With its Smart Attachment Module in place, the HP mp3135w offers an amazing combination of features and portability. In particular, its networking capabilities are without equal, enabling remote monitoring and image broadcasting via both wired and wireless LANs. It is marred only by less-than-expected brightness, a one-year warranty, and troublesome software.
The smallest and most capable projector we've seen, the HP mp3135w can display full presentations from a network--an improvement over the Canon LV-7565, which can display only converted images, and the Hitachi CP-X443, which can be monitored only over a network. Our overall admiration for the mp3135w was marred only by less-than-optimal brightness, a few software glitches, and a short warranty period.
The white-and-gray mp3135w's unique vertical design gives it a space-age look, as do the wings that pop out of the bottom of the projector to make it more stable. Its 3.8-pound weight and hardcover book-size dimensions (2.9 by 9 by 7.8 inches) make it eminently portable. A Smart Attachment Module, which comes standard with the mp3135w, snaps onto the back, adding 3 ounces of weight, 2 inches of depth, and USB ports, a networking port, and a slot for a wireless networking card.
Built around a compact DLP imaging engine, the mp3135w uses a 180W lamp. It has an XGA native resolution and can support resolutions up to SXGA.
At the very top of the projector is a small but complete set of buttons for navigating the onscreen menu. The remote control duplicates the controls on the projector and incorporates a laser pointer and PowerPoint navigation buttons--it's one of the best remotes we've seen for presentations.
Without the attachment module, the projector offers a basic assortment of connections: USB, S-Video, composite video, and audio jacks. The module adds two USB ports: an RJ-45 LAN connector and a CompactFlash socket for memory cards or the 802.11b wireless LAN card that comes with the projector. The assortment of included cables is rather spartan--HP throws in just one long, 10-foot AC cable and a combination RGB and USB cable.
The mp3135w supports both wireless and wired connections. To control or monitor the projector via a network, just connect it to your LAN and note the projector's IP address from its onscreen menu. The mp3135w can send out e-mail alerts for seven emergency conditions, ranging from an inoperative lamp to a high ambient temperature.
To display images or presentations from a network, you'll first need to install HP's Wireless Presenter-to-Go software (you can get it on HP's Web site). HP says this program can send images via a LAN to the projector from a PC or a handheld and that it can store a presentation on a memory card or a USB flash drive for a PC-less presentation. In our tests, we could not get it to work on a Windows 2000 notebook or a Windows Mobile handheld, and it took us two attempts to install and run the software on a Windows XP desktop. Once we resolved the software glitches, however, we were pleased with its performance. Unlike other image-capable networked projectors, such as the Canon LV-7565 or the Sanyo PLC-XP56, the mp3135w does not need to convert a PowerPoint file into a series of JPEGs or set up an FTP server--it will display the full presentation, including transitions and animations.
In our brightness test, the mp3135 delivered 1,370 lumens--enough for a typical conference room but far less than the 4,400 lumens cast by the much heavier Canon LV-7565. In our contrast tests, however, the mp3135w stood up quite well against the larger competition. Its 337:1 contrast ratio outscored all of the other network projectors we tested except the amazing Dell 5100MP. The mp3135w showed mixed results in our color accuracy test: reds and blues were right where they should be, but greens shifted significantly to yellow.
This tiny projector turns on and off quickly. It warmed up in just 32 seconds and shut down in only 16 seconds. Also, its lamp is relatively easy to replace, and though a replacement bulb will cost $499--about $100 more than other bulbs--it should last 2,000 hours at its standard setting or 3,000 hours in low-power mode.
The HP mp3135 projector without the networking option sells for $2,299; the HP mp3135w, featuring wired and wireless networking, sells for $2,599. Both versions include a one-year limited hardware warranty that can be expanded to a three-year warranty with next-business-day exchange service for $229.99--most companies offer a three-year warranty at no extra cost. HP also provides 24/7 toll-free phone support. On its Web site, the company offers downloadable software, drivers, and user manuals, along with e-mail technical support.