Posted on December 12, 2014
The PLED-W800 is an LED projector from Viewsonic. Claiming 800 lumens, this larger pocket projector is one of the brightest projectors in this class. The PLED-W800 is WXGA resolution has a street price under $710 in the US.
There are, of course, much larger LED projectors out there are are brighter, more featured, and cost more, but they don’t directly compete. There are also the much smaller pico projectors (ones really small enough to fit in a pocket) but those are very limited in brightness – normally 100 lumens or less.
The PLED-W800 LED projector is a very lightweight, and compact projector. From a feature set standpoint, it is suitable for a wide range of uses including business, education, gaming, and general home use. It offers impressive media player type features, that can be further enhanced with 3rd party software. One thing of note, unlike most DLP projectors, the PLED-W800 does not play 3D. That makes sense since 3D needs more than double the brightness of 2D, so is best left to much brighter and larger projectors.
It’s definitely suitable for the road warrior, for doing presentations to smaller groups – (actually – up to 50 people if there’s decent lighting control – not a fully darkened room).
For those so inclined, it has the performance to be a very fast gaming projector. In that regard it performs better than almost all traditional projectors, or at least as well.
For more general home use, do keep in mind that the W800 is no dedicated home theater projector, but it is most respectable for watching HDTV and movies, as a variety of photos in this review demonstrate. No it’s not for home theater enthusiasts, who, if nothing else, could find a higher resolution (1080p) entry level lamp based projector for about the same price. Consider, in that case, Viewsonic’s own PJD-7820HD, one of our favorite low cost projectors for home use, and the projector that was the first sub-$1000 1080p projector to ship a couple years ago, but is now routinely under $700.
As is typical of these ultra-portable or mini, or micro, or pocket projectors – all terms over the years to describe very light weight projector categories – there is no zoom lens, but the PLED-W800 does offer digital zoom.
The PLED-W800, in one sense, is very typical of this class of LED large “pocket” projectors. I could easily describe it this way: “jack of all trades, master of none.” That’s true of all of the competing LED projectors, for other than the advantage of the long life LED light source and small size, consider: Other types of projectors – lamp based – are brighter, offer much brighter lumens per dollar, they have more placement flexibility (zoom lenses, etc.) are sharper and higher resolution (1080p or WUXGA) for the same money, and so on. But if you need reasonable brightness for home or presentations, and need something very small and light, the W800 and some of its competitors is still likely to be a great choice for many.
It should be noted immediately, that while the PLED-W800 officially weighs less than 2 lbs., there’s a separate power brick, so you are really looking at more like 2.5 pounds. Of course that’s still very light, but it adds a bit to the overall bulk, which is still minimal. Viewsonic does not offer any sort of battery pack, as small LED projectors this bright don’t last long unless the batteries are heavy. The projector normally draws almost 100 watts when in use. Most lamp based projectors, by comparison draw from about 200 – 350 watts, but they are at least that much brighter.
The PLED-W800 has an SD card slot, and it’s one HDMI input supports MHL, giving the projector a whole lot of “plug-in” smarts. With plug in devices such as Roku sticks, Google Chromecast, etc. multiple channels of content become available over wifi, including news, Netflix and a wealth of other content, some such devices will let you surf the web, or perhaps you use MHL to interface to MHL capable Android tablets and phones.
This projector review is included in our 2015-2016 Best Classroom Projectors Report, which is sponsored by Epson America.
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