One of my favorite weekend activities when I’m home is watching sports, movies or playing video games in the backyard with the magic of a projector. As the weather begins to cool, the movie nights aren’t as frequent, but the projector becomes a holiday helper when it comes to projecting spooky visuals for Halloween decor, or playing holiday movies at family gatherings like Christmas.
As fall approaches, one of my favorite activities is setting up for Halloween season, and a projector has been part of that for the past 6 years or so. I would set up a projector on a projection screen outdoors to play scary movies or family favorites, and to also project Halloween themed digital decorations from AtmosFX.
The last few years I was using an entry level 1080p lamp powered projector, and although it got the job done, I was always wondering what the next level of quality might be like.
I found out when I was able to test out the ultra-portable ViewSonic M2 projector for a few weeks, which was a game changer for my family and me. It’s one of the best portable projectors you can get at the moment within its price range, and there’s a few reasons for it.
From the feature rich options to the wire-free portability and style, the ViewSonic M2 brings the power and visual quality of the best home projectors, and adds in the ability to entertain within minutes, and essentially anywhere you can find a wall or screen.
The added Wi-Fi capabilities, downloadable streaming apps and ability to connect to media by various different methods, create a powerful, compact entertainment hub.
Setup & First Impressions
When first opening up the really nice packaging of the ViewSonic M2, you are met with a neatly packed device and accessories. It feels more like opening a luxury tech item like an iPhone or high-end laptop than a “tool” like a projector.
The projector’s look is very nice, with a metallic look on the edges most closely resembling a mix of rose gold and copper with a matte black finish complementing it. It’s also light, with a weight of less than 3 pounds. Along with this, it has a small footprint, being a little shorter than a sheet of printer paper and just as wide.
A kickstand on the base can adjust the angle of the projector, but for my use I would suggest a tripod which can easily thread into the standard mount, also located at the base. This also allows for the projector to be placed anywhere where there may not be a stand or tall surface for it to sit.
The remote, power cord, USB-C cord and a slim, gray case round out the accessories for the projector. The case is great because it fits the projector, its included accessories and extra cords while keeping a small profile.
The projector contains a ton of connectivity options, from USB-C, HDMI, regular USB, Micro SD and a Wi-Fi dongle that comes included.
While first setting up you will have the option to download the ViewSonic Projector vRemote app on iOS or Android, which allows you to control some aspects of the M2, including power and setup options for connecting to Alexa and Google Home voice assistants.
The software for this app is clunky on Android and once I set my account up, I didn’t really touch it much after that, as the physical remote is great to handle anything you’d want to do with the projector. Once you’re set up on the Wi-Fi you have the option to download from a limited number of streaming apps, including Netflix, Spotify and Twitch.
I went ahead and plugged in my Google Chromecast to the HDMI port, since I already have all my streaming apps connected to that device and use the Google Home ecosystem. That worked the best for my needs, but in a situation where Wi-Fi is not available, one of the other options would work.
To get this out of the way, this projector is really good. The crisp picture is possible because of the native 1080p full HD resolution, which is due to the Cinema SuperColor+™ Technology that provides really bright colors and HDR functionality for vivid colors for a projector in its price range.
Powering on is a breeze, and takes very little time to boot up, about as fast as a modern smart TV. Moving through the functions of the projector is also fairly quick, as its processor can manage switching from different source inputs with ease. Playback from things like USB sticks is also seamless, and in one situation I was able to run a slideshow video off a USB stick at a birthday event which was clear and replayed easily on a 100-inch area of a blank venue wall.
And lastly regarding video options, the screen casting feature lets you use it as a type of Chromecast system, and the couple of apps I did try like Hulu, YouTube and OneDrive video files worked as advertised.
The sound from the dual integrated Harman Kardon speakers provide clear sound even though it’s in a small enclosure, and proves once again that even the smallest projectors can provide adequate sound. Trying it with movies, video games and music provided a good range of clarity and scale.
If you wanted to go even bigger with your sound and add more bass to your entertainment, you have the option of going with the 3.5mm auxiliary jack, or Bluetooth connection to use your own sound systems or headphones.
Overall, the ViewSonic M2 projector provides 1200 LED lumens of great performance in a tiny package. With 30,000 hours of LED life, which is about 4 hours of continuous use per day for more than 20 years, that’s a lot of movies to get through.
Portability and Final Thoughts
One of the most unique features of the ViewSonic M2 is the ability to be powered by a portable battery via USB-C. This removes the need to even be near a power source in order to use the projector.
In my experience, a power bank I already own was able to power the projector for about 2.5 hours watching a Disney+ movie through my Google Chromecast. My power bank is an 80W 26,800 mAh capacity model. For anyone trying this method, the power bank will need to be at least 45W (15V/3A), and support the Power Delivery (PD) protocol.
For me this was a game changer because it allows for a very easy, nearly cordless setup anywhere, besides the cords for the portable battery and anything else you would want to plug in like an inline 3.5mm auxiliary cord for audio or an external HDMI device.
As previously mentioned, I’m a Halloween fan, so just as September arrives, I have already tested out various digital files from the digital decoration company AtmosFX through the USB method to project on walls, windows and garages, with only the power bank and a tripod.
The ViewSonic M2 blows my last projectors ease of use and overall picture quality out of the water, and the sound of rattling chains, or creepy singing pumpkin projections are crisp and delightful to see on a wall.
Halloween is going to be an easy, fun time this year thanks to the ViewSonic M2.