The common microportable projector has come a long way. Used to be, the lighter the projector, the worse the performance, and that's still true with some companies. But PLUS Vision does not skimp on its latest micro projector, as the hardback-novel-size V-339 comes with more than one feature that larger projectors in the company's line do not yet have.
Namely, the V-339 is equipped with a Dual Color Mode that allows users to switch color wheel configurations on the fly between a four-segment and a six-segment color-wheel configuration. The four-segment configuration (called Dynamic Mode) is the type of color wheel configuration found on most business projectors, and it provides high brightness and high contrast. The six-segment configuration (Vivid Mode) knocks down brightness but brings in a broader color spectrum for the projection of video, photographs and other color-dependent content.
In the Presentations lab, Dual Color Mode worked as advertised, with Dynamic Mode providing sharp, bright text and PowerPoint slides, and Vivid Mode increasing color quality for photos and DVD video. The two modes can be toggled with the press of a button, which is nice if you regularly present with slideshows that contain alternating data and image-based content. Indeed, PLUS promotes the V-339 as getting two projectors for the price of one.
Beyond Dual Color Mode, the V-339 proved to be a solid all-around performer in our lab. Its projection of video and photographs was better than other microportables we've tested this year. Audio was similarly above average for a projector of this size, though the range and volume is somewhat limited by the speaker's 0.5-watt power.
Straight text projected on a white background caused some initial problems. As we've seen on other DLP models, there was significant vertical banding that caused some text to appear incorrectly in boldface. Re-sourcing to the projected screen did not help, but fortunately PLUS includes an auto-image-adjust feature on the V-339, which worked well to eliminate this annoying quirk.
Screen brightness uniformity was quite good. Colors were accurate in Vivid Mode, but suffered some in Dynamic Mode, especially in the yellow tones. Overall brightness measured up to 1,150 ANSI lumens, which is 12 percent below PLUS's 1,300-lumen claim. Brightness in Vivid mode measured in at about half the projector's maximum performance, requiring a dimmed room for clear projection.
A few standout features on the V-339 included: the fancy twist-open lens cap; the presentation timer built into the projector's menu; auto-sync for quick sourcing; easy operation; a nice, credit-card-size remote control; and the aforementioned auto-image-adjust feature, which worked well in our tests.
Overall, the V-339 got the thumbs up in our lab. It isn't as bright as advertised, but otherwise there was little to complain about. Its $1,995 price tag is a bit high when compared to similar projector models, but the extra features -- especially Dual Color Mode -- will make the projector worth the cost for any image-conscious presenter.
CONTACT: PLUS Vision Corp. of America, 866.427.8855, www.plus-america.com.
Resolution: XGA (1,024 x 768 pixels)
Weight: 2.8 pounds
Measured weight: 3 pounds (5 pounds with accessories)
PROS: Dual Color Mode for switching between high brightness and accurate color. Easy operation. Great photo and video projection. Solid construction. Small size and light weight. Many extra features.
CONS: Text suffered from vertical banding (though this was correctable with the auto-image-adjust feature). Not very bright for the price (1,150 lumens in our lab).
DESIGN: Controls on top for power, menu, source, auto-image and keystone correction. Unique twist-open lens cap. Mono 0.5-watt speaker. Connections on back. Two screw-down feet in front; fold-down foot in rear center.
HOOKUP: RGB mini D-Sub 15 pin, composite video, RCA, S-video, mini-DIN 4-pin, 3.5 mm stereo mini jack.
COMES WITH: Remote control, VGA cable, soft carrying case.
WARRANTY: Three years, parts and labor. 1,000 hours of 160 days on lamp.
Manufacturer's lumen reading: 1,300
Presentations lab reading: 1,150 (12% below spec)
Manufacturer's contrast reading: 2,000-to-1
Presentations lab reading: 1,883-to-1
OVERALL PRODUCT RATING: 9 (out of 10).