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Dell 5100MP Projector review:

Dell 5100MP Projector

Unlike the Sanyo PLC-XP56, the Dell 5100MP has a LAN module built in. The 5100MP can use a static IP address or one assigned by a server, and you can monitor and control it from any connected computer. Once you have it networked, you can turn it on or off and adjust its projection mode, video source, and a slew of other settings. If it starts to overheat or the lamp goes bad, it will send an e-mail alert. Its one failing is that it can't project images from a network source, as the more expensive Canon LV-7565 and Sanyo PLC-XP56 can.

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.

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