The Dell S300W is a pretty standard looking projector with the lens cap on, but once removed you can see a very noticeable difference. That difference would be its dome shaped lens. It is this shape that allows the S300W to have such a short throw. As mentioned in the intro, it can projector a 90" diagonal, from just three feet away. Fine focus is controlled from the top of the projector.
To the left of the lens is the only IR sensor. Next to that you will find the exhaust port. The sides are wide open covered by a grid screen which seems to help keep the projector pretty cool. The top of the projector is where you will find the on-board control panel. It is not as full featured as the remote, but you can still change all the settings. The remote just provides for a little more convenience.
The rear of the projector is extremely packed with inputs. From left to right you will notice the antenna for the wireless capabilities of the projector. It comes with a antenna not featured in the picture below. Above the antenna you will find a USB port for firmware upgrades and support. Next to that is an HDMI port for HD signals. Below the HDMI port is the RJ45 input for connectivity to your network. Just to the right you have a Type A USB port for doing PC Free presentations. Just slide in your USB drive with your JPEG slides and you are ready to present. Next is a USB Type B port for presenting without a VGA cable. Just plug the Type A end of the chord into your laptop and you are ready to present. There is also a monitor out if needed. Stacked are the two VGA inputs. Both serve the same purpose, but VGA input 2 allows you to handle Component video via a special cable not included. The Dell S300W also supports the basic inputs that pretty much come standard on all projectors.
One being the S-video port, the composite port, and one that is not all that common the Left/Right audio-in ports. One added port that is unusual is the Mic port. With the 8 Watt speaker this could come help amplify your presentation a bit. There is also an audio in port and audio out to another sound system should you need more sound output than the 8 Watt speaker. And finally, there is a input so you can turn the projector on from a wall switch. For security, you have both the standard Kensington lock and a lock bar for extra security. The Dell S300W takes a standard electric plug used on most desktop computers.
Setup of the Dell S300W is pretty straightforward. There is no optical zoom. You have to position the projector by moving it forward and aft to get the desired image size. There is a fine focus knob on the top of the projector. To adjust the angle on even surfaces, you will find four adjustable feet. The front feet unscrew a little farther than the rear feet to so you can raise the projected image. All are independently adjustable so even the most uneven surfaces won't keep you from producing a nice square image.
The lamp door is located on the bottom of the projector. If you plan to mount this unit, keep in mind that you will have to take down the projector. Some K-12 and Universities find this to be a disadvantage due to the extended amount of time it will take to maintain a large number of projectors, but keep in mind the number of features and the price of this projector. Considering its capabilities, it is priced very well. One will have to decide if all the capabilities justify the cost of maintenance.
The menu system was very easy to use and well laid out. All the buttons and controls were labled well and moving around from screen to screen was a breeze. Provided are some photos of the menu system to help give you a better sense of how they work.
The Dell remote proved to be laid out well enough that you could get a sense of where buttons are without looking after at least a few minutes of using it. There is a clearly distinguishable navigation button setup at the top of the remote. The menu button is conveniently placed and there is even a laser pointer to the right of the menu button. All the other buttons below are ones that will not get used all that often, but the ones that will, have been nicely seperated from the cluster above. I felt that made it easier to work through the different sources and Video Modes. Overall a great, and very responsive remote.