Samsung SP-P410M review

5 Oct 2009

A stylish cut above other mini-projectors, but you pay a premium for that quality

Price when reviewed: 
460(£460 inc VAT)
4

Mini-projector; pocket projector; pico-projector - call them what you will, we've yet to see a strong contender to match the hype and promises. Most haven't been pocket-sized, while resolutions and brightness levels have simply failed to hit satisfactory levels. And then there are the prices: should they really cost as much as a full-sized office projector?

Samsung's SP-P410M certainly doesn't address all of these issues, but it does raise the bar in a few key areas. For a start, the 170-lumen LED lamp puts it far ahead of recent rivals for brightness, approaching a level at which it's genuinely usable in a non-darkened room. You'll still struggle to discern differences in the darker shades of grey and black, but it's fine for an impromptu presentation where you can't control the lighting.

The 800 x 600 picture is sharp and evenly lit, and the 56in diagonal at a 2m distance isn't bad. Keystone correction isn't automatic, but wasn't difficult to apply manually, and there are the usual menu options for changing the aspect ratio, adjusting the colours and applying preset picture modes.

Then there's the built-in audio: a pair of 1W stereo speakers that emit enough volume to more than fill a room. Look past the expected lack of bass and they'll likely be much louder than those in the laptop you've connected them to. We watched a variety of movie clips and played music, and at no point did the audio crackle or distort, even at maximum volume.

The SP-P410M is also a good-looking piece of kit, all curvy and black with a silver lens cover that springs open and closed with a reassuring action. At 950g, it's heavier than the BenQ Joybee GP1, but we'll take that trade-off for the added brightness - it's safe to say neither will fit in a pocket, particularly with their external power bricks.

Samsung SP-P410M ports

On the rear sit D-SUB and composite connections, the latter of which is the only way you'll get audio to the device from a laptop; only a D-SUB cable is provided. There's also a USB port, though, through which you can play video and display images without a PC connected. It works well enough, but don't lose the remote control, since the on-device controls are a pain to use: they're barely readable touch buttons that need more of a push than you'd think.

So there's a lot more to like than dislike about the Samsung SP-P410M. It's bright enough to be usable, the speakers are impressive and the whole package has a style that others lack. In short, it's the best mini-projector we've yet seen - the problem is that it's also the dearest. At £400, only a really regular travel presenter could call it good value, but if you don't want a bulky desktop projector it's a premium we'd definitely consider paying.

Details

Price ex VAT £400
Price inc VAT £460
Overall rating 4
Image quality 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 3

Basic specifications

Projector technology DLP
Resolution 800 x 600
Lumens brightness 170 lumens
Contrast ratio 1,000:1
Keystone correction? yes
Speakers? yes
Speaker type Stereo
Speaker power ouput 2W

Dimensions

Dimensions 147.5 x 145.5 x 66.3mm (WDH)
Weight 950g

Optics

Max diagonal image size 2.0m
Measured image size at 2m 56.0m

Lamp & running costs

Lamp life, standard mode 30,000hrs
Lamp life, eco mode N/A
Replacement lamp cost N/A

Power & environment

Typical power consumption 49W
Peak noise level 28.0dB(A)

Video inputs/outputs

VGA inputs 1
DVI inputs 0
S-Video inputs 0
Composite video inputs 1
HDMI inputs 0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0

Data ports and connectors

Front panel memory card reader no
Other memory media support N/A

Audio inputs/outputs

3.5mm audio input jacks 0
3.5mm audio jacks 0
RCA (phono) inputs 1

Miscellaneous

Carry case yes