Samsung SP-P410M review
A stylish cut above other mini-projectors, but you pay a premium for that quality
Review Date: 5 Oct 2009
Reviewed By: David Bayon
Price when reviewed: £400 (£460 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
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.
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.
Author: David Bayon
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