Way back in 2006, I got my first projector - a 720p model for a few hundred quid. Even after all these years, there's still something magical about watching a movie on a humongous screen.
But projectors are still wildly expensive and out of reach for most people. Aren't they?
DBPower have sent me their RD810 projector to review. It costs £60. That's not a typo. Sixty Quid.
Let's get two things out of the way first.
- This is not an HD projector. The resolution is 800*480. That's fine for standard definition US TV shows, but a little underwhelming for anything else.
- You're going to need a dark room in order to get the most out of it.
This isn't a laser-powered, 4K, 3D, super-projector. This is a quick and cheap way to watch cartoons on the big screen.
Let's get on with this sponsored review...
I used Big Buck Bunny as a test source. The projector played a 1080p 60fps MP4 without complaint! I was expecting it to stutter on that, but it worked flawlessly.
- USB - possibly the most useful port, you can load movies up on a USB stick and play them back from there - no laptop needed! It will also work with an MHL cable, so you can play directly from Android.
- HDMI - standard connector. Will take up to 1080p video.
- Headphones - there's a small mono speaker on the projector, so if you want stereo, you'll need something plugged into here.
- AV - a weird little port. The projector comes bundled with an adaptor so you can plug in a composite source. Handy if you've got an ancient device hanging around. Personally, I think this could be dropped.
- VGA - yup, the good old standard connector.
Nothing too exciting - but it doesn't need to be. There's no WiFi or network connections, no TV tuner, nor any serial ports. But you don't expect that on a cheapo machine. You'll see some cheap media projectors run Android - this does not, it just has a simple operating system. The UI is sparse, but does the job.
At the bottom is a standard tripod screw fitting. Handy if you want to raise the height.
The remote is a cheap bit of plastic. No backlighting, so you'll need to remember the layout.
Because of the low price, there's no zoom mode.
Human eyes don't have a zoom - Well then how do you bring a small object into sharp focus? - You just move your head closer to the object!
— Red Dwarf Kryten (@KrytenRD) February 6, 2013
Yup - you literally have to move the projector nearer to and further from the screen in order to change its size.
There is a adjustable foot at the front, so you can change the angle of projection. There's also focus and vertical keystone correction. They're both built into the lens, give them a twist and off you go.
Depending on the shape of your room, you might struggle to achieve the maximum available width. The brightness of the LED is surprisingly good for the price, but you'll need a pitch-black room to get the most out of it.
Colours can be adjusted in the projector's menu. There's also options to adjust aspect ratioa, brightness, and noise reduction.
There is a small built in speaker. No volume control that I could see - which is a pity, as the fan rather drowns it out. There's a basic set of EQ which allows you to change the bass and treble - but they don't have much effect.
At the back of the projector is a headphone jack. I suggest either plugging in some cans, or hooking it up to a more powerful set of speakers.
The speaker is mono. Again, good enough for simple sounds. The manual advises that the system doesn't support Dolby. It happily played an MP3 encoded stream in an MP4, I used Big Buck Bunny as a test.
You're not going to use this for your executive PowerPoint presentations, and you're not going to wow everyone with your in-home IMAX.
But, for sixty-notes, it's pretty damn good! For a second screen, projected onto a wall, or at a party it's a decent choice.
The colours are more suited to cartoons than David Attenborough documentaries. They claim that the LED lamp should last 50,000 hours. It appears to be replaceable but, honestly, for this price, it's probably just easier to buy a new one.
The small speaker is basic and the fan is a touch noisy.
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