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


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

Samsung SP-M225 Projector Review

First things first, it’s vital to point out that the Samsung SP-M225 is marketed as an office projector, intended primarily for business use. What this means to anyone looking to employ the SP-M225 in the living room, as I did for this review, is that rather than a nice letterbox projection common to cinema, you will instead get your standard square (1024×768 as opposed to 1280×720 of a 720p setup). This is not a complete showstopper for the home cinema enthusiast, as thankfully Samsung provide a ‘movie’ mode within their screen settings which gives the desired widescreen aspect ratio, but of course you still get the brightness fringes of your projector’s native resolution above and below the picture. So whilst this was far from ideal for my personal usage requirements, it would of course be perfect for the intended consumer looking to hook up their laptop to give a 1:10 projection of their latest Powerpoint presentation, so with that important fact outlined I shall quickly move on.

The SP-M225 is well designed with two adjustable front feet and one rear, so that it will stabilise itself perfectly well on whatever suitable surface you can find for it. I placed it above the sofa (mid-level) behind me and quickly had the picture set up with minimal fuss thanks to the automatic keystone correction and nice, big tangible zoom and focus controls. Throwing the image up onto our typically magnolia wall from a distance of around 4.5 meters gave a very impressive picture, positively dwarfing our 40” Bravia which sat beneath. Getting around the menu screens in dim-light was a simple enough task thanks to the supplied full-size remote, which anyone familiar with Samsung’s TV range will have used before. The unit itself also houses basic convenience controls on top for when the remote isn’t immediately to hand.

You can connect to the SP-M225 via VGA, HDMI or composite/component video, which should cover the most common output devices in some shape or form. It is also possible to play/view a plethora of file formats (namely Word, PDF, Powerpoint, Excel, .txt, JPEG, MP3, WMA, AVI, WMV, MP4, MPEG) including your most prevalent video codecs DivX and XviD from a connected USB device using the built-in media player, which incidentally was perfectly usable in my quick test of the feature. Interestingly if nothing else, an Ethernet port allows you to control the projector remotely via a web browser; although only to the limited extent of monitoring its current state, powering it up and down and muting the volume. I would have liked to have seen Samsung open up their built-in media player further to view content available over the local network, but sadly this is not the case here.

Picture quality wise, I can’t attest to being a true videophile by any stretch of the imagination so I won’t try talking in depth about the colour graduation, noise levels or contrast ratios. But I can tell you that for a projector developed to present bar graphs and pie charts, it can produce so much more. Even in mid-afternoon daylight I could get a watchable picture against our off-white wall with distinctly average, not-at-all-black-out, window blinds. Needless to say, with a blacked out room, films, TV and video games all looked fantastic in super-size and once you’ve experienced a projector in your home, it’s hard to feel completely satisfied by the black box you had previously held so dear ever again.

In-hours, using the Samsung SP-M225 as an office projector is a straightforward task, and it worked successfully as a drop-in replacement for the office’s Samsung television. I simply re-arranged the meeting room to accomodate it at the opposite end to the wall with the television, removing the TV because there wasn’t enough room to project above it.

Several considerations must be made in office projector placement, however, and the guys tasked with using the meeting room and projector combo found that the warm-up time made the first few minutes of presentation slightly dim. Following this, the incredible brightness of the projector made placement a problem. I had placed it at approximately seated head height, atop the TV stand which I had relocated to the back of the room, this meant that even the slightest glance in its direction led to near blindness- or at least green blotches in the corner of your eye. If you have a big enough meeting room, then the projector can be well placed on the table where nobody is seated with a view directly into the lens. This has other problems, however, in heat and noise.

The best way to fit such a projector would be at ceiling height, a challenging task in the office, but if you’re only spending around £450 then the little extra required to get a contractor to expertly fit a shelf and a laptop plint shouldn’t sting too much. A projected image is far more impressive and clear than a televisual one, and as projectors are supplied with the right connections and are generally more compatible with laptops you’ll have a far better experience getting a usable and un-cropped picture out of it.

To conclude, if you’re in the market for a projector around the £450 mark, which can cope admirably with both office duties 9-5 and home cinema after hours, then you won’t go far wrong with the Samsung SP-M225.

-Colin W.

Friday, August 13th, 2010, Home Entertainment, Monitors.