Viewsonic PLED W500 portable projector
Review Some pieces of kit take a long time to review. Particularly if they're very nice pieces of kit that you're reluctant to return to the PR agency. The Viewsonic PLED-W500 is just such a piece of kit.
Take away display: Viewsonic PLED W500 portable projector
I've always liked projectors – the big screen, the sense that you're in a cinema in your own home. But projectors tend to be bulky, with fans that make their presence felt while cooling costly lamps that need replacing after a few thousand hours of use. By that definition the Viewsonic PLED-W500 hardly qualifies as a projector. But it is.
Viewsonic is touting it as an ultra-portable business beamer, something a rep or exec can take on the road for demos and meetings. Its WXGA 1280 x 800 native resolution is ideal for detailed presentations, and although 500 ANSI lumens doesn't look too bright on the page, in practice the clean, sharp image with a 6000:1 contrast ratio shows up clearly enough for use in diffused daylight.
This thing is small: just 214 x 164 x 42mm and weighs in at a lightweight 1.18kg. You don't even need a laptop either, as the PLED-W500 has its own 1GB of memory and can display a variety of data types from a USB stick or SD flash card plugged in at the rear. Standard picture formats like PDF, JPG and BMP are catered for, as are Microsoft office document and PowerPoint formats. 3M's MPro range of pocket projectors have had such capabilities for a while now, but they're not as bright as the W500.
Instant start up and power down is an impressive feature, but here's something I've never come across in any projector before: it runs stone cold. The 500 lumens are provided by LEDs that are rated to run for 20,000 hours, and that's effectively the life of the kit. Yes, there is a fan in there, mostly blowing out cold air. So it's not silent in operation, but the noise certainly isn't intrusive. Slides can be changed from the remote control, which even doubles as a laser pointer.
So, costing around half-a-ton, with no lamp changes to worry about, the PLED-W500 ticks all the boxes for being written off as a business expense. Now the fun can begin. Don't tell HMRC, but this little job also doubles as a terrific home theatre projector.
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"costing half a ton"
I always thought a ton was £100. That's inflation for you.
Maybe you meant "costing a monkey".
Mine's the one with a pony in the pocket.
"costing around half-a-ton" - amazing what you can get for £50 these days.
"costing half a ton"
I think you mean a "monkey" or "half a bag of sand" :)
The 3.5mm jack is input only, and it's stereo.
I can see readers are going to take a long time to forgive me for that "half a ton" slip.
Moving lightly on: yes, I spotted that there is at least one other manufacturer using the same LED engine, which probably originates from the Optoma factory. I haven't yet investigated whether the firmware's the same. Viewsonic tends to add its own touches to features like this. I noticed, for example (although there wasn't room to include this in the review) that the PLED-W500 guesses that you may just be using a blank wall as a screen and has a menu for adjusting the picture according to the colour the wall's painted.
I think the K330 figure you're looking at here is the street price, which we can expect to come down across the board. It's worth bearing in mind though that however and wherever you buy, the PLED-500 comes with a three year warranty from Viewsonic. eBuyer's offering a three-year warranty on the Acer equivalent, but that'll cost you a fairly hefty £60-ish on top of the selling price.