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Samsung SP-P400B Portable Projector - Samsung SP-P400B
Perhaps the most worrying thing about this projector, given that it's supposed to be portable, is its power supply. Measuring 14cm x 7cm x 4cm, it's nearly half the size of the projector itself so will add considerably to the amount of bulk you end up carrying around. At least the mains lead is of the IEC C13 (i.e. standard computer power lead) type, so you could leave it behind in the hope that your client has one on site.
Thankfully the on-screen menus go some way to reviving the SP-P400B's fortunes. They're intuitively laid out, respond quickly, and there are a fair number of image options on offer. For a start there's vertical keystone correction, which enables you to get a square picture even if the projector's slightly off centre. Then there's a selection of scene modes, including Movie, Monitor (which lightens dark areas), Dynamic, and a user customisable one. Those sit in addition to basics such as brightness and contrast adjustment plus a choice of 16:9 or 'normal' (4:3) aspect ratios.
The remote is another big positive. The buttons give plenty of feedback so you know when you've pressed them and the combination of a good layout and different shaped buttons makes use in the dark very easy.
As for picture quality, it was surprisingly good. There was no obvious rainbow effect (that DLP projectors often suffer from) and black levels were impressively deep, though at the expense of detail in dark areas. In fairness, this is only really noticeable in side-by-side comparisons but in isolation we were quite happy to watch a film on the SP-P400B. Or rather, we would have been had the cooling fan not been quite so loud.
Given the SP-P400B's mainly business focus, we can understand that silence isn't going to be its first priority. But to not even have any sort of quiet mode - even if it meant reducing the brightness of the lamp - is rather frustrating. Sure, if you turn your sound system up and watch an action-packed film with an appropriately loud soundtrack, you probably won't mind, but if you really want to lose yourself in the home cinema experience then this projector isn't for you.
On the subject of office use, it turns out 150 lumens doesn't equate to a very bright image and the SP-P400B struggles to cope in full sunlight. However, by closing the curtains you should be able to get a perfectly visible image.
In terms of value, there's an obvious premium to pay for the SP-P400B's miniaturisation. However, unlike the £240 Optoma PK101, the SP-P400B hasn't overly compromised image quality to attain its size. Conversely, larger projectors, like the Epson EH-TW420 can offer HD output and HDMI connectivity at a similar price. It's therefore worth asking yourself whether you really need a projector that can be carried around in a bag rather than one you can just throw in the back of the car.
First and foremost, the Samsung SP-P400B succeeds in being a highly portable yet effective business projector, even if it isn't quite pocketable. However, the surprise here is that it's also not bad for casual film watching, so it could end up serving a dual purpose. There are a few problems but none are untenable and when so few alternatives exist on the market, it's hard not to recommend the SP-P400B.
Scores In Detail
- Image Quality
- Sound Quality