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Micro-Portable Projector Review: Dell M209X Projector: Summary, Pros, Cons

Posted on March 27, 2008 by Art Feierman

I am impressed!

The Dell M209X is bright, light, and extremely small. Even in the provided somewhat large, heavily padded soft carry case, it's no larger than many entry level portable projectors.

Sure, the rather typical DLP color accuracy in brightest mode, leaves much to be desired, with dark reds and mustardy yellow-green yellows, but for many that is rarely critical. Should it be critical for your application, the Movie mode solves most of the problem and leaves you with respectable color. (If you need almost flawless color, you probably need to look elsewhere - mostly to LCD projectors.)

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I was particularly impressed with the projector's ability to lock onto higher res sources, including 1920x1080 the top end of HDTV resolution. Menus are pretty good, easy to navigate, and I defintely liked the remote control. With a $999 price, you are definitely paying a premium for the small size of the projector, as similarly bright, but much larger XGA resolution projectors can be had for a few hundred dollars less.

Dell M209X: Pros

  • Extremely bright for a tiny "micro-portable" projector
  • Ability to lock onto many much higher resolution sources
  • Extremely portable
  • Good (though not exceptional) image sharpness
  • Very nice, compact remote control, even for those with large hands
  • HDMI input (digital), which is still the exception, rather than the rule, especially with the smaller projectors out there
  • Very good overall input flexibility including ability to hook up one digital and one analog computer signal, or two analogs (the HDMI accepts analog as well as digital)
  • Lamp life - much better than average, as good as it gets
  • Basic remote mousing functions - Page Up/Down
  • Remote has built in laser pointer
  • Great warranty, and extensive warranty options
  • Come with padded carry case
  • Very good price/performance

Dell M209X: Cons

  • Zoom lens is only 1.1:1 for minimum flexibility (though not unusual for projectors this size)
  • Despite TI's Brilliant Color, the Dell suffers the classic DLP projector problem doing bright reds and yellows, in the brighter modes (although not bad in the dimmer Movie mode)
  • No monitor out for driving a separate monitor from a desktop computer
  • Providing an HDMI cable would have been nice
  • Documentation only on disc - no printed manual
  • Lacks full remote mousing with joystick type of control

Dell M209X: Typical Capabilities

  • Documentation
  • Size and weight for the smallest class of micro-portables

Dell M209X: Summary

Need a projector that combines minimum size and weight, with maximum brightness? You need look no further than the Dell M209X.

Need a projector with the closest thing to a bullet proof warranty (between its great standard warranty, and the extended and accident options), this is it.

Realizing that there are perhaps a half dozen projectors in the under three pound weight range, that are similarly small in terms of bulk (the shapes do vary), and that I haven't reviewed any others recently, I am still very impressed. I certainly wasn't expecting the M209X to be as bright as it measured, nor that it would so easily exceed its brightness claims.

What it comes down to is this: If a bright micro-portable is what you need, and especially if the 3LCD competition is too large for your tastes (no 3LCD projector comes close to this projector's small size), the Dell should serve you extremely well. It is well endowed, feature wise, and well laid out.

Only the traditional red/yellow handling issue in brightest modes, can be seen as a weakness, and as I have pointed out, you can still get out very good reds and yellows, but only about half of its maximum brightness, when needed.

Our congratulations to Dell, they've produced an excellent, and brilliant, micro-portable projector, that deserves our Hot Product Award. And it's cute, too!

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