As I chose to pick up this unit at Kohl's, I did so confident that no matter how low my expectations, this would probably disappoint me. Upon reading the limited reviews and board comments, I was convinced it would be bad. Therefore, I started testing the projector as soon as I brought it home. To my pleasant surprise, this device was actually really good.
First off, sound. The sound is actually pretty good. It does a mono sound, but at full volume, it was ok in a quite room. The sound could be heard clearly from another room. I could see it failing in a loud or crowded room, however it comes with a headphone jack. You can also plug certain external powered speakers into this jack to supplement the sound if you feel the need to.
Now more importantly, the video. I tested the video with two movies on my standard DVD player. In order to see the projector at it's best, I tested it on the simpsons, a high bright picture with low detail. It functioned splendidly. I shot the picture at close range (about three feet) to produce a 27'' TV equivalent. Then I shot it across the room, about 10 feet, and received about a 130 inch TV equivalent. The image was shot on a white wall for the three foot, and white drawn curtains for the 10 foot. I also ran it both with and without the lights on in the room. At three feet, the light on did very little to effect the image. At 10 feet, the image suffered substantially(grew paler), but seeing as how this is 4 feet and 60 inches bigger than even they recommend, I am still impressed. I have not tested this product during the day as of yet.
The simpsons was clear and crisp at both distances. It did have some blurring, which seemed to appear and go away, and was mot prevalent at the center of the screen. As another reviewer mentioned, the screen has crisscrosses on it, which is unavoidable. Anyone who has dealt with a slight amount of snow when watching TV has faced worse. The "crisscross" is simply dark lines that appear in a crisscross pattern across the image, which is a result of the low resolution of the screen. The larger the image, the larger the dark lines. I can't say it bothers me, it is solidly there and unchanging, and doesn't effect the picture (except perhaps making the image appear darker). And depending on the angle and distance you watch from, you can't even see the crisscrosses
The second movie I tested was Final Fantasy, spirit within, a detail orientated dark movie. I could say it was watchable at the 10 foot distance. The darks and lights didn't show very well, and significant detail is lost. At three feet, their was still a lot of lost detail, but the dark scenes show up a lot more clearly.
All in all, the projector works great. It has a moderately loud fan, but the sound more than makes up for it. It is a $100 projector, and everyone who gets it needs to keep that in mind. The bottom line is that if you are looking for an HDTV or hi res experience, this is not for you. If you are looking for a replacement living room TV, this is probably not for you. If you are looking for some portable tv replacement, or something that lets you watch tv on the ceiling or some other wierd area of your house at the drop of a dime. This would be great. This is great for snuggling up at night with some popcorn in a movie theater experience, or even outdoors in the backyard watching your favorite romantic comedy or something like that.
Simply put, know what you are getting, it works, as a toy. Like it says on its box, it is typically for video games (high contrast, low detail, bright colors), and thus works well for them. It is more than I expected, and in my opinion, well worth the money. And when the next level of projector is 6 times the price of this one, this is the closest any of us low income guys are going to get to owning our own projector to play with.
Please note that I did NOT review a sharper image wonderwall projector. It shows the same picture... It is NOT worth the price tag of $300 some dollars I see, I got it for less than $100, which is why my review was geared as such. I am not sure if amazon has messed up, or if the product got bought out by sharper image, but you could buy a high quality "real" projector for that price.
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