There's nothing quite like a projector for recreating the cinema experience at home, but their cost used to put them beyond the reach of most potential buyers. However, projector prices have dropped steadily over the years, something that's well illustrated by the Viewsonic Pro6200 that we're looking at here. This model can be bought online for a shade over £400, yet is easily capable of beaming out pictures that measure over 200 inches in size, much bigger than any TV you could buy for that price.
Taking the Pro6200 out of the box we were quite surprised by just how small it is. While it's not as titchy as some of the LED projectors that are now on the market, it is a good deal more compact than most DLP models. Projectors are never really things of beauty, but Viewsonic has done a decent job of making this one reasonably handsome. The whole body is finished in gloss black with the aggressive looking grill pattern on the front and sides nicely balanced out by the curvier styling of the chassis.
The layout is pretty traditional. On the front, next to the lens, is a small IR window for receiving commands from the small remote, while the power button and other buttons for controlling the menus are mounted on the top. The fan, which is a bit noisy for our tastes, blows hot air out the front of the projector, while all the various inputs are on the rear.
For such a cheap model it actually has a pretty wide range of connections. Alongside the single HDMI port, there's also composite and s-video inputs. Viewsonic provides two VGA inputs, and one of these can be looped through the projector's VGA output back to a monitor. This feature shows that this model probably started life as more of an office projector than a home model. As there's a 5 watt speaker built-in there are also minijack audio input and outputs ports for getting audio in ad out of the projector.
The Pro6200 doesn't have optical lens shift, which isn’t surprising given its low price tag. However, this does mean that it's a little bit trickier to set up than pricier models. Lens shift allows you to move the lens up and down and from side to side, helping you to project a straight image if the projector can’t be positioned central to the screen. As it lacks this it means that getting the Pro6200 to project straight images takes a bit of time, and potentially quite a stack of books to get it to the right height. The lens is also sat quite high, so really you need to position it on a low coffee table if you're using it in a normal room.
Nevertheless, it has automatic keystone correction, so it will straighten up the edges of the projected image if it starts off as a trapezoid shape, although if you can avoid using keystone correction you'll get slightly better picture quality, as it uses some of the projectors native resolution to correct the image. The manual focus ring on the front is very easy to adjust, though, to get images as sharp as possible, and the big zoom barrel positioned behind it also makes adjusting the size of the projected image a cinch, although there isn’t a huge amount of zoom at your disposal.