Posted on March 17, 2021 By Jarrod Buckley
ViewSonic M2 Review – Performance: Color Modes, Video Quality, Black Levels and Shadow Detail
The above screen shots are intended to give only a rough idea of the color accuracy for each picture mode. However, when viewed in person the color accuracy will generally look somewhat better than shown in these photos. The images show the difference in color and skin tones, for the different preset picture modes.
There are 6 factory color presets. ViewSonic describes them as such:
“Brightest” color mode produces a cooler image, but it is sufficient for viewing media in a well lit room. “TV” is a slightly warmer image and seems to produce the most true colors. “Movie” mode isn’t quite as bright as the others, but it is the most crisp/clear image, and my preferred color mode. Gaming mode appears cooler with higher blue levels. When I attempted to use the projector for gaming, there was a mild but very noticeable and frustrating lag between the image and the control input for the game. None of the color modes seemed to fix the issue.
Within each color mode, the user can adjust brightness, contrast, color temp, tint, saturation, sharpness, gamma, and color settings to their liking. Under advanced settings, the user can adjust: frame interpolation, 3D settings, and speaker settings.
ViewSonic lists two different brightness specs for the M2. It has a rated brightness of 500 ANSI lumens. While ANSI lumens is the industry standard, there is a theory the LED light sources also make images look brighter than measured ANSI Lumen brightness. ViewSonic states projector can output “1,200 LED lumens” because it should look as bright as a 1200 lumens lamp-based projector.ViewSonic M2 has a rated brightness of 500 ANSI lumens.
I took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens which usually gives a pretty good approximation of ANSI lumens. At full wide angle I measured the EF12 in its brightest picture mode:BRIGHTNESS.
Brightness: 492 Lumens
At wide zoom, “brightest” mode.
The M2 measured 492 lumens which was slightly lower than ViewSonic’s brightness claim.
Brightness at mid-zoom
ViewSonic only lists the M2,s dynamic contrast ratio, but on my matte white Screen, in a dark room, it produces blacks that I would consider to be dark grey but there is still a very pleasing amount of contrast and you can tell what is meant to be black. Of course, this will vary based on the content being watched, but while watching “How To Train Your Dragon” on movie mode I was very impressed with the contrast at the factory settings. While many dedicated Home Theater projectors can reproduce deeper blacks, those projectors are larger and more much expensive. The M2’s black levels were more than satisfactory especially in a room with some ambient light.
The M2 offers a couple of picture modes that had good picture quality. I primarily used “movie”, as it was most appropriate for my content and viewing space, and it produced the most pleasing image. The screen shots above were taken with the M2 in “brightest” mode to achieve the highest brightness. Since the M2 includes multiple user adjustments, I am sure it could be fine tuned to produce a more accurate picture.
Below are screenshots of a variety of HD videos and photos. Like all our photos, they remain unadjusted for color, so they do not look as good as what the projector produced.
The native Full HD (1,920 x1,080) resolution of the ViewSonic M2 results in good text clarity. While gaming, I could easily read everything I needed/wanted to, and had no issues reading small text while streaming to the projector from my phone or tablet.
Overall, the video picture quality was good for a home media projector at this price point. While not perfect, the overall color accuracy was very good, with natural looking skin tones, and reasonable image contrast.
A convenient feature for those that intend to use the M2 in multiple locations is the built in Harman Kardon speaker system. Like most small speakers, it lacks any sort of deep bass, but the mid and high tones are very clear and crisp. The speakers are easily loud enough to suit most average sized classrooms, conference rooms, and living rooms. They’re more than sufficient for casual viewing, and for those that desire a more dynamic audio experience, there is both Bluetooth and a 3.5mm audio jack to connect a separate sound source. If I was using the M2 for home cinema, I would likely connect it to a sound bar, but for those on the go, the speakers are a great feature!
ViewSonic doesn’t provide a fan noise measurement for the M2, but after several hours of use, I didn’t once notice any sort of distracting noises from the M2. If I listen very carefully with the speakers at a low volume I could make out the noise of the projector fan, but I wouldn’t consider it to be excessive or detrimental to the viewing experience.
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