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ViewSonic PLED-W800 LED Projector Review - Special Features

Posted on December 12, 2014 by Art Feierman
PLED-W800 PROJECTOR REVIEW - SPECIAL FEATURES:  WXGA, Optional Wireless dongle, SD card and USB - Media Player, USB Display, Gaming, MHL, Portability

WXGA Resolution

To date, there are very few of these small LED projectors that sport resolution higher than WXGA (or 720p).  There are now a couple of 1080p / WUXGA models shipping, but they cost several hundred dollars more.

In the business and education world WXGA 1280x800 is still the defacto widescreen standard for presentations, training, digital signage and most other usage.  XGA (1024x768) is the most popular non-widescreen aspect ratio.

Unless, at the time of this review, you are looking to spend $1000 for an LED projector with 1080p resolution, this is about as good as it gets for LED portable projectors.  WXGA is just dandy for most presentations and related.  In the home - well, consider that WXGA allows playing 720p HD content at it's native resolution, and can handle 1080p source material as well.  For those interested in gaming, the bulk of the low cost projectors out on the market today that are focused on gaming are WXGA or 720p, so the W800 is in good company.

Optional Wireless Dongle

Let's think this through:  For a road warrior, the ability to travel with a useful projector that weighs in under 2.5 lbs including the power supply, is almost a dream come true.

But the experience becomes a lot less fun if you are also dragging around a 1.5 pound, 10-15 foot HDMI cable.  The weight increase isn't too bad, but the bulk grows significantly.  True, there are some ultra thin HDMI cables, and I admit, I use them myself, but over the years, I've found them to be far less rugged than heavier cable.

And that's where wireless comes in.  Plug in the optional WPD-200, which has a suggested list price  under $125.

I really like wireless, but not all wireless equipped projectors are equally capable.  This Viewsonic, when you add the wireless dongle is pretty capable.  Of particular note, not only can you wirelessly project content from MHL devices, but the W800 also supports Miracast, which is built into a lot of new Windows based computers.

With a Miracast supported computer, you can wirelessly transmit what's on the screen of your computer.  Want to run a Powerpoint presentation - no problem, or some accounting software, or a medical database...basically since it's mirroring the computer's screen, if you can project it on your computer's normal display, you can get the W800 to project the same data.  In a sense, Miracast does for PC's what MHL does for some Android devices, and other MHL gear.

Wireless dongle:  Highly recommended as it expands capabilities nicely and adds convenience.

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SD Card and USB, USB Display, Media Player and Documentation

Both the SD card slot, and the USB are located on the back of the PLED-W800. They can be used to load pictures and other files into the W800's on board memory.  The USB also supports USB Display - which is basically hooking up a computer to the PLED-W800 using USB instead of computer (VGA) or HDMI.

The Viewsonic PLED-W800 has a tremendous range of capability for imported files, thanks to the USB and SD, and the Media player, plus several other capabilities if you have the wireless dongle as well.  Some need to be downloaded, other features are built into the media player.  There's downloadable  vPresenter as an example.  The main file support comes from the Picsel player which supports dozens of formats from pdfs to most versions of Microsoft Office products.   All considered the W800 can support those mentioned, plus various music files, video files, and so on.  AVI, MJPEG, DIVX, MP3, WAV, JPEG, JPG, GIF, MPEG, BMP, MOV, MP4, are a partial sample.

There's more than 10 pages of good documentation available about using the wireless, the players, etc., in the manual.  Better info than most manuals seem to offer.

For that reason, you can click here to open the W800 user manual to browse.  For player related, consider page 18 (playing videos), document viewing on page 23, USB Display (connecting computer to projector via USB) on page 25, Wifi Display on 26, and Media Streaming on page 29.

I did not get to explore a lot of the capabilities since I was not provided the wireless dongle with the W800.

One could do a long review just looking at the full range of capabilities of playing media with today's media player equipped projectors.  Not going to try, but I thought including one page out of the manual might give you some

Note please that the less expensive W600 does not have these capabilities, including no SD card slot nor the USB.

Bottom line:  The W800 is very capable in terms of "PC free" presenting, cable free presenting, and mobile device interfacing of all sorts.  Note that  the W600 is devoid of most of those same capabilities.



PLED-W800 - A Fast Gaming Projector

For you serious gamers out there, I ran the usual input lag test from my MacBook Pro.  That isn't the ideal way to measure since we don't know the exact lag time internally for the Mac displaying on its own screen, but its supposed to be pretty quick.

In a perfect world input lag should be 0ms.  On the other hand, any amount of input lag much over 50ms is considered too slow for serious high speed gaming.

50ms should be acceptable to most, mid 30ms considered good, and 17 or below, excellent.

The PLED-W800 by Viewsonic fits into the excellent class.  In the image here, you can see that the projector and the display show the exact same time in 1000ths of a second, for 0 input lag.   As is usual, I typically shoot 20-30 such frames because projectors are often not consistent.   In this case, out of almost 30 frames, the images taken showed 0 on all but two which clocked in at 17ms.

16/17ms, and 33/34ms, and 50/51ms are the typical numbers seen, since 16/17 represents being 1 frame behind on 60fps content.  33/34 would be two frames behind.  And so on.

Bottom line.  The PLED-W800 is about as fast as any other projector we've measured for input lag, and the vast majority of good projectors are slower.

Thus, count the W800 as a great choice for a portable projector for gaming.

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The PLED-W800 and the W600 both support MHL on their HDMI port.  MHL is a mobile protocol over HDMI that allows smart devices to work well with MHL equipped displays.  I can plug in a Roku stick or a Google Chromecast, etc.  MHL is also supported by some Android devices, which will allow people to display what's on the screen of those devices.

Combine a  W800 with a Roku stick (which connects to your home or office Wifi), and you can stream content from Netflix, and a whole lot of other channels.  Other MHL devices let you surf the web, and offer other capabilities.   Projectors generally are not overly smart in their design, so MHL allows you to interface them to smart devices, for more overall capabilities.

Understanding that some folks are "new school" - no cable or satellite boxes, or even DVD or Blu-ray players, they get their content online.  MHL is what makes that viable.  Just don't fool yourself to expect the same quality watching a movie over Netflix, etc. that you would get on a Blu-ray disc.  (That's because there's far, far more compression going on with the downloads.)

PLED-W800 Portability

I'll be restating the obvious throughout this review.  The W800 is extremely portable.  If you have serious business or education type use for this projector know that it's currently about as bright as any other projector at its size and weight.  And from the other pocket projectors reviewed in the last year, the W800 offers better color than most can when it's outputting just under 500 lumens - its best mode.

Consider the PLED-W800 to be a very solid choice for the serious road warrior who doesn't need the 2500 - 3500 lumens typical of low cost lamp based projectors that typically are 2-3 times the total weight, and 4-10 times the physical bulk.  It's not the right choice to "present" on a 100" diagonal screen with full fluorescent lighting, but with medium fluorescent lighting and a 60 inch diagonal screen, it performs very nicely, and that means good for small to medium sized presentations in most cases.

Before I forget, the projector does come with a soft case.

The advanced wireless capabilities (get the wireless dongle option), and the other player smarts make this a better than most small projectors in terms of interfacing capabilities.  Count that a big plus!

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