ViewSonic M1+ review - a capable outdoor projector lacking in smarts

A great way to blow up those movies, shows and videos up on the big screen, we put the ViewSonic M1+ to the test

ViewSonic M1+ being tested in writer's home
(Image credit: Future)
Livingetc Verdict

Though those who want a plug-and-play experience tapped into the streaming era might struggle more with the ViewSonic M1+, it will satisfy those looking to put their entertainment on the biggest screen possible.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    In-built Harman Kardon speakers

  • +

    Useful stand (also acts as lens cover) and carry case included

  • +

    Good connectivity

  • +

    Great battery life

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No in-built smart TV platform

  • -

    Standard definition resolution

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Have you got a collection of DVDs, Blu-rays, and digital files gathering dust, just waiting for you to reawaken that love for your old favorites? A projector is really the perfect way to make these formats fresh and new again, and models like the ViewSonic M1+ allow you to simply connect a DVD player, console, or mobile device and view it on a super-big screen.

The M1+ is also a portable device, meaning it can go with you on trips or just out to the back garden without you worrying about finding a power source. Like the best outdoor projectors, it makes summer evenings in the backyard into movie nights and provides ways to entertain family and friends we you get together.

Keep reading to find out how we got along with the ViewSonic M1+ after testing it out indoors and out.

ViewSonic M1+: Key info

  • Resolution: 480p
  • Brightness: 300 LED lumens (720 ANSI lumens)
  • Contrast ratio: 120,000:1
  • Battery life: up to 6 hours
  • Connectivity: Micro SD, DC In, USB-C, HDMI 1.4, Audio Out, USB, Chromecast, AirPlay

ViewSonic M1+

(Image credit: ViewSonic)

ViewSonic M1+: Design

The design of the M1+ is its best feature, and a lot of thought has clearly gone into making it as portable as possible. Silver and light grey with a red label you need to pull for access to all inputs, the projector's stand also serves as protection for the lens when it's not in use.

This is something we really miss with other outdoor projectors designed to go traveling with you, as there are so many opportunities for accidental scratches and scrapes. As a stand, too, it's just brilliant for getting the image at an acceptable height without messing around. Of course, there is a place on the bottom to attach a tripod, but we never felt the need to do this during testing.

On the back of the projector, you will find the power button, plus and minus controls, and a back button. Our favorite thing here, however, is the LED lights demonstrating how much battery life you have left.

Our projector came with its own fabric cover (pictured below), which really shows off how small and lightweight the device is when folded away. Also in the box are a quick-start guide, remote control, and power lead.

ViewSonic M1+ components side by side in writer's home

(Image credit: Future)

ViewSonic M1+: Performance

Connectivity is a little complicated compared to other competing portable projectors, and there is no Google TV or other simple interface for you to navigate. Instead, you will have to connect an external device to watch content or cast video from your mobile device. The home screen shows you all of these options, or you can go to an app or webpage and hit the cast button.

Keystone correction is automatic and works well to get a straight image, but you will have to manually turn the wheel on the side to get the picture in focus. This was a little tricky to get right, and somewhat irritating to do every time since the dial would get knocked whenever we put it away. 

Physical connectivity is top-notch, with options including MicroSD, HDMI, and USB-C for your tablet, laptop, or external storage devices. There's also a good chunk of onboard storage room if you want to load files onto the device before a trip.

For the money, the M1+ also offers surprisingly good brightness and contrast, even if it's betrayed a little by the 480p standard definition resolution. In contrast, the Nebula Capsule II - which costs slightly more - sports 200 ANSI lumens and has a much shorter battery life at 2-2.5 hrs.

The M1+ comes with in-built Harman Kardon-branded speakers, but we found ourselves reaching for a Bluetooth speaker before long. The audio is perfectly acceptable in a pinch, but it's also very simple to add an external audio device if you want a little more power and clarity. For our top picks, take a look at our guide to the best outdoor speakers.

ViewSonic M1+ on wooden dining table writer's home

(Image credit: Future)

ViewSonic M1+: Our verdict

Those who want a projector to plug their existing devices into will likely love the ViewSonic M1+, but its shortcomings, unfortunately, will take it out of the running for others. For example, the average consumer would prefer a way to watch content on the projector itself rather than connecting a laptop, phone, or games console, and a lack of auto-focus and high-resolution streaming put it behind a lot of competitors.

That said, the projector is one of the better-designed portable options we have come across. It has truly impressive battery life, above-average brightness, and a multipurpose stand, all making it a solid choice for those who aren't bothered with onboard streaming.

Caroline Preece
Smart Homes Ecommerce Editor

Caroline is the smart home ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.