Having a small-sized portable projector to enjoy 1080p cinema or gaming was a thing of dreams not too long ago, especially when you’re often travelling.
Thanks to ViewSonic, that dream came to realisation with the M1 Portable Cinema which was launched back in late September this year.
With home entertainment and portability in mind, the Viewsonic M1 weighs about 0.75 kg and fits nicely on your palm, so storage and space allocation would not be a problem whatsoever. Its design is clean and simple with the Harman Kardon speakers located on the top and bottom of the projector, the media buttons are located on the projector’s rear, while the focus dial is situated beside the lamp. Hidden almost seamlessly on its right is a compartment that stores the ports for HDMI, USB-A and C, power input, and a microSD card slot.
Part of the projector includes a 360° stand which supports the device’s weight with no problem regardless of orientation, and also acts as a cover for the lamp when it’s not in use. Included in the box is a carrying pouch for the M1 made of thick felt material, which seems like a cheap afterthought rather than something that could actually protect it during travel.
As mentioned earlier, the M1 supports various USB connections, HDMI, and microSD. However, although the mobile projector packs enough to impress, it lacks any form of wireless connectivity, save for the provided remote control. That’s right. There’s no Bluetooth, Chromecast, or Wi-Fi support which is a shame because such features are highly appreciated in such a convenient device. Perhaps it’s due to production cost or maybe we’ll see them included in its successor, should Viewsonic manufacture one.
On cables, hooking up your gaming console, video player or your laptop and PC to the M1 is easy as plug and play, while for phones and tablets will only work if they have support for USB Type-C streaming. The latter is an important factor if you’re planning to get the M1 for that reason and to help you out, here’s a list of compatible devices. You’re welcome.
Small device, big projections
The ViewSonic M1 has an impressive throw distance for a small projector, and it could actually project up to 100” if you have the room and wall space for it. Image quality-wise, it’s highly recommended that you opt for a projection smaller than 100” if you’re fussy about sharpness and details in the images.
The device projects at 250 Lumens and while it’s bright for its size, it’s still recommended that you use it in a very dim or dark room, especially if you’re planning to project anything larger than 40”. It features auto keystone which adapts the projection to the angle that you’ve set for the projector, but it’s not perfect. Thankfully, you can adjust it manually on the projector or with the remote control. The M1 can last up to 6 hours on full charge, and its bulb life is claimed to last at 30,000 hours.
Viewsonic’s mobile projector excels when it comes to video as it displays them with vibrant colours and excellent details, which is great especially for that cinema experience when you host a netflix/movie night at your home. It does fall behind a bit in gaming, in my personal opinion. On projection, some details from games such as Far Cry 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 didn’t pop out as crisp as I’d hope, and certain in-game texts tend to appear blurry or hard to make out. Again, this may be a case of “mileage may vary” for others.
The Harman/Kardon speakers deliver impressive audio with loud volume and sufficient bass - again, all this in such a small device. Sure, it’s not equivalent to an actual home surround sound audio setup, but it holds up very well on its own. For those who have the tendency to stare too close to the projector lens for whatever reason (God, help you), the M1 has an eye protection feature which cuts power to the bulb if it detects objects closer than 30cm to it. Nifty safety feature, but seriously, don’t don’t stare into the lens.
The ViewSonic M1 Mobile Cinema is compact, capable of projecting at various angles, has a good audio system, an impressive throw ratio, and good image quality. It’s a perfect device for those who travel a lot, and even those who desire an affordable alternative for a home cinema experience. A wireless connectivity feature would’ve been highly appreciated, but it’s a small sacrifice for a mobile projector that’s already packed full of tech that satisfies at an affordable price.
You can pick one up for yourself here, as well as on official ViewSonic stores on Lazada, 11street, and Shopee.