ViewSonic Viewdock PJ258D Review

We have to admit to being sceptical of the ViewSonic Viewdock, mainly because the quality of the iPod video projected to a large screen gives rise to concern. But during testing, both the ViewSonic projector and the iPod delivered in spades. The projected video image is exceptionally bright and sharp (ViewSonic is claiming 2,000 lumens for the PJ258D), and the use of Texas Instruments’ DLP technology (www.dlp.com) helps to ensure a crisp image. With the iPod now delivering 640 x 480 video resolution, it easily matches the DVD quality of a high-end television.

The projector can be connected to a variety of devices in more conventional manner (VGA and S-Video), and ViewSonic states that it supports both 720p and 1080i high-definition formats. However, it also has a listed maximum resolution of 1024 x 768 (XGA Native), well below the resolution of both formats. The ability to connect the PJ258D to a computer ensures that it isn’t just a one-trick iPod pony, and ViewSonic admirably includes a wide variety of cables in the box.

The quality of the sound, however, is a different matter. Not only does the PJ258D’s speaker sound quiet and crackly, but it also fails to compete with its noisy fan. If you want to use this to watch movies at home, then connecting a set of decent speakers will be crucial, although the audio outputs ensure that this is simple.

ViewSonic appears to be pushing the projector’s suitability for the business professional on the go. There are some nice touches in this respect, such as the remote control’s built-in laser pointer. The device is also suitably portable, weighing just 1.8kg and coming with a decent carry case. We’re not convinced that the iPod itself is suitable for playing presentations, but it is good for photo playback. So in some respects the device bridges the gap between the corporate and home user.

OUR VERDICT

Despite having our reservations about this device (the addition of a dock to a projector seemed gimmicky), we have to concede that it’s a success. The PJ258D is a stylish device that matches an iPod nicely and produces great video quality. It also hooks up to a variety of other devices like a regular projector. Our only reservation is with regards to the poor sound quality.

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