We put the 2400MP through its paces and found it to be the top gun in the budget projector class. It projected 3,208 ANSI lumens--25 percent more than the HP mp3320. In fact, the 2400mp matched the brightness levels of much more expensive (and much larger) network projectors, such as the Sony VPL-PX41. Even in low-power Eco mode, the Dell 2400MP pumped out 2,765 lumens--more than most budget projectors in full-power mode. At all times, type looked sharp, well formed, and very readable. Presenters who like to work with the lights on will love the 2400MP's 665:1 contrast ratio, which is outdone only by the much more expensive Dell 5100MP. However, the Dell 2400MP has a few minor flaws: its 65 percent brightness uniformity is only average, we noticed a slight flicker in parts of the grayscale, and the color palette leaned toward yellow.
Starting up the projector was a bit slow: It took 30 seconds to put an image onscreen and another 2 minutes to get to full brightness, and another 2 minutes to cool down (an eternity next to the HP mp3320's 16-second cooldown). The Dell 2400MP's loud fan doesn't prevent the projector from getting hot; its exhaust temperature topped 280 degrees Fahrenheit (we consider anything over 150 degrees too hot). It's not quite a fire hazard, but it could definitely warm a cup of coffee.
Once it's cooled down, changing the 260-watt lamp takes about 2 minutes; the $400 replacement lamp is rated to last 2,000 hours, which makes for a fairly expensive maintenance cost of 20 cents per hour of use.
The Dell 2400MP comes with a standard one-year warranty and the lamp is covered for only 90 days. Adding extra coverage costs $169 for three years, $299 for four years, and $279 for five years. Dell features international support with points of contact everywhere from Anguilla to Venezuela and a Web site with self-help tools for troubleshooting, setting up, and downloading manuals. Dell's toll-free support line is open 24/7, and the company promises next-day response to e-mail.