Price: $ 330
We like that.
- Great Sound from Harman Kardon Speakers Lets you move the projector closer to the screen.
- Various connectivity options
- Excellent image
And what we do not
- A bit expensive for occasional use
- Installing apps is not easy
- Pokey navigation also with remote
Using Today's smartphones let you enjoy videos virtually anywhere. But the small screen is sometimes less fun. With a pico projector like the ViewSonic M1 +, a small device delivers a complete picture and can play it virtually anywhere.
Like a big projector just smaller
The M1 + belongs to a class of display products called Pico Projectors. A pico projector produces a video image as used in home theaters or for business or educational presentations, but they are smaller and have lower light output. Pico projectors are considered entertainment devices, although the M1 + is suitable for both business and educational presentations. It only takes a much darker space than a more powerful model. ViewSonic rates the M1 + with 300 lumens, while a more common standard size projector delivers between 2,000 and 3,500 lumens. Lumens are not a linear measure of the light output. They are logarithmic. The 2,500 lumens of a home theater projector are thus not only ten times as high as the performance of the 300 lumens M1 +. it is actually much lighter. That's why the M1 + needs a darker space for optimal performance. The M1 + uses a 10-watt LED array with a lifespan of 30,000 hours. With a three-year warranty, you can be sure that you are watching media for many hours.
It is a stand; It's a grip – it's both
The M1 + has a pretty clever design. There is a rotatable handle that – when folded up – covers the lens and protects it from damage (but not from dust). When folded down, the handle serves as the base for the projector and turns it on. If you move the handle 180 degrees backwards, you can aim the projector at the ceiling if you and / or the children do not mind lying on their backs while watching a movie. If you prefer to use a tripod (not included with the M1 +), there is a threaded hole suitable for most photo tripods.
Moving the handle / lens cover upwards serves as a carrying handle. This is the position required when using the tripod. If you move the handle to cover the lens, the projector will be turned off, but not immediately. The internal fan must first cool the LED lamp (which is barely audible even in quiet times in the video). This instant-on feature is also used when an object is near the lens. Instead of reflecting the intense light on the projector, the lamp turns off. You can also press and hold the left button on the back of the projector to turn it off.
Finally, you can set the projector to turn off when it detects a face (or other object) near the lens. You need to enable this setting, especially if you are using the M1 + near children, as 300 lumens may be enough to cause eye damage if someone looks directly into the light.
Unobtrusive controls and inputs
The few controls on the projector are located on the back. They consist of the Plus, Minus and Back keys to navigate through the on-screen menus and an on-off key that also serves as the Enter key. The included remote has similar buttons, but includes controls for accessing the settings menu and adjusting or muting the volume. You can also perform these operations on the projector, but it is inconvenient to use the power button and the left and right buttons.
There are also two Harman Kardon three-watt speakers on the back of the projector that are as compact as a projector. There is also a strip of five white LEDs that light up when the projector is on to indicate the remaining battery life.
On the left side is a fold-down cover that hides the inputs, power connector, and focus control. The M1 + is a short throw projector, so you do not have to set it up far from the screen to get a nice picture. ViewSonic indicates that you can get a picture with a 100-inch diagonal if the projector is placed three meters from the screen. It is likely that you use it with a smaller screen and at a greater distance. Note that as the distance from the projector increases, not only will the image become larger, but the screen brightness will also decrease.
The M1 + also has an automatic keystone correction. This will prevent the top of the image from being wider than the bottom (or vice versa) as you project up or down from the screen level. In the test, this worked well, but it will not stop the keystoning of the image when the projector is at a dramatic angle to the screen or projection screen. There is a manual mode when the auto mode does not correct the keystone error to your satisfaction.
You can also use the M1 + as a high quality Bluetooth speaker. The two internal speakers deliver three watts of sound power, which easily fills a room of good size at the highest volume. In this mode, the screen turns off after a few seconds and you only hear the music from the internal speakers. In addition to the other ports under the left flap door, there is also a 3.5mm headphone jack that lets you watch a movie without worrying about the volume.
Quick set up, easy to use (mostly)
The M1 + does not come with a lot of accessories, but you get everything you need to set it up and use it. When the M1 + is unpacked, the projector is stored in a felt bag that protects the device from occasional use but is too soft to protect it from severe impact. There is a laptop power adapter and a USB-C to USB-C cable so you can connect the projector to a USB-C device and view files or charge an external USB-C device. Before you can use the projector, ViewSonic instructs you to charge it for at least 4.5 hours. Then you are almost done.
When you turn on the projector, a welcome screen with the ViewSonic logo appears, followed by a screen menu. The menu offers a variety of input sources, including HDMI, a USB-C port, and a USB reader, which may be a flash drive, a USB hard drive, a microSD card, or the internal 16GB memory of the projector in which you can move files in, if you want to completely solve the projector. If you want to use the M1 + outdoors or on a camping trip, you do not have to deal with files from another device.
Adding Apps Is Not Easy
The projector's operating system is based on Android, and there is a menu link to the Aptoide store if you want to load applications. Aptoide is an independent store for Android applications with most popular apps, including streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio and others. However, navigating through the choices is difficult even with the remote control. I was able to install Spotify, but could not find Netflix or most of the others that were visible and searchable when I signed in to Aptoide on my PC.
The search option did not find it on the M1 + when I used it, but the remote did it on my pc. While trying to install other apps, I accidentally uninstalled Aptoide. The only way to restore it seemed to be reinstalling the firmware – not an easy process. Installing Spotify was easy, and it worked and sounded great on the M1 +. Therefore, it is possible to install and run apps directly on the projector – for some it is easier than for others.
I was luckier with an Amazon Fire TV stick. I connected it to the HDMI input of the M1 + and was immediately able to log in to all of the above streaming services as well as others supported by the Fire TV stick. It pays off to turn the projector into a Smart Projector and get Alexa to speak the language about the main projector features for around $ 40, which costs a Fire TV stick.
A Great Image
Most of the tests were done with The projector was one meter away from the screen and showed the diagonal of a 36-inch TV. The picture quality was impressive, considering that the room was only slightly darkened. As I moved the projector, I tested the projection on a white foam board, a light blue wall, a whitish ceiling, and finally a 108-inch projection screen. The picture on the projection screen was the best, but the projector had to be about two meters from the screen to fill it in. And although the setting was brightest on the M1 +, the picture was noticeably brighter and less intense than when the projector was closer to the screen. Interestingly, the most observable image was on the piece of foam I bought at a dollar store that lends itself well to using the M1 + outdoors or in a casual atmosphere.
Before you buy the M1 + (or a projector), you must consider the surface to which you want to project the video. Most games sold and many reviews assume you are using a bright wall that is big enough for the picture. This may or may not be the case. A projection screen is the optimal solution, but not always practical or affordable. Another option – especially for a bright ceiling – is to aim the projector up and attach the video to the ceiling. You can look at it from the couch or from the floor.
Fortunately, the M1 + provides a very good-looking picture on a variety of projection screens. Note, however, that the M1 + (and Pico projectors in general) do not match the light output and screen brightness of a typical home theater projector.
Using the M1 +
The M1 + has an internal lithium-ion battery. When fully charged, you have up to six hours of projection time. The light output has four brightness settings, so that at full brightness significantly less time is expected without a cable. You can set the brightness control to the highest level if the room or area in which you are projecting is only moderately dark. In my tests, I had just over two hours of light setting with the remaining battery at about 2/5 (according to the LED battery indicator). At the lowest utilization (Eco setting), the M1 + returned approximately six hours, but the image was significantly darker and required almost total darkness.
The films I tested showed a lot of movement and one had many dark underwater scenes. This offered the opportunity to assess the level of detail in shadow areas. Both films were easy to see, but some of the darker scenes lacked a few details in the darkest areas. Considering the action and the motion on the screen, there was hardly any rain, which can sometimes occur with projectors with DLP technology (like the M1 +).
The most surprising thing was that both films could be seen in a moderately dark room. The picture was slightly washed out, but still visible. In a fully darkened room, the image of the M1 + was bright and almost as good as my flat screen TV, although the projector's maximum resolution of 1920×1080 (the minimum is 640×480) leaves much to be desired for those looking for 4K quality ,
Fun, but not much else
You must use the M1 + in a moderately dark room or at night, away from strong light sources. The 300 lumens provide a nice picture, but only in the right circumstances. Is M1 + worth the price of 339 USD? Ultimately, the ViewSonic M1 + is a good value. It can be used both as an entertainment device and as a portable presentation device. The M1 + weighs only 1 to 2 pounds and is light and small enough to stow it away for business trips and phone calls in case you need to make a last-minute presentation.
When not in use When traveling on business, you can use the M1 + at home (or wherever it's dark enough) to project an image from one of the many input sources Bring the projector closer to the screen  Various connectivity options
And what we do not do
- Somewhat expensive for occasional use
- Installing apps is not easy
- Pokey navigation even with remote