Nov 09 2018

Review: Dell's M318WL Is a Mobile Projector Feds Can Take on the Road

This portable projector provides crisp images for important agency presentations.

Lightweight mobile projectors are easy to use, and they make presentations a snap. But do they throw enough light? Is the picture clear and in focus? What about connectivity and input ports? Will a device that weighs under a pound satisfy every need?

Enter the Dell M318WL mobile projector. When I unpacked the device, my first step was to set it up in a medium-sized conference room with the lights on, connect it to my laptop and see what happened. It made me a believer. 

Control Projector Settings with Intuitive UI

With the projector positioned at the end of a table and projecting to a whiteboard, the LED lamp was bright enough from 6 feet away to project a 60-inch-diagonal image with zero washout. The lines of my presentation were crisp and clear. The manual focus lever moves with just enough resistance to find that sweet spot where the focus is perfect. The device also permits a vertical keystone adjustment of up to 40 degrees.

Users control the ­settings — and there are quite a few — with a menu-driven interface that’s easy to navigate. Aspect ratios of 16:10 and 4:3 are available, and display settings include zoom levels from one to 10. At level three, the entire picture is visible; past that, the edges of the display get lost.

The device works as a rear projector once automatic keystone correction is turned on. The manual keys are better for more in-depth adjustments. 


Dell Offers Multiple Connectivity Options

Dell designed several ways to project images. For the simplest, use the included full-size HDMI cable. With the optional wireless dongle set in the USB-A port, use the EZCast Pro application on a mobile device or download the network projection application to a laptop. Or, connect through the USB port using the same applications. The projector supports image and Microsoft Office viewer displays from a flash drive. Plus, the device offers 7 gigabytes of internal storage, so users can copy and display files locally — a handy feature for quick collaborations.

In a sprawling government building, the Dell M318WL would be a great choice for something that’s easy to tote from cubicle to conference room without compromising quality.

Share Content Easily with Quick Application Setup

In addition to the standard HDMI cable, the Dell M318WL mobile projector offers multiple ways to connect, both wirelessly and via a USB cable. 

To go wireless, obtain a Dell Wireless Dongle Kit WD518, then plug the dongle into the USB port and select Wireless Display on the menu. On a Mac or Windows laptop, open the wireless connectivity, search for the projector’s ID and then enter the preshared key (both displayed by the projector). Once connected, navigate the browser to http :// and follow the instructions to install the application (this is a one-time task the first time you connect).

To connect a mobile device, can use the EZCast Pro application. On the device’s wireless settings, connect to the projector’s ID, enter the key and then launch EZCast Pro. The application casts whatever is on the mobile device to the projector.

To use the USB wire, connect the provided USB-A cable to your laptop. Select Internal Memory for the input type, then Storage Media. The laptop will detect the projector as if it were an external storage device. Choose the correct install file (Mac or Windows), copy it to the laptop and execute. On the projector, switch the input back to USB Display, and on the laptop, click Find a Projector. Double-click the projector ID and choose Mirror On or Extend to use the device through the USB port.

Dell Mobile Projector M318WL

Resolution: 1280x800 pixels (WXGA)
Light Source: Mercury-free LED, 500 lumens
Ports: HDMI, USB, audio jack
Projection Distance: 3.2 to 8.5 feet, 30- to 80-inch screen size
Dimensions: 4.1x4.1x1.4 inches
Weight: 0.8 pound
Storage: 7GB



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