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HP mp3320 Portable Projector Review

Portable, compact and lightweight projector is ideal for presentations and video By Guy Wright

The new HP mp3320 portable projector

The new HP mp3320 portable projector

We had the chance to try out the new HP mp3320 portable projector and run it through a few tests. What we found was a well thought out, well designed presentation tool that delivers a very good image whether youre showing PowerPoint presentations, video, or both.

The HP mp3320 is a lightweight (3.8 lbs), compact (9.9 8.3 2.7) portable projector designed for easy transport and quick setup. It is primarily intended for professional presentations in businesses or schools but it also does an excellent job when connected to a DVD player (or even playing games). Right out of the box you can tell that the folks at HP have been doing their homework and really tried to make this one of the easiest to use professional-quality projectors on the market.

The projector comes with a carry case, remote control, VGA cable, 10-foot power cable, USB cable, quick setup booklets, warrantee information, and manual on CD-ROM. On the front of the unit there is a built-in lens cover (a nice touch) and an IR receiver port. On the top are manual zoom and focus rings, a button to release the front elevation foot, and controls that match those on the remote control. There are also lamp and temperature warning lights. On the back of the unit are another IR receiver port, a security slot, a USB port for connecting to a computer, an audio-in port, composite video port, S-video port, and a VGA port that can also accept component or HDTV signals with an optional cable. All the ports are clearly marked and color-coded. The power cord port is located on the side of the unit and one of the feet on the underside can be raised and lowered to adjust tilt. Another nice touch is a threaded hole on the underside allowing you to mount the projector on a tripod. You can also mount the projector from a ceiling with optional mounting hardware or behind a screen for rear projection.

The remote control is about the size of a credit card and has buttons for powering the projector on and off, a hide button for blanking the screen, buttons that emulate a computer mouse as well as page up and page down buttons for when the unit is connected to a computer via the USB port. It also has a source select button, auto synchronization button, buttons for navigating the on screen display (OSD), an enter button, a back button, and a picture mode button (for switching between graphics and video modes). The slightly raised buttons are laid out nicely and easy to use even in the dark. It also has a pretty powerful IR transmitter inside and that, combined with the two IR receiver ports on both the front and back of the projector, means that you can point the remote almost anywhere and the signals will be picked up.

Setting up the projector is about as easy as it gets. Take it out of the case and put it on a table anywhere from 4 to 40 feet away from a screen (or white wall if you dont have a screen). This creates images anywhere from 30 inches (diagonal) all the way up to 24 feet (diagonal). Connect your computer or video source (or both), optional audio source, optional USB connection to a computers USB port, and the power cable. Rotate open the lens cover, turn everything on and hit the power button. While the projector is powering up it displays countdown numbers and searches for any viable signals.

Before testing the mp3320 I had been using a widescreen LCD display and forgot to reset the computers graphics resolution before connecting to the projector. On powerup the projector politely displayed a message stating that the resolution was out of range. Without that message I could have easily believed that something was wrong with the projector and wasted a lot of time trying to figure out the problem.

If you are connecting a laptop to the projector there is a quick reference card that lists dozens of common laptops and which keys you have to press in order to send signals out via VGA.

Once youve got an image on the screen you can adjust the zoom, focus, and position of the image. If you need to you can raise the front of the projector with the drop-down foot in the front and if the table isnt quite level you can raise one of the feet on the bottom of the unit. From that point on youre ready to go. Once you are familiar with the projector you should be able to get it setup and running in less than two minutes. And when you are finished the projector has an extra quick shutdown cycle that only takes about 30 seconds so you can be done and all packed up in a flash.

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