Dell's Tiny But Powerful M209X DLP Business Projector: Overview
3-27-08 Art Feierman
It's been almost a year since we last reviewed a Dell portable business projector. The new M209X, Dell's latest under 2.5 pound DLP projector, almost immediately is recognizable as a step up from the 3400MP reviewed last spring.
It's smaller, it's cuter, it is much brighter, and as an added bonus, it is slightly less expensive. All good things!
Highlights of the Dell M209X
- Extremely small form factor: 6.1 x 8.1 inches, 2.8 inches high
- Industry "standard" 2000 lumens despite small size
- Limited 1.1:1 zoom lens range
- Extremely long lamp life - 3000 to 5000 hours depending on mode
- Small, well padded carry case included
- Two year warranty program includes replacement, 3rd year available, as is Dell's Complete Care, which covers accidental damage...
- Small, but functional remote control
- TI's Brilliant Color
My initial reaction, upon first powering up the M209X is that it is bright, especially for such a small projector. As is common with DLP projectors, the overall color accuracy leaves something to be desired when the projector is in its brightest modes, but color becomes very good, when needed, by switching down to Movie mode, but it does cost some brightness.
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Dell M209X Micro Portable Projector - Basic Specs:
Click here for more detailed specs: M209X
Native Resolution: XGA (1024x768)
Brightness: 2000 Lumens
Zoom Lens Ratio: 1.1:1
Lens Shift: None
Lamp Life: 3000 hours in Bright Lamp mode, 5000 hours in Eco-mode
Weight: 2.6 pounds
Warranty: 3 Years
Let's start off with a look at the phyical attributes of Dell's M209X portable projector:
Dell M209X Projector: Physical Tour
Small, black, and shiny!
Starting from the front, the M209X has its 1.1:1 zoom lens mounted on the right side (if you are facing the projector front). The lens extends beyond the projector front, with a large trim ring for focus. (The zoom is on the barrel, on the top of the Dell projector). This very limited range zoom allows only a 10% adjustment. That works out to filling a 100" diagonal 4:3 screen from as close as
To the left of the lens, is a small Infra-red sensor for the Dell's remote control. Below that is a button to release the drop down front foot. The M209X uses a three point stance, with two more screw thread adjustable feet, in the rear of the projector. The rest of the front is grill work, for the hot air exhaust.
Moving to the top, besides the zoom lens adjustment on the barrel, is a basic control panel, consisting of only seven buttons: A menu button, four arrow keys, Power button, and a centered Enter button. When not in Menu mode, the arrow keys are used for vertical keystone correction and source select.
The input panel of the Dell projector (located on the back), is farily typical of the "micro" class of portable projectors, with a single computer input, S-Video, Audio In and Audio Out, but, unlike most smaller projectors, the M209X sports an HDMI input, for those of us with computers or video sources with digital output. It performs as advertised. I plugged it right into my Sony PS3's HDMI output, to feed my test disc's test patterns and color tests right into the Dell. It worked effortlessly. The M209X also has a USB input for remote command and control.
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The HDMI input can also extract an analog signal, as well as digital, and a Digital Audio source can be received through the HDMI, making for a total of two audio sources. The VGA computer input supports component video, as well as standard analog computer signals. The projector lacks a rear infra-red sensor, and a monitor out, but the rear sensor doesn't seem to be needed, and a monitor out (for those using desktop computers), is pretty rare on the smallest of projectors.
Bottom line: For a very small projector, the Dell is reasonably well endowed in terms of inputs, it has a nice form factor, and a limited zoom lens.