Elsewhere, video connectivity is pretty much as it should be, with a D-SUB port, component jacks, S-Video and composite video options. Plus you get a few ports that indicate a desire on projectiondesign’s part to make the M20 appeal to the custom install market, namely a USB, a 9-pin RS232 and an RJ-45 TCP/IP port. It’s worth mentioning that the digital input is configured to handle practically any HD format you could think of, including 1080p/24fps.
As indicated earlier, the M20 sports a native pixel count of 1,280 x 720 – something that may disappoint people now that full HD projectors using other LCD and SXRD technology are selling for around the M20’s price. But although we don’t intend to cover all the arguments here, there are plenty of people in the AV world who’d argue the benefits of DLP - especially in terms of colour richness, life cycle and black level - more than counter the problems DLP has delivering a full HD resolution at an affordable price point.
Having mentioned black level, it’s nice to find the M20 boasting a contrast ratio of 4,000:1 from its Texas Instruments DarkChip 3 DLP system – and this figure becomes even more impressive when you realise that it’s a ‘true’ one that doesn’t depend on a dynamic iris to reduce brightness output during dark scenes, as happens with LCD and SXRD technologies.
This isn’t to say that the M20’s brightness is completely fixed; you can actually adjust it yourself between 500 and 1,000 ANSI Lumens to suit the demands of your tastes, room, or the source material. But the point is that setting the brightness level is your choice rather than the projector’s.
Setting the diminutive M20 up is a breeze, thanks in particular to a superb level of optical lens shift and plenty of optical zoom in the Fujinon-sourced lens. The onscreen menus are tidily organised and well presented too.
Our testing of the M20 inevitably focussed at first on its BrilliantColor functionality. Are its colours really noticeably superior to those of rivals in the same class? Actually, they are. The already intense colour scheme of Viva Pinata on the Xbox 360, for instance, looks even more vibrant, solid and three-dimensional on the M20 than on any other projector we’ve seen for the same kind of money. But it’s not just ‘cartoony’ fare that benefits from BrilliantColor. The endlessly filtered colours of Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven on Blu-ray, for example, are delivered with seriously impressive authority and subtlety, getting much closer than most mid-range projectors to the sort of expressive colour quality we experienced when we saw the film in our local Odeon