Viewsonic projectors have been around in the Indian market for quite some time, and the company even offers a wide range of monitors and display solutions for both offices and home entertainment. Earlier this year, ViewSonic refreshed its ‘M1’ ultra-portable projector series with two new models, and in this review, we are looking at the ViewSonic M1+ G2 that comes with a handful number upgrades, but the design remains almost the same as the last-gen models. Currently retailing at Rs 44,499 (initially priced at Rs 68,000), the ViewSonic M1+ G2 projector comes with inbuilt Harman Kardon speakers and promises a brighter and sharper viewing experience. The compact packaging includes a power cord, USB-C cable, user manual, and remote control.
Design: We’ll start with the design, and there’s no doubt that the ViewSonic M1+ G2 remains one of the most attractive looking ultra-portable projectors in the market, even if it borrows a similar design from its predecessor. It features the same dual-tone colour (silver and grey) finish that looks sophisticated, and the square-shaped minimalist design complements the overall look and feel. The projector’s integrated smart stand provides for a simple 360-degree setup while also doubling as a lens cover. We get a carry case that does make the projector easy to store or pack and protect from dust, but it is not water-resistant, so be careful if you’re outdoors on a rainy day.
But the most noticeable and well-thought area of the projector is its hidden connectivity slot on the right that houses all the ports. There are adequate connectivity options to run a host of devices, and users can use the single microSD card slot, USB Type-C port, HDMI, USB Type-A port, and 19V DC power jack for charging. It essentially means that devices such as Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, Amazon Fire TV Stick, USB drive and even newer smartphones can be connected easily with the projector for playing back content. The ViewSonic M1+ G2 does not come with an auto-focus feature, but there’s a dial right next to the hidden connectivity slot to change the focus manually.
The new-gen ViewSonic M1+ G2 is slightly heavier than the last-gen model, though it remains lightweight (700 grams) that nicely fits in your backpack. The smart-stand is made out of metal that easily handles the weight of the projector at different angles. Lastly, we get onboard controls to adjust the volume or power off the device, but no dedicated buttons for keystone or brightness correction. Overall, the design of the ViewSonic M1+ G2 will match all your expectations for an ultra-portable projector, especially at this price point.
Software: However, if we move away from the design of the ViewSonic M1+ G2, the proprietary software on this one needs refinement. Even though it supports Wi-Fi connectivity, it is not a ‘smart’ portable projector, so we do not have access to official Google services, including Google Assistant. In fact, the bundled remote also lacks shortcut keys to popular OTT platforms such as Amazon Prime Videos or Netflix, and there’s no dedicated voice command button.
We do have access to the official Prime Videos app via the Aptoide app store but no access to Disney+ Hotstar. There’s a third-party app that gives access to YouTube; however, customers should be careful before logging in with their official Google account.
Another thing that may bug users is the typing experience on the proprietary software. For instance, when you’re searching for the Amazon Prime Videos app on the app store, you’ll have to type the full app name as you’re unable to select the suggestive results based on half inputs. As mentioned, the ViewSonic M1+ G2 does come with the auto-keystone correction that adjusts the display based on the frame, but to manually change settings, users can only tilt the screen upwards or downwards. Similarly, if you want to tweak the display settings while watching a video on Prime Videos, you’ll have to exit the app and go to the native Settings page. However, you will get a neat settings tab via the dedicated shortcut key on the remote when watching videos stored on a connected external drive. Users can mirror screens with their iPhones and Android smartphones when connected to the same Wi-Fi.
To be fair, most portable projectors in India lack smart-viewing services at this price; however, there are limited options like XGIMI Mogo Pro that comes with a higher price tag (roughly Rs 60,000) and Android TV 9 out-of-the-box.
Display and sound: Before we analyse the display performance, here’s a quick summary of the specifications to give you a perspective. The ViewSonic M1+ G2 offers 300 lumens of peak brightness, a mild jump of around 50 units compared to the old-gen ViewSonic M1 ultra-portable projector. You can even attain a screen size of roughly 100-inches based on throw projection. The company claims an input lag of roughly 41.5ms with a contrast ratio of 120000:1 and 1.07 billion colours. The light source with the normal mode is said to be up to 30,000 hours. Lastly, the native resolution is set at 854×480 pixels, but the projector does support 1080p videos.
So as promised by the company, the ViewSonic M1+ G2 does deliver a decent performance, but regardless of mild updates, you don’t get the brightest videos. Although the sharpness and colour accuracy may seem accurate (we watched The Grand Budapest Hotel and several Office episodes), the low brightness overshadows the overall viewing experience. That means you will barely see anything with ambient light, and the room needs to be dark enough to get the best visual experience.
Since it is a portable projector, I also tested it outdoors, which does make the product exciting to use, though the viewing quality with its low brightness is simply average, especially at this price point. The battery on this one, on the other hand, is decent like the last-gen model that is roughly six hours. Unfortunately, you cannot view the battery levels except for the LED indicator, which makes it a bit inconvenient. The bundled charger powers up the projector in roughly two hours.
Thankfully, we didn’t see any signs of overheating, and the fan noise is decently loud, which doesn’t hamper the viewing experience. There’s HDR support, but you get ViewSonic’s proprietary Cinema SuperColor+ technology to deliver “true-to-life colours.” But surprisingly, the inbuilt Harman Kardon dual speakers (3W output each) are surprisingly loud even in a roughly 420 sq ft bedroom with fans on. We do get clear audio but don’t expect any punchy bass with this tiny, palm-sized unit.
Verdict: So far, it is clear that ViewSonic M1+ G2 isn’t the best ultra-portable projector in the market and certainly not the most ideal (portable) home entertainment system. But it is also not the most disappointing projector you’ll see and it does have multiple use cases such as office presentations or on-field trips, or even showing quick wedding clips to your relatives on a big screen. Since it is a refreshed model, the tiny upgrades are promising, but we do not see substantial changes – even in terms of the design. If we look at the display and sound, which should be the core area of the projector, the ViewSonic M1+ G2 does deliver a decent performance, if not the best. Therefore, when we look at the rivals in the similar price range (under Rs 45,000), ViewSonic’s M1+ G2 projector remains a mighty competitor.