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P410M Pocket Projector
Type: Gear, Movie, Productivity, Recreational, WorkTech
From: Samsung
Usage: General Use, Handheld, Hardware, Mobility, Peripheral, Photo/Video, Television, AV
P410M Pocket Projector
Samsung's P410M is called a pocket projector, but you'd need a pretty hefty pair of cargo pants to stuff this bit of kit into a pocket.
Posted October 30, 2009
While selective about what pocket it gets friendly with, Samsung's so-called "pocket projector," the P410M, is a portable-enough DLP (Digital Light Processing) projector that may be a godsend for mobile presenters, traveling photographers and even itinerant console gamers and movie watchers needing a projector capable of throwing an 80" view screen up on any wall from a small footprint.

Out of the box, the P410M's curvaceous shape, glossy black exterior and glowing touch-sensitive controls look cool and futuristic. Unfortunately, glossy usually equals smudgy - and slippery; the unit is light enough to lift with one hand, but it's hard to get a sure grip.

The P410M's touch-activated controls offer no tactile feedback when navigating menus or adjusting settings, which can be problematic when using it in a darkened room; expect some hit-and-miss button fiddling for the first couple of tries. Thankfully, the focus control dial, which is off to the left side, is very easy to use and manipulate in any circumstance.

At 2.5" (66.3mm) high by 5.8" (147.5mm) wide by 5.7" (145.5mm) deep - roughly the size and shape of a bedside clock/radio - and with a weight of just 2.1 pounds (905 g), this Mini Cooper of projectors may not be as practical as other home- or office-based video systems, though it does sport similar specs and features to those found in full-sized counterparts of this class of DLPs. This includes 30,000-hour LED lamp life, 170 lumens of brightness, 1,000:1 contrast ratio. Not extraordinary, but not too shabby. You could do better at this price, but you wouldn't be getting a portability along with it.

Speaking of which, also key to the P410M's go-anywhere sensibilities is its ability to play popular media formats directly off a connected USB key or portable hard drive, no other PC/DVD/Console source required. Compatible formats include JPEG, BMP, TIFF, MPG, DAT, VOB, AVI, MOV, MP4, 3GP, 3G2, WAV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and Motion JPEG. That's like, everything.

The P410M also comes with a pair of 1W speakers, which, while lacking in bottom end, offers far better sound output than what you'd get from, say, your typical notebook speakers.

The mystery of how Samsung made the P410M so small and light is rudely revealed once you see the power brick for the thing. A substantial chunk of weight of the P410M resides outside the lithe projector as an external power supply, which won't fit in any pocket known to man and weighs in at 1.3 pounds (590 g).

Fortunately, Samsung includes a padded, lunchbox-shaped carry case for projector, power supply and assorted wires and connectors - handy, but pretty much forgoing any claim to "pocket" friendliness in the process.

Brightness and image quality of the P410M are boffo enough for PowerPoint presentations, photo slideshows and playing back video on the go, though it's limited to a maximum resolution of 800 x 600, roughly known as "standard definition." Still, tests comprised of photo slideshows, web browsing and some video playback showed consistently sharp pictures that were evenly lit.

Surprisingly, after a 40-minute slideshow test, the projector was running cool despite its small size. Clearly, the unit's side-vents and fans do a good job of maximizing air circulation. Of course, using LED (light emitting diode) technology instead of the conventional heat-happy halogen lamp helps (using 90 per cent less energy while it's at it), and since the P410M has an external power supply, there's actually way less internal heat being generated than a full sized projector with its power supply built-in. In short, cool is good and the P410M is certainly cool. You can pack it up as soon as you're done with it and be off, whereas halogen lamp projectors need to sit and chill for a long while before they can be moved.

All told, Samsung's P410M pocket projector is a good video solution to-go in that it delivers exactly what it promises effortlessly and efficiently - minus the pocket-ability.
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3.5 (out of 5)