Dell 3400MP Micro Portable Projector Review: General Performance
Dell 3400MP Projector: Menus
Dell's main menu provides access to six primary menus. The first, is the Image settings menu - the one you'll no doubt access the most.
I might as well do my bitching now! In my last review, I complained that the InFocus IN34, handled navigation with only two arrow keys, requiring you to select "previous" on any submenu, to move back up menu levels, a waste of keystrokes.
So, here comes the Dell 3400MP, with a full four arrow key navigation pad, but the left arrow key will not move you back up a level. Instead, you have to select Exit, found on each menu, and hit enter. Essentially, the same functionality as the InFocus, however, it is actually a bit worse, because the Exit is always on the bottom (InFocus'es "Previous" is always the first item on a menu). The result, even more extra clicks.
Don't be too concerned, of course, because, afterall, how much time will you actually be spending in the menus? Still, those extra keystrokes just aren't necessary if the left arrow key were to take you back up a level as is typical on most projectors.
Back to the menus, themselves. The Image Settings menu is packed with all the usual controls, starting with Brightness and contrast. Left and right arrow keys control changing the settings. Also found on this menu is the color controls to adjust the balance of Red, Green, and Blue, as shown below.
Other items, include Keystone correction, both a manual control and also an auto control that is likely tied to the elevation of the front foot. There is, of course, the Video modes (PC, Movie, etc.), as well as a White Intensity control and a gamma control labeled degamma. Last, of course, is the Exit item.
Using the Color Setting controls changes your mode choice (PC, Movie, etc.) to User. The projector holds the last setting you use in the User preset.
The menus (not shown here) for computer source and video source provide controls for manually adjusting the computer image for stability, or in the case of video, controls for color saturation, sharpness, and tint.
The Audio menu is pretty basic (shown here), offering up volume adjust, and a mute, both, of course which can be controlled from the remote control from dedicated buttons.
In addition there are two more menus, not shown, one for selecting the language for the OSD (on screen display - menus), and one for returning the Dell 3400MP projector to its default factory settings!
Dell 3400MP Projector: Remote Control
The Dell's remote control is a very nice one! Shown here buttons are in two groups, Those in the black area toward the top, and those below it. The top grouping consists first, of the Power button (top right). Press once for on, twice to power down. Next are the classic four arrow keys for navigating through the menus, (marked with an up arrow, down arrow, minus and plus. In the center is the enter button.
Below to the left is the menu button. Opposite it, on the right, is the button for the laser pointer. Years ago, most projectors had laser pointers on their remotes. Today, it is becoming rare. I suspect that it is a fear of lawsuits, but, regardless, as a former, frequent presenter, I'm a big fan of having a laser pointer on the remote, especially on a remote that can also control your presentations, as the 3400MP does.
Moving to the lower half of the projector's remote, on the left side are a pair of buttons marked Page, which you can use to control your presentation, moving forward and back. For the projector to be able to control your presentation, when you hook up to your computer, you need to not only connect the computer output of the projector with the provided cable, but also plug the USB connector (which is part of the same cable) into your computer's USB port.
Moving to the right side, opposite the Page settings are a pair of buttons for volume up and down and a smaller button above them for audio mute.
To further strengthen the 3400MP's ability to run your computer, there is a center round button, which is actually a joystick for moving the computer's mouse. Below it, left and right are the equivalent of left and right mouse buttons.
That finally takes us to the last two rows of buttons, left to right, the Source select, Keystone Correction, and Video mode (presets - PC, Movie, Game, User, sRGB). On the last row, there is an auto adjust button for locking onto the computer signal for the cleanest image, and a Blank Screen button.
A few competent remote control, I used it extensively, even used the remote mousing, and found it worked very well overall, and fit well in my hand, where, for example I didn't have to shift my hand at all, to use all the presentation controls. Well done!
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Dell 3400MP Projector: Lens Throw, and Lens Shift
The 3400MP's limited 1.15:1 zoom provides little placement flexibility. As noted earlier, you can position the front of the Dell projector as close as 13.3 feet and as far back as 15.5 feet. This is typical of micro portable projectors with all of the ones I can think of, either having no zoom lens at all, or a maximum zoom range of 1.25:1.
For a typical small conference room screen that is 60" diagonal, those numbers change to 8 feet, to 9.3 feet.
The Dell 3400MP lacks lens shift, but, so do all business projectors under 8 pounds, and actually most under 10 pounds.
Dell 3400MP Projector: ScreenDoor Effect and Rainbow Effect
The visibility of pixels is minimal. If you are sitting around the conference room table, most likely only those closest to the screen will be able to easily make out the pixel structure, those further back, not at all. Viewing an approximately 80 inch diagonal image, from 10 feet away, the pixel structure is no issue at all, viewing spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations. If you need the projector to examine photos close up, then, it could be an issue, but if so, that would be true of any DLP projector, and LCD projectors have far more visible pixel structures. The only real solution, if the pixels are too visible for you, would be to go to a higher resolution, more expensive projector, probably LCOS. The smallest of those are more like 7-8 pounds and several times the size, not to mention well over double the price!
The rainbow effect is pretty typical for business DLP projectors. With its 2X color wheel, I can spot the rainbow effect at times, when viewing videos. I am only slightly sensitive to the rainbow effect, and can also spot it on a home theater projector with a much faster color wheel (5X) on scenes where fast moving bright objects move across dark backgrounds. As a projector doubling as your home theater toy, this could be a problem for a small percentage of viewers. When viewing stationary data, however, it is undetectable by me, and, again, I am more sensitive to it than most.
Dell 3400MP Projector: Audible Noise Levels
As would be expected from a projector this small (not a lot of cabinet to baffle the noise), the Dell 3400MP portable projector was a bit on the noisy side. Dell claims 35db in eco-mode, and 38 in full power. Listening to the projector as the fan slows down when switched to eco-mode, the difference certainly seemed more than the mere 3db Dell claims. I don't have the tools to measure audible noise, but I suspect that the 3400MP is probably a bit noisier than 38db in full power, and probably a bit quieter in low power, than the 35db claim.
Is noise a problem? No. Certainly you can hear the 3400MP in a small room, when in full power mode, but it isn't loud enough that you should have to raise your voice to talk over it. In eco-mode the 3400MP is pleasantly quiet enough to definitely not be a problem at all.
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Dell 3400MP Portable Projector: Brightness
Here's another shocker! The Dell not just beat its claimed 1500 lumens but far exceeded it, cranking out 1903 lumens in its brightest mode - PC mode.
Dropping the 3400MP into eco-mode (low lamp power), still managed to produce 1848 lumens, a drop of almost 14%. You should expect that same 14% drop in power, for eco-mode performance for other modes as well.
Movie mode, with its excellent color handling produced 853 lumens, still very presentable for conference room presentations, with moderate florescent lighting.
Game mode brightness was almost identical to PC mode, with 1889 lumens.
In terms of "best" performance in Movie mode, the default movie mode was a little cool, colorwise, with the color temperature for white (IRE 100) of 6914K. The ideal for movies, is 6500K. Switching the 3400MP from the default Mid color temperature, to Low, dropped the color temperature to 5918K, slightly warm (reddish). Of the two, I found the default to be the better choice, but, by creating a user color temperature, you should be able get the color temperature readings between these two, closer to the desired 6500K. By the way, dropping the color temperature setting to low, drops brightness to only 642, so you'll probably want to stay closer to the Mid setting.
Dell 3400MP Projector: Lamp Life, and Lamp Replacement
Impressive! The lamp life of the 3400MP is 3000 hours in full power lamp mode, and an even better 4000 hours in their eco-mode (low lamp power).
Lamp replacement is typical, the Lamp door is underneath the projector. Since the 3400MP is not designed for ceiling mount, this poses no hassle. Interestingly, the 3400MP has a tripod screw thread receptacle underneath, which allows you to slap the projector, quickly onto a tripod, if that works best for you.
OK, that covers general performance. Time for a quick peak at the very, very short Warranty page, and then it's time to summarize, and look at the pros and cons.