HP MP3130

15 Jan 2004

Product: Portable projector
Price: €3,265

If you are making a presentation to more than two people, you need a large screen or a projector to avoid the rapid onset of attention fatigue disorder as your audience squirms and squints at your laptop screen. Portable multimedia projectors today are so small and versatile that they are a natural complement to your trusty laptop. The new Hewlett-Packard MP3130 enters the market at the top of the performance and portability tree – but at a commensurate price. In fact it is almost certain to cost more than the laptop PC or Mac driving it.

Projector manufacturers are competing on all sorts of technical features, notably connectivity from any source and automated plug and play performance for ease of use. But most road warriors have simpler criteria for what they want: clear images, brightness to overcome prevailing lighting conditions and lightness for easy lugging around.

Projectors also need to be reasonably robust because accidents can happen. On these essentials, the MP 3130 scores highly. Its image projection is digital for excellent quality at normal room distances while the 1800 ANSI lumens power gives a bright image even under full overhead lighting. XGA resolution (1024×768) ensures fidelity to the PC screen image. At 1.6kgs it is competitively light and the strong casing, recessed lens with cap and extendable ‘stabilizers’ should stand up to all normal knocks.

Many business presentations actually do not make much use of sound, but if you are looking to deliver an audio experience neither this projector nor its competition will do so from the small built-in mono speaker. But independent stereo sound can be fed either from it or the original data source.

You will need the Smart Attachment Module option also if you want to run a presentation from a memory card like CompactFlash, an increasingly common medium which also makes a projector computer-independent. The same applies to wireless connections to notebook or handheld device or to a network via USB or RJ45. The neat remote control works by infrared.

Movie viewing is thoroughly catered for with all video formats accepted as well as connection to DVD players, VCR and camcorders.

No real negatives, other than the premium price (for premium quality) and the fact that in today’s market and at the price one would expect a memory card slot to be standard.

All in all, this is a capable and compact tool for portable presentation – but at a price.

By Leslie Faughnan