Dell 1800MP review

Price when reviewed

It’s hard to knock a projector from a company that produces so many reasonably priced and competent products, but this month that’s exactly what we have to do with Dell’s 1800MP.

Dell 1800MP review

It’s not that this is an awful product – none of the projectors on test this month are particularly bad- but neither is it much better than average in any respect. It isn’t, for instance, the cheapest projector on test at £499 – five projectors are more affordable – but it has the least impressive specification.

It isn’t overly bright (2,100 lumens) and keystone correction is limited to 15 degrees either side of level. Its minimum projection distance is a relatively long 1.5m and the image size at two metres is a small 52.3in. Plus, we were none too impressed with the rather mean-looking two-year return-to-base warranty.

The 1800MP’s lamp is long-lived at 2,500 hours in standard mode, which is in part down to the lower brightness rating, a fact that hints at low running costs. But this is counterbalanced by an above-average cost for replacement. At £199, only the Taxan’s lamp costs more, and after 10,000 hours this brings it in line with the other DLP projectors whose cheaper lamps last only 2,000 hours.

Even image quality can’t make up for this average showing: we found that blacks and greys were difficult to distinguish from one another, no matter how much we fiddled with the controls, and that there was slightly uneven focus across the screen from corner to corner. We also noted that some shaded patterns produced a noticeable moiré interference pattern that can’t be adjusted out, although thankfully the five-segment colour wheel and 2x speed mean video performance is pretty good, with natural colours and little evidence of the dreaded rainbow effect.

Ultimately, though, good video performance can’t make up for average or below-average showings in other areas. It isn’t particularly well equipped, it isn’t cheap to run and image quality can’t compete with the best in this Labs.

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