Dell 4350 review

Business beamer or home cinema hero?

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Our Verdict

The Dell 4350 is a good business projector, but its shortcomings in handling detail in the extremes of light and dark scenes mean it's more at home in the boardroom than in the home cinema.

For

  • Bright image
  • Good colours
  • Decent motion clarity

Against

  • Rather expensive
  • Limited setup options
  • Weak detail in the extremes

At first glance the Dell 4350 is every inch the business-oriented beamer – it's the sort of simple, black cuboid aesthetic you'll see in classrooms, meeting rooms and boardrooms across the land. But there are a few key features which make the Dell 4350 projector worth a look for the home cinema setup.

For a start it's a full 1080p projector, able to cope with the current Blu-ray tech to deliver a decent cinematic experience; it will even select the specific Movie Mode when it detects a Blu-ray player has been connected. And, where a lot of business-only projectors stick with the height of a 16:10 aspect ratio, the Dell 4350 offers the cinema standard of 16:9.

Dell 4350

And that DLP engine has a peak luminance of some 4,000 lumens, potentially making the 4350 a good option for displaying the big match in enorm-o-vision up on the wall without you having to effect a complete blackout of your living room.

It also comes with a very neat concealed HDMI compartment, enabling you to permanently plug in your Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick without it protruding too far out of the rear connections.

And those rear connections are pretty plentiful.

As well as the two HDMI 1.4a connections (one in the internal compartment and one on the back panel) there's VGA in and out, composite video, audio in and out, ethernet and two powered USB connections, again split between internal and back panel.

Dell 4350

The variety of connections is one of the Dell 4350's biggest strengths. and one of the reasons why this staid business beamer can actually work out pretty well in the home too.

And sometimes you want your projector's remote control to have a laser pointer built into it, so that you can distract the cats while you're trying to watch a movie, don't you? It ain't all business…

The Dell 4350 also includes a 10W speaker, which speaks more to its boardroom multimedia presentation credentials than it does to its cinematic ambitions. To be fair to it the integrated speaker is very clear, and pretty effective for standard dialogue, but it has little power and no depth.

Pictures

There are, though, a whole lot of options when it comes to adjusting the image quality of the Dell 4350, making the case for it to be an effective home cinema projector.

Sadly, none of those options enabled us to get a perfect picture for movie playback. And setting it up for the best image projection is tricky without image-shifting facilities, meaning you have to rely on the projector's keystoning options to set it up on your screen/wall – and even then it only has vertical keystone options.

Dell 4350

But colours are bright and vibrant when writ large, and on the whole there's a good level of detail to the image. But, while it performs impressively with its powerful peak luminance, the contrast performance isn't so strong.

It manages to deliver pretty effective black levels, but there's very little detail to either generally dark or light areas of a scene. And if you try to bump up the brightness past the default halfway point things become very washed out very quickly.

The Dell 4350 does, though, do a really impressive job of managing moving images. We threw the classic Ip Man up on the wall, and the projector performed admirably when coping with the fast-moving fight scenes.

Dell 4350

We liked

Having that bright lamp is a definite bonus when it comes to daytime viewing. You're not going to be able to watch in full sunlight, but neither are you going to need a complete blackout.

There's a decent level of clarity and detail to images in general too, even when those images are flashing by.

It's also far from the loudest beamer we've ever used. On its standard or dynamic modes the fans can get a little distracting, but shift over to eco mode and you won't really lose out on image fidelity, but you'll certainly notice a drop in noise.

We disliked

However hard it tries, the Dell 4350 is most definitely a business projector that wants to kick back with a movie at the end of the day. And while it's great with presentations, it's not so hot on the video front.

The colours are good, but the contrast levels, most notably in the detail in darker scenes, are actually rather poor.

The 4350 is also a little tricky to set up in the home environment. In the boardroom you'll likely have a projector screen to beam onto, and a straight-on position to project from. That's less likely at home unless you're rocking a living room cinema setup – and if you are then you've probably decided on a better projector than the Dell.

Dell 4350

And the 4350 is a pretty pricey projector if you're aiming it at the home market. At £1,102 it's a lot dearer than some of the better-priced 1080p projectors, such as the BenQ W1070+, and it can't match them for video quality.

Verdict

The Dell 4350 is a decent business beamer with some home cinema pretensions. Unfortunately its bright, vibrant image is far better suited to the boardroom than it is to the home cinema, where it struggles with the finer details of the movie world.