To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Dell M109S review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £389
inc VAT


858×600 resolution, 50 ANSI lumens, 38x92x105mm, 360g

Dell is the latest company to jump on the tiny projector bandwagon. The M109S won’t quite fit into a pocket, but it’s brighter and has a higher resolution than the ‘pico’ projectors we’ve seen recently from Aiptek and Optoma.

Using an RGB LED for its light source, the M109S produces 50 lumens. That’s bright enough for a 30in image under office lighting. The resolution of 858×600 is lower than those of most laptop screens, but it’s sufficient for presentations, photo slideshows and video clips. The LED lamp will never need replacing, reducing running costs.

There’s no zoom, and the 1:0.64 throw ratio means you’ll need to place the projector a whopping 55in from the screen to get a 35in image. Oddly, there are no adjustable feet, so you’ll need a book or other handy prop to raise the front of the projector. Fortunately, the auto keystone correction means the shape of the image will be corrected when you’re not projecting precisely horizontally.

No remote is included, and the controls on the top panel are touch-sensitive. These can be fiddly to use due to their small size and occasional unresponsiveness. Menu options are fairly extensive, however. You can adjust colour temperature, brightness, contrast and a ‘whiteness’ level. There are also presets for movie, PC, sRGB and ‘bright’, so you can quickly switch to the most appropriate mode.

At the back there’s just one thin connector, which caters for video and power. Plug in the splitter cable and you have VGA and composite video inputs, plus a power socket. The projector and cable fit neatly into the included carry pouch, but it’s a shame it doesn’t have room for the power supply.

It takes only a few seconds for the M109S to power on and off. A small fan at the front keeps things cool, but its high-pitched whine will be noticeable in a quiet room, and becomes louder if you switch to bright mode.

Image quality was disappointing. Whites looked grey due to the relatively low brightness, and blues looked purple. This poor colour accuracy could prove a problem for business graphs, but isn’t too noticeable in photos. Contrast was poor compared with full-size projectors and we weren’t impressed with the focus. We couldn’t get the whole image sharp at once: when the centre was sharp, the bottom edge was fuzzy. There was also a noticeable dark patch in the top-right corner.

The M109S is the only projector in its class. Its small size and two-year next-business-day exchange warranty come close to justifying its price. However, its low brightness, long throw distance and poor image quality count against it. It may save you from the strain of carrying a conventional 1.5kg ultra-portable projector, but the M109S’s limited capabilities mean you won’t feel confident of putting on a good show when you get to your destination.


Price £389
Rating **


Projector technology DLP
Lamp brightness 50 ANSI lumens
Lamp life 10,000
Lamp life in economy mode 10,000
Contrast ratio 800:1


Native resolution 858×600
Max compressed resolution 1,920×1,080
Aspect ratio 4:3
Other aspect ratios none
Max diagonal at 7ft 4.5ft
Throw ratio 1:0.64
Projection distance 0.6m to 2.4m
Mirror image no
Invert image no
HD Ready no
Special view modes PC, Bright, sRGB, Movie, Custom


VGA input yes
DVI input No
Sound inputs none
Composite input yes
S-video input no
HDMI input no
Component input no
PAL support yes
SECAM support yes
NTSC support yes
Others inputs/outputs none


Noise (in normal use) 32dB(A)
Size 38x92x105mm
Weight 360g
Internal speakers none
Extras cables (power, adaptor for VGA and composite video), carry pouch
Remote special features N/A
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption on 32W


Lamp cost (inc VAT) N/A
Lamp supplier N/A
Lamp cost per hour of use N/A
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy) N/A

Buying Information

Price £389

Read more