When it comes to making a big impression in your living space, you can opt for a plasma screen and put up with it dominating the room. Or, you can go for a projector - it’s just as versatile but when you don’t want to use it you don’t have to see it.

So, we come to the latest projector from HP, the mp3135w has been designed with the office in mind but it’s just as usable in the living room.

If you’re looking for a system to use on the move, the 1.7kg weight of this unit is likely to be lighter than your notebook. While most projectors are squat and rather dumpy in appearance, the mp3135w is tall and slim and certainly looks as good as its spec list would suggest.

Powered by DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology, there is a powerful 1800 ANSI lumens lamp running the unit. What this means in real terms is, you won’t need to find a dark room to run this projector, simply dimming the lights will be enough, as it’s bright enough to deal with any situation. Match this alongside its 2000:1 contrast ratio and even if you do end up running the unit with the house lights running, you’ll find that images are sharp and crisp. This is because DLP allows for improved contrast between areas of light and dark but with some chips there is a tendency for colours to break down when fast action is on screen. Luckily, we found this wasn’t the case with this unit, with even multimedia proving excellent.

On the downside, one of the limits of DLP, compared to LCD, is the limited throw-range that it can muster. To combat this, HP has opted for an upright chassis design, so the lens is actually higher. As a result, the mp3135w can throw any image up to 9 metres without image degradation. Feet can be popped out of the bottom of the unit to add stability

If you think about the size of the modern living room, this won’t be a problem as you’ll readily be able to get a 60-inch (diagonal) screen size without too much trouble - considering this against the size of an equally priced plasma and you’re gaining a larger display area.

The setup is kept simple and to a minimum, with a DVI port being the main connection to your laptop. Below this port lie the S-video, video and audio-in ports. The lens is protected from accidental damage by being built into the case. If you need to add ever more functionality to your projector, the Smart Attachment Module (SAM) offers flexibility and ease of use. Slotting into the DVI port on the back of the projector, the unit comes with a PC Card slot in the top, so you can either add 802.11b wireless LAN functionality to the projector, or alternatively, use a PC card memory card to run a presentation straight from the unit. In this way, you’ll be able to keep weight to a minimum by leaving your laptop back in the office.

Price when reviewed:

The HP mp3135w is an excellent all-round projector that can be used on the move by the busy professional or used for home entertainment in the home.