This new portable projector from ViewSonic – with a loud and clear dual-speaker system by Harman Kardon, no less – is the brightest I have yet seen; and, with a six-hour battery life, is capable in one charge of showing a few decent-length presentations on your business trip and then beaming a couple of full-length films onto your hotel-room ceiling or wall when you’re done. But what really sold the ViewSonic M1 to me is that it also has the cleverest and most practical integrated viewing stand I have come across. It’s really well-engineered and enables you to swing the device around from projecting horizontally to vertically with ease and without it slipping on a tabletop.
The M1 also distinguishes itself from often more expensive rivals by having more – and more easily accessible – ports than any other portable projector I know of. There’s an HDMI connection for Blu-ray or DVD players, a MicroSD card slot, a normal USB socket and a USB-C, so content on up-to-date Android phones like the Google Pixel 2, Samsung Galaxy S9 or Huawei P20 Pro can be projected with a minimum of fuss at up to 250cm wide. In addition, its 16GB of internal memory is enough alone for eight HD films. The M1 isn’t, obviously, as bright as a mains-powered home entertainment projector, and the image, while pin-sharp, won’t be as subtly delineated colourwise, but give it a room in an office or home with reasonably muted light and it’s a superb work-and-play device – even if the charger is a bit on the bulky side.
The M1 appears at a time when I believe home projectors are going to start fading from the scene. As TV screens get bigger and better, even cinemas are reportedly experimenting with replacing traditional projection setups with giant LCD or OLED screens, with their brighter, sharper picture. Taking a giant TV screen with you on a business trip is clearly a little impractical – so I think portables like this excellent one could be the projector’s future.