ViewSonic PJ406D review

Price when reviewed

The PJ406D is a data projector aimed at the budget-conscious buyer, and its small size, light weight and low noise levels make it a good prospect for those on the move. The most obvious compromise is the low resolution of 800 x 600. You’ll need to make sure your presentations are designed with that in mind, as you can fit significantly less on the screen than you can with a 1,024 x 768 projector.

ViewSonic PJ406D review

In spite of its compact dimensions, the PJ406D has a brightness of 1,900 ANSI lumens. This means in a well-lit, sunny room, the projected image is easily visible. Even more helpfully, in a darkened room, we made effective use of the Whisper mode. This reduces the brightness (as well as the cooling requirements) and leads to less fan noise. In Normal mode, the PJ406D is clearly audible, but it shouldn’t be a problem unless your audience is sitting next to it. We found that the Whisper mode produced a more comfortable image – against a plain white screen in a darkened room the normal mode is actually a little too bright. Whisper mode also increases the bulb life from 1,500 hours to 3,000.

In Normal mode, contrast was generally good. In our tests, every patch of white on a scale of 255 shades was visible against a pure white background. This is useful for presentations, which typically depend on bright, striking images. Contrast on the other end of the scale was less impressive, with the 16 darkest shades of grey invisible against a pure black background.

Colour accuracy is also important for keeping presentations looking their best, and the PJ406D did well in our tests. Our red, green and blue colour ramps were faithfully reproduced without a hint of banding. The only issue was that the PJ406D struggled to produce pure yellow properly – a limitation of the DLP technology at the heart of the projector.

The PJ406D is sold with a comprehensive range of accessories to get you up and running. D-SUB and composite video cables are included, and on the back of the unit are S-Video and composite video ports. A USB port means you can control the mouse pointer via the included remote control, which also allows you to set up the image without hunching over the unit. Plus, there’s a Kensington Lock slot on the back for peace of mind while you’re away. Completing the extras is a high-quality shoulder bag. The PJ406D is eminently portable and weighs only 2.1kg, which makes carrying it around town easy.

For many prospective purchasers, the resolution of 800 x 600 will be a problem, as 1,024 x 768 simply allows you more space to get your message across. However, for those prepared to downsize a little, the PJ406D offers a lot of brightness and high image quality for relatively little money – the Dell 3400MP costs around £400 more. We would, however, be reluctant to sacrifice the extra resolution offered by the Dell, as well as its even tinier dimensions, lighter weight and significantly quieter operation. However, if you’re on a budget, the PJ406D is a solid choice.

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