Posted on May 26, 2007 Art Feierman
1500 lumens, 2.4 pounds, and extremely compact, the Dell 3400MP is designed for the mobile presenter, who primarily present to small to medium sized groups. You don’t have to be a road warrior to appreciate it’s very small size and light weight, and many will like this micro portable projector, even if just moving it from room to room.
As is typical from such a small projector (a 6 inch by 8 inch footprint – less than half that of a typical laptop), there are limitations, but overall, Dell has put together a very nice package, including a cute little shoulder carrycase, that (although not metal) looks like a minature metal style briefcase.
In exchange for the small size, the Dell has a limited input panel, a small one watt speaker, that definitely is not “hi-fidelity” (afterall, it is much smaller than a laptop, and you know how good sounding the speakers on most laptops are. The projector also runs hot, hot enough to surprise you if you go to pick it up while on, or seconds after powering down, but certainly not enough to burn you.
On the plus side, it cranks out a healthy number of lumens that will produce a very good image on the typical conference room screens (60 to 80 inch diagonal), even with fairly bright lighting. The mobility of this projector is outstanding, and provides a perfect blend of small size and respectable performance, that road warriors crave.
Overall, the performance is very good, with the usual limitation of color accuracy (handling of bright reds and yellows, that is typical of DLP projectors) being it’s biggest weakness. And it shares that problem with hundreds of other DLP projectors. Don’t worry though, if you really need better color, it is available at reduced brightness. I’ll cover this and far more, in the image quality and general performance sections. I found the projector performed very well, and combined with its great portablity, and very reasonable pricing (the very small projectors do sell for a premium over similarly powered projectors that are larger and heavier). All considered, we are pleased to give the Dell 3400MP our Hot Product Award.
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Looking at the Dell 3400 from the front, the first thing you notice, of course, is how small it is. After that, the small, recessed zoom lens, is located far to the left side. This zoom lens, with a 1.15:1 ratio, doesn’t give you much placement flexibility. It’s more like you place the projector where you need to to fill the screen, and the zoom let’s you fine tune your setup to exactly fill that screen. To fill a 100″ diagonal 4:3 ratio projector screen, the front of the projector can be as close as 13.3 feet and as far back as 15.5 feet. Of course a 100″ screen is more typical of large training rooms holding 50+ people, than the typical conference room. Of course you can use these numbers and a calculator to figure out the distances for any sized screen.
To focus the projector, simply turn the focus ring around the lens itself. To zoom in or out, there is a lever on the top of the Dell 3400MP, right behind the lens.
In the center front, of the 3400MP, is an infra-red sensor near the top, and a push release for the drop down center front foot, near the bottom. Dell uses a three point stance for stability, and very nicely, both rear feet are screw thread adjustable as well. The front right of the projector (and front of the right side) are occupied by vents for cooling the projector. The vent leaks some light, but should not be a problem for any normal usage.
Moving to the top, you will find the Dell’s control panel, nicely backlit with blue LED lights when the projector is on. The large button on the left side (looking from the rear) is the power button, press once for on, twice for power down. The projector takes about a minute to fully shut off, while the fan cools the unit (which I should note is important, as unplugging it too soon is bad for lamp life.
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