External Accessories / Peripherals Discuss any accessories used to enhance your Dell Inspiron Mini experience.

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ACContractor ACContractor is offline
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Default Projector for Mini - 02-14-2009, 08:57 PM

I am looking for a small projector to show powerpoint presentations on that would be easy to use with the mini. I'd like to go compact but I've heard that the small projectors only work well in dark areas. Any ideas or suggestions on good or bad ones to stay away from> Thanks.
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psyopper psyopper is offline
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Default Re: Projector for Mini - 02-14-2009, 10:38 PM

Being an Audio Visual technician as a career choice, I can tell you this is a whole can of worms you just opened. Recommending a projector based on a laptop is like recommending a plasma screen based on a blu-ray player.

What you want to consider are cost, internal technology, image quality and color balance. There's a TON of information out there about projectors and projection technology. Here's a basic run down for you.

DLP - this is a microchip with thousands of little mirrors on motors - each mirror is equal to a pixel. Light is blasted through a color wheel with three different gels - R, G, and B. The wheel spins like crazy and hits the the microchip of mirrors with each individual color and the microchip rotates the mirrors "in" or "out" depending on if that pixel should have some represntation of that color. Pro: Compact, light weight, inexpensive, almost no lines between pixels. Con: The technology requires a much blue-er bulb which winds up giving you very flat looking blues and never having a good color balance.

Single LCD - this is a technology that is going away, commonly replaced by 3 LCD's (below). Essentially the bulb acts as a backlight to a very small full color LCD screen and the lens magnifies the image to your screen size. Pro: Compact, light weight, good color representation. Con: Price goes up when compared to DLP

3 LCD - Similar concept to the single LCD, but these are 3 black and white LCD's with the lamp broken up into each color and then the image is recombined through a prism and sent out the lens. Pro: Best color matching capabilities (you can adjust each of the R, G and B channels independently), brighter image for the same power. Con: Most expensive of the three, much larger platform.

Lensing is interesting, and rather oppotosite that of the camera industry. Lenses are described by their throw ratio X:Y, the ratio being X distance from the screen for Y size of the screen. The most common projectors have a zoomable lens with a ratio between 1.9-2.2:1. This means that for every foot of screen width you need to be between 1.9 and 2.2 feet away from the screen. On a 10 foot screen (large, I know, but it makes the numbers easy) you would need to be between 19 and 22 feet away from the screen to fill the screen. The smaller the number, the closer you can get the projector to the screen. Lens prices go up with smaller ratios, and smaller ratios are generally preferred, especially for small meeting rooms and/or offices.

Brightness - this describes the output of the lamp in Lumens. It's all rather esoteric as Lumens arent commonly used any where else but the projection industry. Obviously, the more lumens, the brighter the image on the screen. For a room with no windows and dimmable lighting, you would be OK with 800-1200 lumens, in non-dimmable lighting you want 1500 Lumens. If there's a window anywhere in the room, I generally recommend a minimum of 2000 Lumens as someone will invariably open it.

In the professional AV industry we generally stick to Sanyo/Eiki projectors. Sanyo is the manufacturer and you can buy the brand, Eiki is a re-badged Sanyo, otherwise identical to the sister projector. Personally I would buy nothing less than a 1024x768, 3 LCD, 2K Lumen Sanyo, but I am biased against image quality. If Image quality is not so much a concern, any of the "portables" will do fine - they will be DLP and limited likely to 800x600 resolution and top out at 1200 lumenm but commonly have throw ratios closer to 1.3:1. I would warn you to stay away from InFocus, 3M and Optoma, I've never really liked them and found them to be finicky about how they hook up.

My favorite current portable model is the Sanyo PLC-XU88 - its 1024x768, 3000 Lumen, 1.3-2.2:1 throw ratio and independent manual zoom and focus rings on the lense IIRC. It's about the size of 4 Mini 9's though. http://us.sanyo.com/Projectors-by-Categ ... e/PLC-XU88


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ACContractor ACContractor is offline
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Default Re: Projector for Mini - 02-15-2009, 05:18 PM

Thank you for the extensive information on this subject. I know that the way I phrased my question was like asking which car should I buy. I appreciate the information you provided. Since I've never owned a projector before I would probably want to get into an entry level, around $500 cost, projector. I bought the mini because I wanted a small laptop pc to run powerpoint presentations on at trade shows. The projector would display small images on a black background at our trade show booth. Based on that criteria could you recommend a model in the Sanyo line that might work?
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psyopper psyopper is offline
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Default Re: Projector for Mini - 02-15-2009, 06:36 PM

Really it comes down to what kind of trade shows, and more importantly, what kind of data you are displaying. If it's just black/white text for information, maybe a picture or two thrown in, one of the Dell ultra-portable DLP's would be just fine. They are well priced, super small, have very small throw ratios but are low to moderate lumen DLP projectors. Even with their limitations, I have always otherwise been highly impressed with them! If you are reselling artwork and need perfect image quality and high contrast, look elsewhere.

One more thing, find out about bulb life and replacement cost. Bulbs can get really expensive, on high output models they can get upwards of $400. Plan for that in your budget, and I recommend purchasing a spare bulb with the initial purchase of the projector. It'll cost you more up front, but if the bulb goes and you don't have a spare on hand you'll be out for a few weeks waiting for a new bulb; you were going to be buying a replacement eventually anyway, so set yourself up for success.

If you decide to look elsewhere, go to http://www.slideandsound.com and ask for Rick (the owner). I've bought from him for years. Tell him that "Brad, from Skamania Lodge" sent you over. His prices are always competitive and he's a wealth of knowledge on projection and will happily spend 30 minutes or more with you on the phone if necessary to get you the right product. Dropping my name probably won't net you a discount but it can't hurt. If it doesn't show on his web site he can still get it for you as he's a Sanyo retailer. He may also have some better, non-Sanyo recommendations for you.

I know it sounds like an advertisement, but I truly have no association other than being a highly satisfied and long term customer! Oh - the other nice thing about Sanyo - it's the only 3 year warranty (minus bulb of course) in the industry. Everyone else (including Eiki, the rebranded Sanyo) is 1 year.


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