gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Samsung P400B “Pocket” LED Projector Review

Let’s get this out in the open right off the bat, if you think the P400 “Pocket” Projector will actually fit in the average pocket, you’ve been misled by the peculiar title. This particular “Pocket” projector is incredibly small, but it’s not that small!

I’ve decided to bring projector reviews to Gadgetoid, and this review of the Samsung P400B is the first. I’ll be focussing on aesthetics, practicality, price and all the fun you can have with it instead of the yawn-inducing “knitty gritty” of picture quality.

See over the fold for the full Samsung P400B Review.

The sleek and compact form of the P400B LED portable projector, when compared with the lumbering behemoth projectors of yore and old, is certainly a sight for sore eyes. It may not be pocketable, but it’s easily tucked into a small bag and carried around for presentations or, the far more entertaining option, Wii gaming on a sheet hung from the side of your garden shed. And it certainly excels at these uses, being quick to warm up, throwing a surprisingly large and bright picture for its size and not kicking out nearly as much heat as your run of the mill projector.

Where things really hit hard is the price, although you can’t really balk too much at £400 for something in this form factor. Tesco Direct seem to have it for £399 which is a bargain if you absolutely must have something portable. If, however, you’re looking for a compact 720p projector for more serious gaming and movie sessions you will be better off looking at something in the vein of the InFocus X9.

Right: The Samsung P400B holds its own against an HD-ready, traditional bulb-based proejctor.

That’s not to say, however, that the Samsung P400B doesn’t excel outside of its portable-presentation-projecting comfort zone. Quite the contrary in fact. If you’re happy with standard definition, don’t have a source of HD television, or want to game on the big screen with a Nintendo Wii (or a last generation console) then the Samsung P400B absolutely excels at throwing a watchable picture up against a normal off-white living room wall.

The Samsung P400B projector also has an array of touch-sensitive buttons on top which help facilitate its smooth, glossy black aesthetic but are a royal pain in the behind if you try moving the projector about whilst it’s turned on. I prefer “clicky” buttons on a device not only because they’re harder to press accidentally but easier to press intentionally.

The Samsung P400B has a pretty limited compliment of inputs which include the obligatory VGA (pretty handy for connecting to an Xbox and achieving optimum resolution (800×600, which is better than an SD TV), and composite. The projector also has a built-in speaker which is nice for a quick setup situation where you want to quickly hook up a portable games console and get a few beeps and boops out of your emulators but completely useless if you’re set on movie watching. That said, it’s quite capable of reaching volume levels that make for watchable television but you’ll never feel comfortable with that sound coming from behind you.

Controlling the P400B is quite simple using the lovely, compact but still comfortably sized remote. Instead of a credit-card style remote as is present in some brands of projector, the P400B opts for a bulkier, albiet still reduced in size remote that has lovely squishy buttons and sits well in your hand. It still takes a tiny little button battery, however, which is somewhat dissapointing but does help keep it lightweight.

Right: A very watchable picture was produced on the chimney breast playing Coraline from a Dingoo A320

The Samsung P400B’s picture quality isn’t stunning, and it doesn’t set out to be. Projecting a 60″ screen on your living room wall, however, will really make you think twice about confining your entertainment to a poxy little television again.

If you own a Wii, then it’s a good buy as it’ll get you all the picture quality the Wii is capable of producing and will admirably compete with daylight if you want to start gaming before dark. It really loves the dark, though, and projecting Wii games onto a screen outdoors during a night-time barbeque is just one envy-inducing and incredibly fun way you can put this compact projector to use.

Its low heat output, small form factor, long life and still pretty stunning picture for that diminuative size make for a very solid buy, and a great first foray into the world of projectors. Sadly its price puts it very close to the low end of HD-ready projectors which will afford a much better picture and are great for fixed installations, so unless you need portability or lack an HD source it’s not the best choice for the home. Office use, however, is a different matter, with the P400B bring an on-the-go presenters best friend.

Thursday, August 20th, 2009, Home Entertainment.