The Dell 5100MP delivers enough brightness to compete with bigger, more expensive projectors. It puts 3,741 lumens onscreen (3,026 in low-power mode), only slightly fewer than the $8,000 Canon LV-7565, which produces 4,428 lumens. Unfortunately, its image quality isn't as good. In our tests, grayscale images showed only 231 of a possible 255 shades of gray. As for color, blues showed a slight shift toward green, and greens had a yellowish cast.
The 5100MP takes nearly a minute to start up and requires 2 minutes to cool down. The lamp is rated at 1,700 hours of use and costs $400 to replace--a price on a par with that of other projector lamps.
The Dell 5100MP comes with a two-year warranty, including Dell's Advanced Exchange service; adding a year costs $90. A full three-year warranty with accident-protection insurance adds $340 to the projector's base price. Most manufacturers offer similar warranties and service for no additional cost. Dell guarantees the lamp for an industry-standard 90 days. Dell's support Web site is quite good, offering downloadable manuals, troubleshooting information, and FAQs. The company's toll-free help desk is open 24 hours a day, and Dell promises to return e-mail messages by the next day.