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Review: Three Ultra-Portable DLP Projectors

Can these two-pound projectors from NEC, Optoma, and Dell handle both high quality PowerPoint and HD images?
Conclusions
If you’ve read through the entire story, you already know my conclusion. Dell’s 3400MP is clearly the best in show. This ultra-portable projector combines superior Windows text and image quality -- the single most important attribute for a portable projector -- with high home theater functionality.


In This Roundup

Introduction

NEC LT20

Optoma EP729

Dell 3400MP

Conclusions and Specs

I should note that I was pleasantly surprised across the board by the brightness of the projectors reviewed here. Even in very bright direct daylight conditions, projected images could be seen clearly and vividly. Additionally, while the Optoma and NEC projectors struggled to accurately display fonts, all three projectors displayed DVD and HD content at much higher qualities than I expected.

One final note: It’s worth noting that the all of the projectors reviewed here work best in XGA (1024 x 768 pixel) mode. While each projector can project a 1280 x 1024 signal, the resulting quality level is consistently disappointing. Given the high numbers of laptops with native SXGA displays and beyond, this means you’ll have to resize your laptop desktop if you’re running at resolution greater than 1024 x 768.


NEC LT20
NEC Solutions
www.necvisualsystems.com
Price: $1,495

Specs
Brightness (Lumens): 1,500 (1300 in Eco-mode)
Contrast Ratio: 2000:1
Audio Out: No
Max. Native Resolution: 1024 x 768
Projection Distance: 3.94 feet to 32.8 feet
Projection Size: 4.9 to 32.8 feet
Lamp Life: 2000 hours (3000 in eco mode)
Size (WxDxH): 7.8 x 5.9 x 2.9 inches
Weight: 2.2 pounds
Software: None
Warranty: 2 years (lamp covered for 500 hours/3 months)



Optoma EP729
Optoma Corp.
www.optomausa.com
Price: $1,495

Specs
Brightness (lumens): 1,600
Contrast Ratio: 2200:1
Max. Native Resolution: 1024 x 768
Audio Out: No
Projection Distance: 3.94 feet to 32.8 feet
Projection Size: 2.5 to 20 feet
Lamp Life: 4000 hours (3000 in BrightMode))
Size (WxDxH): 7.8 x 5.9 x 2.9 inches
Weight: 2.2 pounds
Software: None
Warranty: 2 years (lamp for 90 days)



Dell 3400MP
Dell Inc.
www.dell.com
Price: $1,299

Specs
Brightness (lumens): 1,500
Contrast Ratio: 2100:1
Audio Out: Yes
Max. Native Resolution: 1024 x 768
Projection Distance: 4.9 to 32.8 feet
Projection Size: 2.6 to 20.5 feet
Lamp Life: 3000 hours (up to 4,000 in Eco-Mode)
Size (WxDxH): 8.0 x 6.0 x 2.9 inches
Weight: 2.4
Software: None
Warranty: 2 years advanced exchange warranty