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Asus P1M review

Katharine Byrne
16 Apr 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
370
inc VAT

A great pico projector, but best used in darkness

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Specifications

1,280x800 resolution, 200 ANSI lumens, 33.5x125.5x130mm, 420g

The Asus P1M is the successor to our Best Buy-winning Asus P1 Pico Projector. Just like the P1, it’s a DLP projector with RGB LED lamps, and it’s housed within a tiny, highly portable black box. Weighing just 1.3kg, it’s perfect for slipping into your bag for transit, although you’ll have to take its power adaptor with you, as it doesn’t have an internal battery. Its LEDs can produce a bright 200 lumens and have the added benefit of 30,000 hours of lamp life, so you shouldn’t have to factor in the extra cost of maintaining a bulb over the projector’s lifetime.

Asus P1M

The P1M is best viewed in soft lighting or with no light at all; when viewed under bright light, most colours are a quite dim and washed out. We had no problem reading black-on-white text and white-on-black text, but only charts with primary colours stood out against the glare, and it was almost impossible to make out any dark scenes in our test images and video files.

With the lights off, colours really came alive. Reds were a little orange on its default settings, but blues were particularly deep and vibrant and greens were very punchy. Our high contrast images were much easier to see, with good levels of detail in both the light and dark areas of the image.

There are seven preset modes in total, including Standard, Blackboard, Whiteboard, Dynamic, Game, Scenery and Theatre. We preferred keeping the image settings on Standard, though, as Dynamic increased the contrast far too much, giving everything a greenish light and making skin tones look almost purple. The Game preset was a little warm; Scenery and Theatre were brighter, but cooler overall.

As the P1M is a DLP projector, there’s a slight rainbow effect where flashes of primary colours can be seen in largely black and white scenes and images. However, we didn’t find it particularly distracting, even when quickly scanning our eyes across the image.

Asus P1M

The Asus P1M has a few manual image controls for brightness, contrast, keystone and aspect ratio that you can access through its onscreen menu, and you can adjust image focus using its lens ring. There’s no remote, but its flush menu buttons are fairly easy to use with a little practice. The buttons are positioned on the top surface of the projector, but only the power button has an LED backlight, which means they’re a little difficult to see in low light conditions. Annoyingly, the back of the projector wobbled when we pressed the buttons, causing the entire image to bounce up and down.

Slight menu issues aside, the P1M’s native resolution of 1,280x800 looks stunning for a pico projector, and we watched 720p footage with no problems. It has a fairly short range, just 50cm to 3m, but we still managed an 85in diagonal at 7ft. However, you’ll have to extinguish the lights to pick out any detail at that distance. The P1M is great for smaller meeting rooms where the overall image doesn’t have to be particularly large, and its relatively quiet fan doesn’t disrupt the calm in more intimate spaces.

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