Dell 3400MP Projector: Audible Noise Levels
As would be expected from a projector this small (not a lot of cabinet to baffle the noise), the Dell 3400MP portable projector was a bit on the noisy side. Dell claims 35db in eco-mode, and 38 in full power. Listening to the projector as the fan slows down when switched to eco-mode, the difference certainly seemed more than the mere 3db Dell claims. I don't have the tools to measure audible noise, but I suspect that the 3400MP is probably a bit noisier than 38db in full power, and probably a bit quieter in low power, than the 35db claim.
Is noise a problem? No. Certainly you can hear the 3400MP in a small room, when in full power mode, but it isn't loud enough that you should have to raise your voice to talk over it. In eco-mode the 3400MP is pleasantly quiet enough to definitely not be a problem at all.
Dell 3400MP Portable Projector: Brightness
Here's another shocker! The Dell not just beat its claimed 1500 lumens but far exceeded it, cranking out 1903 lumens in its brightest mode - PC mode.
Dropping the 3400MP into eco-mode (low lamp power), still managed to produce 1848 lumens, a drop of almost 14%. You should expect that same 14% drop in power, for eco-mode performance for other modes as well.
Movie mode, with its excellent color handling produced 853 lumens, still very presentable for conference room presentations, with moderate florescent lighting.
Game mode brightness was almost identical to PC mode, with 1889 lumens.
In terms of "best" performance in Movie mode, the default movie mode was a little cool, colorwise, with the color temperature for white (IRE 100) of 6914K. The ideal for movies, is 6500K. Switching the 3400MP from the default Mid color temperature, to Low, dropped the color temperature to 5918K, slightly warm (reddish). Of the two, I found the default to be the better choice, but, by creating a user color temperature, you should be able get the color temperature readings between these two, closer to the desired 6500K. By the way, dropping the color temperature setting to low, drops brightness to only 642, so you'll probably want to stay closer to the Mid setting.
Dell 3400MP Projector: Lamp Life, and Lamp Replacement
Impressive! The lamp life of the 3400MP is 3000 hours in full power lamp mode, and an even better 4000 hours in their eco-mode (low lamp power).
Lamp replacement is typical, the Lamp door is underneath the projector. Since the 3400MP is not designed for ceiling mount, this poses no hassle. Interestingly, the 3400MP has a tripod screw thread receptacle underneath, which allows you to slap the projector, quickly onto a tripod, if that works best for you.
OK, that covers general performance. Time for a quick peak at the very, very short Warranty page, and then it's time to summarize, and look at the pros and cons.
Dell 3400MP Projector: Warranty
I have a hard time catagorizing Dell's warranties. To start, the 3400MP comes with a 2 year parts and labor warranty, with an exchange program for the first year, should a problem occur under warranty. As such, that is a slightly better than average warranty. One year parts and labor is the minimum warranty out there, and most of the projectors around this price point have two year warranties (far more than have one year), and a few have 3 years. The Advanced Exchange program is a real plus for presenters, especially for those that travel. The exchange program, according to the website, covers the first year.
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Where the problem comes in, is, that when navigating their website, - is that Dell is big on selling extended warranties. No, that (they sell them) is not the problem, but, figuring out the value proposition is tough. First of all as you go to complete your purchase from Dell, and you get to the screen that pitches extended warranties, it reads like the 2 year warranty comes with both years fo exchange, so that is a question mark. I'll assume only one, until proven otherwise.
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But, you have lots of choices, there is a 3 year warranty with Advanced Exchange, for an extra $149, four years with Advanced Exchange for $249, and five years with advanced exchange for $329.
And if that isn't fun enough, you can add their Complete Care Accidental Damage Service, should you be worried about dropping the projector, or other accidental damage, etc. Dell is clear pointing out that this coverage does not include theft, intentional damage (how would they know?) or loss due to fire (I guess earthquakes and floods are ok?) How much you ask: (this on top of the extended warranty costs)
2 years: $99, 3 years $169, 4 years $219, and 5 years, $249.
So, for example if you decided you wanted 4 year of total coverage, including accidents - your total cost for those programs would be $468! That's a lot, relative to a $1099 selling price, and a market where prices continue to erode, year after year. Considering all that, going for a five year warranty (and maybe four) seems to be overkill, who knows, five years from now, you might be able to buy a much smaller projector that is twice as bright, for under $500. It certainly wouldn't be surprising.
I'll let you figure it out!
Certainly, though, Dell gives you more warranty coverage choice than anyone else I can think of