Mini-Projector Face-Off: 3M MPro110 vs. Dell M109S

A week ago, we got some significant playtime with Microvision’s very cool Pico P projector, but today we got hands on with  competitors that are jockeying to become the big dogs in the mini-projector space: the 3M Micro Professional Projector MPro110 and Dell M109S. See the full specs of the projectors after the jump. In our hands-on test, in which we played video clips and read news headlines, the Dell M109S proved the superior projector. It displayed a crisp image and robust colors that totally outclassed the 3M MPro110’s rather bland video.  It may have a power brick that’s the size of a, well, power brick, but in these preliminary tests, we think toting the extra may be worth it if high-quality video is an essential. That’s not to say that 3M’s projector is without merit. It’s far more pocketable than its rival and more than $100 cheaper, which will help it find an audience with those looking for a low-cost, travel friendly projector that delivers a decent image. Still, the image warping and washed out video may turn off some. We’ve put together a video of both projectors in action so that you can get a sense of what both devices offer. Which mini-projector do you find the most compelling? Sound off in our poll! [flq:daf720f6c97c482b8ee1266eb74c1f38] 3M Micro Professional Projector MPro110

  • $359
  • 640 x 480 native resolution
  • 4.5 x 2.0 x 0.9 inches
  • 5.6 ounces
  • Projects 6-inch to 50-inch image
  • Small, cell phone-size power adapter
  • Comes with VGA and Video cable
  • 10,000 hours of usage

Dell M109S

  • $499
  • 858 x 600 native resolution
  • 4.2 x 3.6 x 1.2 inches
  • 0.8 pounds
  • Projects 15-inch to 60-inch image
  • Uses its own power adapter or one from a Latitude or Vostro (reducing the number of cords to carry)
  • Multi-input connector (power, VGA, composite)
  • 10,000 hours of usage
  • Password protection
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  1. Jon Says:

    The Dell projects a very nice image, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a pocket proejctor considering the size and power requirements. The 3M projector definitely has inferior picture quality.

    As far as I can tell, neither projector has the image quality, size, infinite focus advantages of the Microvision projector you reviewed last week. Would love to see a side by side or written review / comparison of all three.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    compare the dell and microvision side by side

  3. Fred Says:

    I don’t think you are comparing apples to apples. Dell projector is obviously much larger, more power hungry, and more expensive. It appears the 3M projector was more focused on size, efficiency and lower price. The Dell projector isn’t even in the pico projector category.

  4. EV Says:

    Nice analysis but yeah the Dell has the advantage of more expensive parts and bigger sized tech. I still think the 3M is a good buy at that price especially seeing as you can slip it into your notebook/netbook bag etc but the Dell looks to be the hands down winner.

    Linked on my blog :)

  5. Jurich Osterreich Says:

    This is a bizarre review – comparing a desktop projector (albeit a small one) to a portable projector? Shouldn’t comparisons be against two products in the same category? Here are some other possible face-offs LAPTOP might consider –

    – Brothers M-100 Typewriter vs. Xerxox 6360N Color Laser Printer
    (hey, they both create printed output on paper!)

    – Cadillac Escalade SUV vs. Boeing 767
    (come, on they’re both modes of human transportation)

  6. Jeffrey Wilson Says:

    Hi all,

    Yes, we recognize that they aren’t in the same category, but we shot the video to show users exactly what they’d get with the purchase of either one of these devices. Both offer compelling price points and are portable (granted, the 3M is far more portable), and we felt it may be a comparison that some people will make when shopping for a mini-projector. Full review of each are coming soon

  7. Ryan Says:

    Yes, please compare the Microvision as well!

    Thanks!

  8. Jocianna Says:

    If you call it “mini”, it surely should be mini. That’s why I choose 3M. You’d better compare things apple to apple.

  9. lorel Says:

    kool, thanx 4 the video

  10. Ricardo Says:

    Pardon me for wondering why you didn’t include the Microvision product in your comparison, especially after you were able to test it first hand a week prior to the two products you did compare.

  11. CHUI WEI LEONG Says:

    There are lower cost projectors with IPD/IPHONE docks at USD299. Buy one at our website. http://www.genie-sys.com. In fact, we are looking for distributors. Please contact me : wlchui@genie-sys.com.

  12. Mike Says:

    Note to camera operator: Use a tripod when doing a comparison like this. Beside the obvious movement from being hand-held, the aspect of each comparison was different due to the varying positions of the camera between shots, thus not a true comparison at all.

  13. David H Dennis Says:

    I saw some differences, but not the night and day comparison the video seems to be claiming. The real disappointment is neither have good resolution – to view a web site nowadays, you really need 1024×768 resolution or greater, and neither came even close.

    I have to say, though, that iPhone-size form factor of the 3M covers a multitude of sins. I’ll bet a lot of buyers will have real fun with them. On the other hand, an hour of battery life isn’t even enough for a short movie, so I would question how useful that battery power option really is.

    D

  14. Ben Says:

    This guy is completely ignoring journalistic standards for comparison. How about adjusting the 3M projector and not holding it in your hand? Seriously, this is why blogs and ezines are a joke.

  15. Frank Castle Says:

    Not to be to mean here. But then again this is a tech product review so Im going to be pretty blunt.

    I own both of these units and I can tell you right off the bat that this review was lacking, ok crap, might be a better word. When you do a tech review, you REVIEW it … You dont half review it and then just say. Oh were going to do a better review down the road.

    I half expected to catch a door in the back ground to open up and catch a glimpse of other employees betting over a cock fight or shooting dice. No, really guys… not trying to be be mean here but what were guys thinking?

    First off, when you review two items you might want to actually review the item. Not just turn them on, point them at a wall and read the news.

    The “warping of the image” they talk about in the MPro110 review is due to the fact that you didn’t bother to take 15 seconds to properly center the projected image (Im not talking about sharpening the Image). The 3M Mpro110 unit comes with a 1/4″ universal tripod camera mount just for this reason. (which you didnt mention)

    Second of all, I would have mentioned the battery life of the MPro110 is less then an hour. Or the fact that the unit does not warn you when the unit is able to run out of power. Or the fact that the MPro110 does not let you charge the unit while it is running.

    Also you didnt review the input solutions, or the fact that the VGA cable that comes with the MPro110 is a pain to use, and that using the composite cable is alot easier.

    There was also no review of the minimum and maximum image sizes of the two units. Whish is the most important issue with mini and micro projectors.

    You also skipped out on the LED projection issue, projection life, the fact that these two units have two TOTALLY diffrent estimated life cycles, the fact that the MPro110 can not be fixed if broken or the warranty issues etc…..

    Also the fact that they were reviewing a portable projector to a non portable porjector when there are two other portable projectors on the market that would have been a much better review.

    This was like car and driver doing a a one block road test review of a 4 door Toyota Camery vrs a two door Pontiac Solstice. Close in price but whats the point in the review? Its two totally diffrent buyers.

    FYI, next time you guys want to do a product review….. take the item home for 2 days and use it first and try and come up with some pros and cons that are related to real life use.

    Again, I know this was harsh, but if your going to do a tech based product review, prepair to be reviewed yourselves.

    Sidenote:
    I do have to give it to the guy presenting, he smiled and was clear when speaking. two things you dont always get with male tech reviews.

  16. K. T. Bradford Says:

    We did full reviews of both projectors: 3M MPro110 Pico Projector and Dell M109S Mini Projector.

  17. Robert Says:

    Would have been nice to see both projectors image projected side by side to compare…

  18. Esteban Says:

    Well, projecting the Harry Potter trailer in the 2nd case (3M Mpro110) while leaving such nuclear white web site open on the back is really unfair, since such clarity misled the videocamera sensor: it will record softer colors and will not show the reality of the projection capabilities of the 3M. Pretty unfair.

  19. Jason Says:

    Your camera quality in recording this voids the test. USE A BETTER CAMERA TO RECORD YOUR COMPARISON. Duh.

  20. kendall Says:

    come on, dont act like a bunch of 7th graders, who are trying to be tech savvy, at least these guys are taking the time to make this…… so unless you have another review site, stfu

  21. mojo jojo Says:

    Well for someone who carries round a standard size projector for work , both of these units look very portable, a crab apple versus cooking apple maybe but definitely both ‘portable’ to a business user who currently uses a full size unit. I totally appreciate that quality will be noticeably reduced in this size of kit but my only criticism of the review was that it didn’t compare the output under moderate ambient lighting. the luxury of having a fully blacked out room isn’t often an option for business presentations so i would have liked to have seen this demo’ed. the review has told me enough to make the decision to wait until the miniaturised projector market has matured a little, i’m hoping that as LED technology grows these devices will keep getting better, but i won’t hold my breath.

  22. T Says:

    Thanks for this review. It was very helpful!

  23. kevin Says:

    Dell has been focusing on the PC, we have no doubt that his PC in the field and the unique advantages of high quality and good after-sales service quality assurance.
    However, if I go to choose a mini projecter, I think aiptek more confident, I believe the strength of the field in his projecter than I think dell should the field strength in the same PC. I also do, after long wait I was ready to buy a Aiptek V10. Hope it can verify the correctness of my course, I also hope that one day in the future, we can see that dell in other areas also have an absolute advantage. looking forward to.

  24. Michel Says:

    Ok everyone talks so much about various aspects of their favourite or not so favourite projectors. Blah blah blah and what really concerns me is that after looking at so many add and specification for these little buggers (projectors) on the net no one clearly identifies the basic necessary information, how far will these little bugger project a good quality picture? After all that is the most important value in a good mini projector? Or have I somehow missed the boat here and we are all using these little buggers in our cars and SUV’s for small demos? Lets get with the program here because I want to know, is it 100” or 200” or is it 2 to 3 feet?? Hello I may be blonde but I was a brunet before I found out I can have more fun.

  25. Stanley Says:

    Was this review even a fair showdown? lol…I know this is a few years old, but I’d love to see the Dell be put up against the AAXA M1 Ultimate, it’s what I’m considering buying. Anyone have a link to the comparison of these 2? The M1 Ultimate specs out pretty good

  26. Stan Says:

    Really good review, I also think that the Dell M109S is better. As both devices are really old right now, are there any better you could recommend?

    Stan

  27. watchphone Says:

    Dell has been focusing on the PC, we have no doubt that his PC in the field and the unique advantages of high quality and good after-sales service quality assurance.
    However, if I go to choose a mini projecter, I think aiptek more confident, I believe the strength of the field in his projecter than I think dell should the field strength in the same PC. I also do, after long wait I was ready to buy a Aiptek V10. Hope it can verify the correctness of my course, I also hope that one day in the future, we can see that dell in other areas also have an absolute advantage. looking forward to.
    May wish to cooperate with Microsoft, it is an opportunity but also a challenge.

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