ViewSonic M1+ portable projector review
What campervan is truly complete without its own mini cinema?! Although not technically an ‘essential’, we love being able to watch movies on a big screen when it’s rainy and cold outside. We didn’t want to include a TV in our van build as we thought it would feel invasive, but a projector is perfect as you can pop it in a cupboard when it’s not in use! Plus, a little portable projector is much more lightweight than a bulky TV screen.
We were lucky enough to receive a ViewSonic M1+ portable projector recently, and we’ve spent a couple of months testing it out in our campervan.
The ViewSonic M1+ is a smart LED portable projector. You can connect to the projector easily using either HDMI, USB-C, or wirelessly via WiFi. The 6 hour battery life means you can watch movies without interruption. The projector has 12GB of internal memory so you can save content directly to the device. A built-in app store lets you stream Netflix, Spotify and a range of streaming and catch up services directly from the projector.
The ViewSonic M1+ has a built in Harman Kardon speaker, and it’s possible to connect to the projector via Bluetooth and use it solely as a speaker. A built in metal stand supports the projector in a number of angled positions, and doubles as a lens cover to protect the lens when not in use. The M1+ is 15x12cm and weights only 700g, making it super compact and perfect for van life.
Connectivity & controls
The ViewSonic M1+ has a number of connectivity options available. Firstly, you can connect to a phone, tablet or laptop using a HDMI or USB-C cable. To connect to an iPhone, you will need to purchase a HDMI and USB-C AV cable adapter.
Alternatively, you can connect wirelessly to a phone. Both devices will need to be connected to the same WiFi network. Once connect, you can use screen mirroring to mirror your phone screen to the projector. This is a great option for watching back footage you have filmed on your phone. But when you’re living in a campervan, you might not always have perfect WiFi signal. Luckily, the device has 12GB of built-in storage, and ports allowing you to connect a USB stick and a micro SD card.
If you’re connected to WiFi, you can use the built in app functionality to access a number of streaming services. Connect to the M1+ projector’s app store to download Netflix, Spotify, Prime Video…the list goes on! Once downloaded, you can log into your account and easily stream directly from the projector. We really love this feature as it really improves the ease of use and avoids the extra step of connecting to a phone or laptop each time you want to use the projector. The ViewSonic M1+ comes with a little remote that makes it easy to navigate the projector’s interface.
We typically use the built-in apps whenever we are connected to WiFi. When we’re out in the sticks with less signal, we make sure to download movies and series onto a micro-SD. This means we can watch whatever we fancy, even when we don’t have access to WiFi.
The ViewSonic M1+ projectors native resolution is 480p, but it supports full HD 1080p. We found that in a campervan setting, where it’s very unlikely that your screen size will be much larger than 50″, the picture quality is high quality and un-pixelated. It uses a 300 lumens LED and automatically adjusts the projected image to be proportioned correctly at every angle. You can use the M1+ projector from a distance of 0.64m and up to 2.66m from a screen, and it can project an image up to 100″.
We sit the projector on our slide out table and use a 50″ projector screen. This fits perfectly between our overhead storage cupboards and the other side of the van. We were impressed by the brightness and the quality of the picture when using it in a dark van. Of course when using the projector in a daylight setting, the image is slightly washed out, but this would be expected from most projectors. In a dark van (very easy to achieve with some thermal blinds!) the picture quality is great.
Something that sets the ViewSonic M1+ apart from many other portable projectors is its powerful Harman Kardon speakers. The audio quality is impressive for a built-in speaker, and we’ve never felt the need to connect an external speaker because of this. It has a great volume range and decent bass.
It’s possible to connect to the M1+ via Bluetooth to use it as a standalone speaker. When using it in this mode, the projector functionality will automatically turn off. However, it’s worth noting that the Bluetooth mode only works for audio playback (i.e. it’s not possible to cast video via Bluetooth).
The ViewSonic M1+ has a tripod screw socket in its base, allowing you to mount it wherever you fancy. This is a great feature for a campervan setting, as it means you could attach a screw to your ceiling to mount the tripod to. We haven’t had to use this feature as our slide out table is the perfect distance from our projector screen, but for others this could be a great option.
The ViewSonic M1+ portable projector is our new favourite van life gadget. When it’s raining and cold outside, the M1+ allows you to create an epic mini cinema in your campervan. We mainly used the built-in streaming apps when we had good WiFi signal. But when staying anywhere with less reliable signal, we loaded up a micro-SD card with our favourite films so we could keep watching while we were offline.
The small size and light weight paired with its plethora of connectivity options and high quality picture and sound make this impressive little projector the perfect companion for van life travels!
Where to buy the ViewSonic M1+ portable projector
You can buy the ViewSonic M1+ on Amazon. If you use the link below we will get a small affiliate commission if you make a purchase: