If your job requires you to make travelling presentations, you’ll appreciate being able to keep the weight and bulk of kit down to a minimum. One option is to keep everyone huddled around your laptop, but this requires a laptop with a large screen and imposes practical limitations on the size of your audience. Dell’s M110 projector is the portable alternative, an ultra-small, ultra-light projector that fits easily into your laptop bag while adding hardly any weight. Based on DLP technology combined with an LED light source, it comes with a wealth of connectivity options and features and a footprint of just 10cm square.
HDMI and VGA and composite video inputs are provided with the Dell M110, with and adaptor providing component video input via the VGA port. A propriety ‘Universal I/O connector’ sits alongside a microSD card slot and USB 2.0 port. Either of the latter can be used to supplement the unit’s built-in 1GB of storage, to let you project images, video and play music directly with no computer attached. See also Group test: what's the best projector?
The USB port can also be used to hook up Dell’s optional wireless dongle which will allow you to project directly from an iPhone or Android handset using Dell’s specially-created app. This only projects still JPEGs though.
The Dell M110’s tiny proportions won’t allow for high-brightness output, but the specified 300 ANSI lumens available are surprisingly good for a projector of this size. Provided you keep your image size towards the smaller end of its 0.76m – 2.03m range, you should have no problem viewing the screen in an office environment – although dimming the lights will help.
To adjust the screen size, you’ll need to move the Dell M110 projector back and forth as the lens has no zoom option.
Low-cost projectors often produce less than impressive colour, but the Dell M110 makes presentations look super-zingy by displaying a range of colours much wider than the capabilities of most computer monitors. However, this does mean that photos and video can look a bit over-saturated without proper calibration.
Unfortunately, selecting the projector’s sRGB display mode didn’t reduce the colour gamut at all. It did however produce the best-looking results for photos.
Dell M110: performance tests
To test video playback quality, we hooked up an LG Blu-ray player and settled down for some Batman in The Dark Knight. This is no home-cinema projector, but the M110 produced a surprisingly watchable display. If you’re fussy you’ll notice flesh tones may be a little weird, as though everyone were suffering from a mild case of sunburn.
Video playback via USB was less successful. While you may get away with short video clips, you’re much better off using an external source to drive the video as the built-in option suffers from a reduced frame rate and is far from smooth.
Photo and music playback via USB was rather more useful, but only a limited number of file formats are supported. Notably lacking are PDF and PowerPoint, although software to convert the latter into a JPEG slideshow is provided.
Somewhat annoyingly, the M110 ships with no remote control as standard. It is instead available as one of several options. A kit of spare cables comprising VGA, Composite, S-Video, HDMI, audio and USB will cost £38.40.
You can also buy a handy height-adjustable tripod stand for £21.50 and a wireless dongle for £48. The remote control itself costs £19.20.
A two-year warranty is included in the price, which includes a next business-day exchange policy.
See also: Business Advisor