Dell 3400MP DLP Micro Portable Projector Review – Overview

Next is the classic four arrow keys with center Enter button, for navigating the menus. In addition, when you are not in the menus, the left arrow key doubles as Source selection, each time you press it, it toggles you through the possible sources. The Up and Down arrow keys double for keystone correction (a modest +/- 16%), and the right arrow key is the Resync button, which you can press if the image the projector locks onto is less than ideal. Finally, further to the right, is the Menu (on screen display) button. And further right are two indicator lights, one a Temperature warning light, the other, the Lamp warning light. That completes the control panel, all other control of the 3400MP is available through the menus. These will be covered on the General Performance page.

Click Image to Enlarge

That takes us to the input panel on the back of the Dell 3400MP. The selection is rather minimal, as the projector is small, and also, because the typical buyer of this class of projector doesn’t need a zillion inputs. Looking at the input area, from the left there are two stereo mini jacks, the first for audio out, so that sound can also be relayed to external speakers. The second one is the audio input. The Dell 3400MP accepts stereo audio and combines it to feed the small 1 watt internal speaker.

Next comes the M1 connector, which supports either a DVI (digital), Analog RGB (typical computer), and compoenent video source. Dell provides a cable with the M1 adapter on the projector end, and a standard computer HD15 connector on the other. That same cable also has a USB connector on the computer end, allowing for page forward/back control of presentations from programs like Powerpoint. Next comes two standard video inputs, a composite and an S-video. Finally there is the rear infra-red sensor for the remote, and the powercord receptacle. Dell uses the small connector many refer to as a mickey mouse connector (the name is obvious, when you look at its shape).

That’s all there is in terms of our physical tour of the Dell 3400MP portable DLP projector. Time to explore this Dell projector’s image quality.

Image quality on typical data presentations is very good. Text is clear, sharp, and very readable, even small type sizes down to 8 points, when the Dell 3400MP is fed signals in its standard XGA (1024×768) resolution. (Click to enlarge)

Graphics are equally sharp, making charts, diagrams and renderings look clean, and professional. The first image here, shows small to medium sized type from my laptop, set for XGA resolution, and there is nothing here to fault the 3400MP.

The second image (click to enlarge), shows the Dell handling a higher resolution signal from my Dell widescreen, of 1280×800. Compressing the image to fit, the 3400MP does a better than average job, although it does much better with white text on black, than black text on white.

As is typical, the Dell has more problem handling color on color text, (yellow on blue, in this case), than black on white, but, surprisingly, it did better handling yellow on blue, than white on black. In fact, the small type (color on color) is definitely more readable than on the InFocus IN34, which was recently reviewed.

Color accuracy, however, is the achilles heel of most DLP projectors. As a rule, almost no portable DLP projectors do a good job of handling bright reds and bright yellows in their brightest mode. The Dell 3400MP portable DLP projector is no exception. Like the bulk of its competition, bright “fire engine” reds tend to be reproduced more like a rich dark wine color, and bright yellows tend to look mustardy, and have a greenish caste. In the case of the 3400MP, both colors suffer, but, not quite as badly as most DLP projectors. The pie chart shown here, is in the 3400MP’s PC mode, it’s brightest mode, designed for presentations. The color issues described are evident, reds are anything but “fire engine red, and the bright yellow – well, the image speaks for itself.

 

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