ViewSonic M1 Ultra-Portable LED Projector Review

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While plenty would go for large format displays nowadays, it’s not exactly what you’d call a portable solution. There’s no fun in moving an 80-inch telly from the living room into the backyard for a BBQ party, or even a slumber party when someone’s in the mood for a little bit of camping. Enter the ViewSonic M1 Projector – a portable projector equipped with Harman Kardon speakers, and if your pockets are literally large enough, it can fit just right in.

PACKAGING


ViewSonic takes a more classy approach when it comes to presentations with the M1. It arrives in a bit of a hefty and heavy packaging, minimalist in design oozing of premium even at first glance.


When it comes to inclusions, there’s the M1 projector itself in the flesh, coupled in with the necessary items to get you kickstarted on setting it up – a product manual, a power cable, a USB Type C cable, a nifty projector case, and a remote controller. While we loved the addition of a carrying case, it could have done better with an HDMI cable thrown in the package. Not a big loss, but would be wonderful to have nonetheless.

DESIGN


There’s plenty to love when it comes to the M1’s design – ViewSonic’s attention to detail on this one is certainly on point. Its mesh-like exterior feels solid, and adds up to the grip upon handling. That Harman/Kardon logo is placed nicely. There are exhaust vents on the side to blow out hot air, and its 360-degree rotating stand with a rubberized front also works as a lens cover that automatically shuts off the projector. It’s form and function rolled into one.


The ports on the other hand are craftily placed on left side of the projector, which you can produce by pulling a piece of cloth with ViewSonic’s logo. There’s a microSD card slot, a USB Type-C port, an HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio out jack and a USB Type-A port. The focus wheel is situated on the far end above the row of ports. There’s also a simple four-button control panel together with a battery indicator on the bottom part of the M1, which in this case is opposite the lens.


Just to note, there’s also a 16GB internal storage onboard the M1. You can transfer your files to make it easier if you have a standard portfolio or office presentation whenever you move around.


PERFORMANCE


The ViewSonic M1 is equipped with a 250-lumen output LED, delivering some pretty decent viewing experience with nice visual clarity on a room in little to virtually no lighting conditions for optimal viewing. We’ve done our test on a darkened room, with the M1 placed 85 inches away from the wall and it throwing a 90-inch screen diagonal on a 16:9 aspect ratio, with the maximum that we can go with in our testing area a 140-inch screen diagonal with the M1 150 inches away from the wall. That’s quite massive.

Product Information on the ViewSonic M1

The Harman/Kardon speakers on the other hand are the stuff made out of dreams. You can pretty much fill a 9sqm room no problem, and we were only on 25% volume. The bass definitely has a powerful punch, with crisp and clear clarity even on high audio levels. Audio is definitely premium here, it adds up a whole new level in the viewing experience.

The M1's 90-inch projection on a dark room

If there’s one thing the M1 is sorely missing, Smart functions or even screen casting. It would most likely take a toll on the battery if it’s added in, but its use case scenario just calls for it. ViewSonic does offer an All-in-One Wireless Collaboration HDMI Dongle for streaming that connects through the USB Type-C onboard the M1, but that’s another $129 spending.

When it comes to the battery life, we tested the projector with it connected to our laptop for our multimedia playback on Netflix. For our test setup, brightness is at a 100% and volume is at 25% with the M1 connected to our laptop for Netflix streaming. Here’s what we were able to watch on a full charge on a course of four days, indicated to include the possibility of battery drain while not on use:

Four episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine: 22-minutes each on average
One run of Batman Ninja: 85-minutes
Total: 173 minutes

ViewSonic does claim a 6-hour battery life depending on actual usage, and that may be on an ideal battery saving condition mode as well. Use case scenario, you most likely won’t be binging on a camping trip or on a backyard BBQ party, and you’ll most likely have a wall outlet ready if you’re planning on doing so, which we won’t really advise.

WARRANTY AND SUPPORT

ViewSonic says that the LED light source on the M1 provides over 30,000 hours of usage depending on the usage. That’s actually 1,250 days of ongoing usage, which you probably won’t be doing, continuously. This is through the use of the latest solid-state LED technology that’s mercury-free and lamp-free.

ViewSonic is also offering warranties with 3-year limited parts and labor, 1-year light source, and first year free Express Exchange (upon product registration).

CONCLUSION


The ViewSonic M1 is easily a premium projector that’s visited our labs. It delivers on portability and performance, and the audio experience definitely elevates the experience further that we’d prefer it over our HDTV for our movie viewing pleasures. While that’s not exactly a fair comparison to make, the value for money the M1 brings just makes it too hard a deal to pass up. We’re basically just using our HDTV for movies and Netflix. If the M1 gets Smart features, we’ll be ditching our telly for it on a heartbeat.

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