1) Features—Which are useful and which are not?
The unit comes with a remote, carrying case, remote, power cord, VGA cord, quick start guide, and CD with manual in the box. There is an HDMi port,...
Inexpensive, decent conectivity, high def (ish, 720p), 3d capable
Not super bright, some issues with long hdmi cables, narrow IR range for remote, no volume on remote.
1) Features—Which are useful and which are not?
The unit comes with a remote, carrying case, remote, power cord, VGA cord, quick start guide, and CD with manual in the box. There is an HDMi port, VGA port, and an RCA port. I think there might also be an S-Video port. There's an RS-232 port, but it is not functional. We have no use for the 3d at this time, and I doubt we'll ever try it, but it is nice that the ability is there for those who might need it. There are some e-management features available by using the green button on the remote, but the only one even remotely useful for my purposes is the timer, and it's not all that convenient since it resets to 0 each time you power down the unit. It's nice, though, when you are cooking something and want to know when it will be done without going back and forth to the kitchen.
There's also an auto keystone adjustment, but I disabled that because sometimes the image would move between playing a video on the Internet and showing a slide show. It didn't matter as much in the kitchen, but in the living room, the image sometimes would escape the boarder of the screen, so I had to disable and manually set the keystone.
2) Setup—Was placement easy or difficult? Did you adjust the basic picture controls or do a full calibration? What screen size and material did you use with the projector?
We purchased two of these, one for the kitchen/dining area wall, and one for the main living area. In the kitchen, the wall is painted with glossy green paint. There is an adjustment for wall color in the menu, and it works surprisingly well. It's set for green and when the unit is on, the green-ness of the wall almost totally disappears. There is some glare due to the glossy paint, but it isn't horrible. If we used this one more, I would probably paint the wall with flat paint or get a screen. The kitchen unit is laying up side down on a 3/4" slab of oak suspended by 4 small chains / hooks, because I wanted to be able to take it with me for presentations on the road. The included carrying case makes it convenient to grab and go.
The main living room wall was primed and taped off in a 102" 16:9 rectangle while the rest was painted. I figured we could try that instead of purchasing a screen. Turns out the primed wall works fine for us, and saved us several hundred dollars. I mounted it with a generic rosewill mount on a cathedral ceiling. The angle of the wall and ceiling made it difficult to find the proper location and angle. The wall the projector hits is 45 degrees off the rise of the ceiling slope, rather than a normal 90 degrees. I missed the center of the screen by about 2 inches, and I can't fix it because there is only keystone adjustment for vertical angles and not horizontal. (I hope that makes sense). The bottom of the projected image is half an inch higher than the bottom left corner of the screen, while the other three corners are perfectly aligned. *In other words, the projector is not exactly centered to the screen*.
Other than changing the wall color and flipping the image, I haven't done any adjustment or calibration since we just use these for casual viewing and the occasional PowerPoint slide show.
3) User Interface—Are the remote and menu system well designed? Are they easy or difficult to use?
The remote is an IR remote, and the projector has a slot for the remote to slide in. That's handy when traveling with the projector, and it also allows you to use the remote while it's 'docked'. The placement of the IR sensor here allows the remote to work from behind the unit, and a front sensor lets you control it from the front. It doesn't work from the side, though. Also, the power button on the remote is on the bottom, rather than the top like every other remote I own. As a result, for several days I would pick up the remote and point it at myself and wonder why the thing wouldn't turn on.
4) Performance—Brightness, color, black level, shadow detail, motion detail, overall detail, visible artifacts such as banding; cite examples from content you've watched
The performance of this unit is ok for the price and for my purposes. It is bright enough to see, but in the daylight, the picture is washed out. That is partially because we have a 102" viewing size. The main thing we use these for is to watch Netflix. I have a two and four year old, so we get to see Avengers (cartoon), Thomas the Tank Engine, and Dora most of all, and the overall picture is fine. On the main unit, I haven't noticed any issues besides the low black/washed out color. At night, turn down the lights, and it looks great, especially for the price.
In the kitchen, we have seen some jumping and jittering of the image, but I think that is caused by the 70' HDMI run to the unit. It could also have been caused by the computer output we were using. I just changed from an old computer with DVI out *converted to HDMI using a 1x4 HDMI converter* to a newer one with HDMI output, and I didn't notice the jumping, but I also haven't done but one PowerPoint since changing.
I have never seen the rainbow thing on a DLP projector before, so I can not say this one doesn't do that, I can only say that I haven't seen it.