself in most presentation environments. You probably won't carry this 3.7kg model around too much, mind.

  • InFocus IN1503 review

    InFocus IN1503

    The InFocus IN1503 is a business DLP projector with a widescreen 1280x800 resolution, a 1800:1 contrast ratio and a 3000 lumen ANSI brightness rating.


IDG UK Sites

Nokia Lumia 930 review: The flagship Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone

IDG UK Sites

Live Blog: Apple financial results, record June quarter, 35.2m iPhones sold, $37.4b revenue

IDG UK Sites

Welcome to the upgrade cycle - you'll never leave

IDG UK Sites

Why smartphone screens are getting bigger