ViewSonic PLED-W500 review

Barry de la Rosa
4 Nov 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

A decent resolution, good choice of inputs and low weight make the PLED-W500 good for travelling, but it's not very bright, has laggy controls and is quite expensive



1,280x800 resolution, 500 ANSI lumens, 42x214x164mm, 1.2kg

Viewsonic's PLED-W500 is an ultraportable LED projector. It's slightly larger than a hardback book and weighs just over 2kg, but has a 1,280x800 resolution, 500 lumens brightness and a choice of video inputs including VGA, HDMI and USB. It can also play a wide variety of music and video files as well as display office documents from flash drives and SD cards, so you don't even need to take a computer with you to make a presentation. It's even got 1GB of built-in memory for essential files.

ViewSonic PLED-W500

An LED lamp means that you'll almost never have to worry about replacing it - the estimated life is 20,000 hours, so you'd have to run the projector for 10 hours a day for five and a half years to burn it out, in theory. It also uses much less power than incandescent bulb projectors, drawing just 60W instead of 250W-plus. The downside is 500 lumens brightness, which, while far better than the 8-12 lumens of most pico projectors, is still not as much as most office projectors such as Epson's EB-W12, making the PLED-W500 less effective in brightly-lit offices. You can make up for this by moving the projector closer to the screen, but at its minimum 0.9m throw distance the PLED-W500 only produces a 26.5in diagonal picture. This is one projector that is at its best with the lights off.

As a travelling business projector, the PLED-W500 has everything you might need: it comes with a carrying case, and its USB support means you can either plug directly into a PC to display an image, or just take a flash memory drive or SD card with you. The built-in media player handles more file formats than we expected, including OGG music files and the latest Microsoft Office file formats, and there's 1GB of internal memory, accessible by connecting to a computer.

ViewSonic PLED-W500 back

There are problems, however. In USB display mode, hovering over program icons in the Windows taskbar no longer displays information about the open program. Focus was an issue too; we noticed green fringing around areas in the top-left corner of the screen, and using the focus wheel to remove this caused the Media Player controls at the bottom of the screen to go out of focus. There's no audio output either, and the internal 2W speaker isn't very loud.

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