Projector Reviews

ViewSonic M1 Pocket Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality

ViewSonic M1 Pocket Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality: Out-of-the-Box Color, Video Image Quality, Text and Presentation Quality, Audio Quality

Out-of-the-Box Color

Rather than the standard “Color Mode” setting, the ViewSonic M1 Pocket Projector offers three “Display Modes.” They are: Brightest, Standard, and Theater. I had to toggle back and forth a number of times to see any real difference – it’s extremely minor. The only thing that seems to really change between the three display modes is the temperature.

Brightest seemed a little cool, theater seemed a little warm, and standard was somewhere right in the middle. The Light Source settings, i.e. the three different Eco modes, only had an effect on brightness, and aren’t tied in to the color modes. Regrettably, there are no options to calibrate anything or to change color temperature.

All photos in this review, save for the ones in this section utilized to demonstrate the different modes, were all taken in Standard Mode. Color is alright, but reds and skin-tones tend to suffer, which is pretty typical at this price point.

Video Image Quality

It’s important to remember that the ViewSonic M1 is not an HD projector. It is able to accept 1080p content, but it will not display it at that high resolution. As such, fine detail falls by the wayside and the experience suffers for it. Oh, it’s watchable and enjoyable, but it could have been so much better. Maybe ViewSonic will create a 1080p sibling for the M1? They were the first to provide 1080p projectors at low prices, so perhaps they can do the same for a 1080p pocket projector.

All the above photos were taken in Standard Mode.  Standard mode seemed to fit right between the other two modes which were either too cool, or too warm. There are some scenes were skin tons look very nice, and other where they’re far too red. This is very noticeable in the screen captures from Catching Fire; something else worth pointing out is there are several photos where parts of Jennifer Lawrence’s face are entirely too pink, red even, while other areas of her face are much too ashen, and at the same time – take a look at the scene in the elevator.

ViewSonic M1 Projected Image The Greatest Showman

Skin tones seem to do better in The Greatest Showman, with the most accurate skin tone being the photo of Jenny Lind (portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson).

Disney’s Zootopia looks great. The color just seemed to be better all-around in this animated film. Other than Nick Wilde (the fox) being too red, I have no complaints. As you can see, Gray’s Anatomy and Sugar Rush are also hit and miss as far as color accuracy goes.

Gaming

The ViewSonic M1 pocket projector is an ultra-portable gaming projector. Though I’m not current with the most modern games and systems, I had a blast playing The Force Unleashed and Quantum of Solace on my PlayStation 3, as well as Mario Kart on the Wii and all sorts of games on the Nintendo NES and Super Nintendo Classic. I felt the video quality was just fine for gaming on these not-HD systems. What I did notice is that the projector seemed to slip out of focus after about an hour of gameplay (many projectors lose focus after about 30 minutes of being powered on); annoying but it only takes a moment to adjust.

Sports

As most of you have read in her reviews, my sister, Nikki, doesn’t “sportsball,” and neither do I.  My running joke when the kids want to play basketball is, “Is that the game with the home runs?” Since I don’t follow any teams, I don’t have cable or satellite sports packages. What I do have is Amazon Prime Video, which offers plenty of sports content. Here are a few photos from All or Nothing.

Text and Presentation Quality

The ViewSonic M1 pocket projector does not produce an overly clear or sharp image, and this is readily apparent when it comes to reading text. This is due primarily to the low WVGA (854×480), DVD-quality resolution. To give an anecdotal example, I had difficulty reading the text on the menu for my PlayStation 3 from just 5 feet from the screen.

Typically, I can read even the smaller 8pt and 10pt text for the back of my living room, which is about 15 feet from the screen – it was not legible at all! 12pt text was difficult to read, but doable. I could comfortably read 16pt and larger from the back of the room. You will notice that a lot of the smaller text found on infographics and on web content is difficult, if not completely impossible to read.

If you are interested in using the M1 for presentations, it’s going to be critical that the presentations are optimized for this particular projector and resolution. Make sure you use larger text to get the most out of the presentation!

Audio Quality

The M1 offers two 3-watt Harman Kardon speakers. As I write this section, The Greatest Showman is playing on the ViewSonic M1 down the hall, the volume is only set to 10/20, and I can hear absolutely everything as if I was sitting on the couch watching the movie.

I had the volume at the maximum level earlier and even with loud singing and shouting nothing sounds tinny. There is even some bass there – now obviously it’s not the boom-boom bass, but it will definitely do for a pocket projector. Heck, I’d be happy with this kind of sound from just about any projector!

If you need to plug in headphones or external speakers, there is a 3.5mm MiniJack for Audio Out. A neat feature is that this projector can be operated with the light engine turned off and used as a portable stereo of sorts. With the built-in 16GB storage, ViewSonic tells us the M1 is capable of storing 4,000 songs.

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