REVIEW: ViewSonic M2

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The ViewSonic M2 is very portable, and you can even screw it onto a tripod.
The ViewSonic M2 is very portable, and you can even screw it onto a tripod.

Dubai - Need a big screen when one isn't available?

By Alvin R. Cabral

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Published: Sun 30 Aug 2020, 9:30 AM

Last updated: Sun 30 Aug 2020, 11:30 AM

There will be times when you won't be in control of any TV in your house, and a smartphone, tablet or laptop won't suffice your cravings for a big screen.
So, enter a projector. Mind you, it's a rather big market as well, and brands in this space have their own wars. A lot of options are available out there, and we're here take a peek into one of them, the ViewSonic M2. It's portable, offers a lot of connectivity options and... well, let's find out.

The M2 is a fairly small projector that promises packing a punch. It's got a wonderful blend of dark shades in a very minimalistic design.

Right behind is a bunch of ports, one for each of the mainstays: USB-A, USB-C and HDMI, an audio port and a microSD card reader for good measure. Only thing is you don't get to connect more than one of each type, so adapters for the others may come in handy in certain situations. If the event you've forgotten its power cable, you can connect a power bank via the USB-C port to power it up.
Aside from wired connections, you can also use screen mirroring to reflect a compatible device and Bluetooth to transfer files. For some reason, Bluetooth connections were iffy at certain points.
All that said, it is a bit annoying that the M2 doesn't automatically detect a device that's plugged in, nor does it even have a prompt to ask you whether or not you want to use said connected device. The only way you can do so is from the input select screen via the remote control. And speaking of the remote, there's also an app that you can download to control it from your smartphone.
Further on connections, you can use Bluetooth to also connect a wireless headset. The M2's audio is powered by harman/kardon, so sound coming from itself or your headset is good.

At its base are two more very useful things: A mounting screw for a tripod that adds to your flexibility options, and a compartment that contains another USB-A port wherein you can plug in a Wi-Fi dongle. We would have appreciated it more if Wi-Fi was actually built into the device, but those worries are negligible because there is a Wi-Fi dongle that comes with the package. Still, one less plugging-in is better. Also, you can use the USB-A port outside to connect the dongle, but that would be impractical for obvious reasons.
Also found here is its adjustable stand, allowing you to angle the M2 anywhere from zero to 45 degrees.

As you'd notice in the rather familiar folders in the second image, the M2's interface is a variation of Android, though nothing's officially listed on what version it's based on.
It has a plethora of features, particularly in screen adjustment, including the ability to adjust the sides and corners. This comes in handy especially when you're not using the device on a flat surface or tilting it in whatever direction (I had fun adjusting things while it was placed on all sorts of angles on a tripod). Of course, there are limitations to how far you can adjust, so picking the best spot to place it always a priority.

And, in a nod to safety, it has eye protection, a feature that automatically and temporarily puts the screen on standby when someone or something blocks the lens. Instances vary; if you pass by quickly, for example, it won't turn off; it needs a second to detect it. A bottle of ketchup - yes, I used that -  will also activate it, but anything that would allow enough light to go through like a PET water bottle will be ignored.
Projection quality is generally good, but be prepared for motion smoothing; this may not be an issue for some, particularly those who just need to view something, but if you want to appreciate stuff like some high-quality film or an Xbox game, it can be really annoying.
You can go all the way up to a screen of about 100 inches, but quality is better in smaller sizes as it makes the overall view more solid and crisper. It is, however, not the most solid of projections especially if there's some light while you're using it. The colours are okay and, at 1,200 lumens, is just right for your eyes, even in complete darkness.
ViewSonic says the M2's light source life can last up to 30,000 hours; to put that into perspective, that's - roughly put - over 10 years of eight hours of use a day, or even more than 20 years at four hours daily. (Wonder what kind of projectors we'll have by those times.)
There's also a host of apps that you can use. However, since this isn't really Android, you won't have access to Google Play. Aptoide hosts the apps, and while there are some that are useful - Netflix, for instance - but more often than not these apps are slow, making the experience tedious.
Indeed portable and boasting good-quality projection, the ViewSonic M2 is a good choice, but it's among the offerings in an also crowded projector scene. Its main strengths are portability and connectivity options.
However, what really draws it down are its motion smoothing - with no way of changing or adjusting it - the rather lacklustre interface and the time apps and connections take before their tasks are performed. Here's to hoping a software update will rectify things - or maybe its would-be successor will take note of all this.
GOODIES: Solid build, long life source life, (practically) complete mix of I/O options
GOOFIES: Permanent smoothing, slow connections/transfers, lacklustre interface, apps very slow, no built-in Wi-Fi

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