3M MP410 Image Quality
Blu-rays look superbly crisp and detailed too, leaving you in no doubt whatsoever that you're watching a HD source on a HD imaging device. This in itself is a reason to rejoice given how soft video tends to look on most pocket projectors.
We were also relieved to find ourselves relatively untroubled by the DLP rainbow effect (stripes of pure colour flickering over bright image objects). You can see evidence of it over such things as flickering candles against dark backgrounds, but its appearances are reasonably rare and not especially potent even when they do appear.
Perhaps the single biggest and most welcome shock about the 3M MP410's video quality, though, is its contrast. For the washed out, milky, cloudy look dark scenes usually have on pocket projectors is replaced on the MP410 by surprisingly credible, dare we say cinematic black levels that also leave colours in dark corners looking more believable than usual. There's even a bit of shadow detail to be seen in the darkest corners of the image, which is certainly something way beyond the capabilities of almost every other pocket projector we've seen.
Motion, too, exceeds expectations, looking reasonably free of judder and totally free of blur.
Inevitably we're not talking about a level of video precision that will have dedicated home cinema projectors looking over their shoulder. Colours while punchy and reasonably believable in tone lack subtlety in their rendering, leaving skin tones in particular looking a bit plasicky and the colour palette generally a bit limited.
There's also more noise in video images than we'd expect to see on a more specialised video projector, and the unit's standard definition upscaling isn't very impressive. The speaker built into the MP410 is pretty inadequate for serious video use too, sounding very tinny and distorted when put under any sort of duress.
But actually the fact that we're even talking in any serious way about the speakers built into the MP410 is a testament to the diddy projector's unexpected prowess with video material. After all, normally video is nothing more than a fleeting distraction with pocket projectors, so inadequate are they at handling such fare. So the fact that the MP410's video efforts are strong enough to have us wishing for better sound quality to go with them is an achievement in itself.
Ever since we saw our first pocket projector we've been seduced by the idea of tiny light boxes capable of producing big images but have routinely been let down by the reality of the dull, soft pictures pocket projectors so often produce.
Finally, though, in the 3M MP410 we truly have a product that delivers our dream combination of a pocket-sized form factor and pictures bright and contrast-rich enough to not only be purely functional but also actually enjoyable. Well done, 3M. Very well done indeed.