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Monday, August 02, 2021

ViewSonic M2 portable projector review: Not the brightest

At Rs 92,500, the ViewSonic M2 is an expensive buy and I would think twice about recommending this portable projector.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rs. 92500
Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi |
December 29, 2020 10:52:25 am
ViewSonic M2, ViewSonic M2 projector, ViewSonic M2 portable projector review, ViewSonic M2 price in India, portable projectors to buy in 2020Think of the M2 as a wider and taller version of a Mac Mini. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

There was a time when projectors were either seen in fancy homes or in offices. Back in the day, projectors used to command exclusivity but as time went on, these devices have become portable enough to carry in your bag. Brands too have realised that there is a market for ultra-compact projectors that can project videos and photos and operate as a Bluetooth speaker. That’s where the ViewSonic M2 comes in, an Android-based portable projector that can be occasionally used for watching movies on the weekend.

I have been using the ViewSonic M2 for a few weeks now, and here is what I thought about the portable projector.

ViewSonic M2 portable projector price in India: Rs 92,500

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ViewSonic M2 portable projector review: What’s new?

The portable projector doesn’t look any different from the Mac Mini. Think of the M2 as a wider and taller version of a Mac Mini. That means we are looking at the projector with curve-edge construction in a sleek, square package. The M2 looks elegant with its copper bronze exterior.

At the front, you will find the projector lens, which oddly does not come with a lens cover. Though ViewSonic does provide a high-quality protective case to keep the projector safe. Interestingly, the M2 comes with a feature called ‘Eye Protect’, thanks to embedded sensors in the projector. So by chance if someone comes too close to the projector lens, the image shuts off temporarily.

ViewSonic M2, ViewSonic M2 projector, ViewSonic M2 portable projector review, ViewSonic M2 price in India, portable projectors to buy in 2020 The projector supports Wi-Fi, via a USB dongle supplied in the box. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

The M2 boasts plenty of connection ports, including a single HDMI v2.0, microSD card, a 3.5mm audio output, Bluetooth, a USB Type-A port as well as a USB Type-C port. The projector supports Wi-Fi, via a USB dongle supplied in the box.

The good thing about the M2 is that it supports both Chromecast and AirPlay technologies. The projector also supports both Google Assistant and Alexa which let you turn on the M2 and control its different features by your voice. The included remote is simple and easy to use. Though I wish the remote had some kind of backlighting, because right now it’s impossible to navigate with controls without turning on the flashlight on my iPhone. The core design issue is that the projector itself has no control buttons and thus the user is entirely dependent on the remote.

Although the M2 does not come with a built-in battery, it can be juiced from a power bank. But make sure the power bank supports Power Delivery (PD) protocol output. Once you have the supported power bank, the projector can be used on-the-go.

ViewSonic M2, ViewSonic M2 projector, ViewSonic M2 portable projector review, ViewSonic M2 price in India, portable projectors to buy in 2020 The remote is simple and easy to use, though it does not have backlighting. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

ViewSonic M2 portable projector review: What’s good?

Setting up the projector is easy. Position the projector, connect the power cable and image source, point the M2 at the screen, and simply turn the power on. There is no Zoom, but the projector comes with an adjustable stand which basically helps set the angle. Also missing from the M2 is a focus control. Though the manual option is there, you have to use the remote control. All you have is Autofocus which works like a camera and is on by default.

The M2 is an LED-based projector, meaning it does not use a UHP (ultra-high pressure) lamp. So what’s the big deal? ViewSonic claims the M2 is rated at 30,000 hours in full power mode, or roughly about 20 years if you watch it four hours every day. That means LED-based projectors will likely last longer than UHP lamps.

ViewSonic M2, ViewSonic M2 projector, ViewSonic M2 portable projector review, ViewSonic M2 price in India, portable projectors to buy in 2020 In a dark room, I could view the video at sizes up to 80-inches, though I got the best results when I shrunk the image size to 50-inches. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

While the M2 is a 1080p projector and is also 4K and HDR-compatible, it’s rated at only 1200 LED lumens. Most projectors in this range come with 3000 Lumens. So the M2 won’t be as bright as other projectors but the image should be okay in a dark room.

As I observed during my testing, the image quality varies depending on how far you are from the screen. In a dark room, I could view the video at sizes up to 80-inches, though I got the best results when I shrunk the image size to 50-inches.

I won’t say the image quality is terrific, but its video quality is fine for casual use. If you’re looking for a portable projector that’s aimed for office presentations, and occasionally for movie nights, the M2 seems to be a good choice. What I really liked about the M2 is how accurate the projector is in displaying colours. While watching The Weeknd performing on his recent hit single “Blinding Lights” in one of the award shows, the red suit jacket looks red. I must say the M2 can reproduce colours very well.

On the upside, the sound coming from two 3W speakers customised by Harman/Kardon is terrific. The speakers get really loud, and the sound fills the entire room. You can always connect an additional Bluetooth speaker or use a pair of headphones for immersive sound.

ViewSonic M2, ViewSonic M2 projector, ViewSonic M2 portable projector review, ViewSonic M2 price in India, portable projectors to buy in 2020 The M2 uses an Android-based apps store called Aptoide, and I must admit it’s disappointing. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

ViewSonic M2 portable projector review: What’s bad?

The M2 uses an Android-based apps store called Aptoide, and I must admit it’s disappointing. You can find popular media apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but the experience isn’t smooth. To watch YouTube you will need to download a third-party app. Amazon Prime Video froze a number of times, and I literally gave up after a few attempts.

Another niggling issue I encountered while using the M2 was that whenever I tried to connect my laptop or PS4 to the projector using HDMI, the projector didn’t automatically detect the source. The only option left in front of me was to manually check the source using the remote.

ViewSonic M2, ViewSonic M2 projector, ViewSonic M2 portable projector review, ViewSonic M2 price in India, portable projectors to buy in 2020 The user interface is clunky. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

ViewSonic M2 portable projector review: Should you buy it?

I won’t say no, but I won’t say yes either. At Rs 92,500, the ViewSonic M2 is an expensive buy and I would think twice about recommending this portable projector. I agree the M2 is portable and you can carry it in any bag. But if you are someone who has no plan on taking a projector with you everywhere you go, I don’t think it makes sense to invest in a portable projector. Better invest in a home cinema projector that delivers solid image and quality.

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