Dell M109S review

Jim Martin
20 Mar 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT



858x600 resolution, 50 ANSI lumens, 38x92x105mm, 360g

Dell is the latest company to jump on the tiny projector bandwagon. The M109S won't quite fit into a pocket, but it's brighter and has a higher resolution than the 'pico' projectors we've seen recently from Aiptek and Optoma.

Using an RGB LED for its light source, the M109S produces 50 lumens. That's bright enough for a 30in image under office lighting. The resolution of 858x600 is lower than those of most laptop screens, but it's sufficient for presentations, photo slideshows and video clips. The LED lamp will never need replacing, reducing running costs.

There's no zoom, and the 1:0.64 throw ratio means you'll need to place the projector a whopping 55in from the screen to get a 35in image. Oddly, there are no adjustable feet, so you'll need a book or other handy prop to raise the front of the projector. Fortunately, the auto keystone correction means the shape of the image will be corrected when you're not projecting precisely horizontally.

No remote is included, and the controls on the top panel are touch-sensitive. These can be fiddly to use due to their small size and occasional unresponsiveness. Menu options are fairly extensive, however. You can adjust colour temperature, brightness, contrast and a 'whiteness' level. There are also presets for movie, PC, sRGB and 'bright', so you can quickly switch to the most appropriate mode.

At the back there's just one thin connector, which caters for video and power. Plug in the splitter cable and you have VGA and composite video inputs, plus a power socket. The projector and cable fit neatly into the included carry pouch, but it's a shame it doesn't have room for the power supply.

It takes only a few seconds for the M109S to power on and off. A small fan at the front keeps things cool, but its high-pitched whine will be noticeable in a quiet room, and becomes louder if you switch to bright mode.

Image quality was disappointing. Whites looked grey due to the relatively low brightness, and blues looked purple. This poor colour accuracy could prove a problem for business graphs, but isn't too noticeable in photos. Contrast was poor compared with full-size projectors and we weren't impressed with the focus. We couldn't get the whole image sharp at once: when the centre was sharp, the bottom edge was fuzzy. There was also a noticeable dark patch in the top-right corner.

The M109S is the only projector in its class. Its small size and two-year next-business-day exchange warranty come close to justifying its price. However, its low brightness, long throw distance and poor image quality count against it. It may save you from the strain of carrying a conventional 1.5kg ultra-portable projector, but the M109S's limited capabilities mean you won't feel confident of putting on a good show when you get to your destination.




Projector technologyDLP
Lamp brightness50 ANSI lumens
Lamp life10,000
Lamp life in economy mode10,000
Contrast ratio800:1


Native resolution858x600
Max compressed resolution1,920x1,080
Aspect ratio4:3
Other aspect ratiosnone
Max diagonal at 7ft4.5ft
Throw ratio1:0.64
Projection distance0.6m to 2.4m
Mirror imageno
Invert imageno
HD Readyno
Special view modesPC, Bright, sRGB, Movie, Custom


VGA inputyes
DVI inputNo
Sound inputsnone
Composite inputyes
S-video inputno
HDMI inputno
Component inputno
PAL supportyes
SECAM supportyes
NTSC supportyes
Others inputs/outputsnone


Noise (in normal use)32dB(A)
Internal speakersnone
Extrascables (power, adaptor for VGA and composite video), carry pouch
Remote special featuresN/A
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption on32W


Lamp cost (inc VAT)N/A
Lamp supplierN/A
Lamp cost per hour of useN/A
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)N/A

Buying Information


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