“I couldn’t believe how great this product when I got it. The picture and sound quality are above and beyond for the proce.“
October 25, 2017: I didn’t edit this testimonial from Gadgets Catalog’s web page about their 1080P Mini Portable HD LCD Projector that has two grammatical errors I know of. Contact information:
Web site: Gadgets Catalog
Address: 11081 Madrigal St, San Diego, California USA 92129
There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.
Ridiculous claims: -1
- The projector’s claimed image size seems exaggerated; see “Lying and Deception” below.
- The claim of a 50% discount is bogus. Gadgets Catalog is really offering the projector at about twice the going rate. See “Overpriced” below.
Suspicious location: +1. It’s not suspicious. “11081 Madrigal St, San Diego, CA” is somebody’s house. I only found one other business using this address; a catering service.
Onerous terms: -1.
- Gadgets Catalog estimates delivery time at 2 to 5 weeks (35 days.). But the return policy is for 30 days from the date of purchase (not from the date you received your projector).
- If you use your projector, you can’t return it.
- The projector is on sale for 50% off. Note that you can’t return an item that’s discounted.
- You have to pay the shipping to return the projector.
- They don’t guarantee that their products will meet your expectations; nor that anything they say is true.
Ads, spam, robocalls: +1. You can opt-in to receive emailed advertising, and opt-out.
Lying and deception: -1. “ … turns your living room into a full-blown home theater with an image up to 220 inches diagonally!” That’s a claimed image width of over 18 diagonal feet, worthy of a theater indeed. Further down, it looks to me like Gadgets Catalog whittles down the claimed image size to 5 or 5.6 feet. They did it indirectly and in an equivocal way; see “The amazing shrinking image size” at the end of this post.
Obfuscation: +1. None found (tho the image size business is confusing).
Phony reviews: -1. I see lots of on-site testimonials. Usually I ignore them because I can’t verify the writers. But here, several are written in similarly broken English; that stinks. I didn’t find any external reviews.
Crummy product: 0. 53 Amazon customers rated the same projector an average of 3.3 stars. Opinions varied: “Poor quality. Did not project very well. Terrible focus. Returned this item.” “Very good picture, but hard to read captions. Easy to use in the dark and very useful to carry with you.”
Overpriced: -1. Gadgets Catalog is asking $80 for one projector. Amazon offers the same projector for $42.
Bad service: +1. They responded promptly to a “customer question” that I sent them.
Total score; -1
Unauthorized charges: Gadgets Catalog is unknown to the Better Business Bureau, and I’ve found no complaints about them elsewhere. They delete your credit card data when the transaction is complete. Gadgets Catalog doesn’t accept PayPal.
Conclusion: Why pay twice as much? Also this projector doesn’t look very good. Rather than gamble $80, I suggest paying more for a device that’s more likely to meet your needs.
- Does the projector have a speaker? I don’t see one, and speakers aren’t mentioned on the web site.
- Playing virtual baseball, upside-down?
The amazing shrinking image size
In the Specifications section of the Gadgets Catalog web page about the projector, I read: Projection Distance: 0.8-2M
All of a sudden we’ve jumped to the metric system. Is this just to confuse Americans? (I suppose everybody else was confused by the non-metric measures.) 2 meters is about 78 inches or 6.5 feet. If the projector can only be six and a half feet from a flat wall, the edge distortion of its 18-foot-diagonal image must be considerable.
Then I read: Projected Dimension: 30-60inch. What does this mean?
- If it’s “Between 30 and, at most, 60 inches” then it’s describing the projected image with a single dimension. Since we’ve been talking about the image’s diagonal measure up to now, let’s assume we still are. But 60 inches is way smaller than 220 inches. Suddenly we’re talking about a 5-foot-diagonal image instead of 18 feet.
- If it’s “30 inches high by 60 inches wide” then it’s describing the projected image with two dimensions, and we’ve stopped talking about its diagonal measure. Is this just to confuse people? The Pythagorean theorem lets us calculate the diagonal measure of the picture. Skip the following if you grok Pythagoras:
Imagine the rectangular image split in half by a diagonal line between two corners. That line makes the rectangle a pair of right-angled triangles. We only care about one triangle, because what we want to know is the length of their common side — the diagonal measure of the image. Pythagoras’ formula is:
A^2 + B^2 = C^2 … where C is the side opposite the right angle. Side C is the diagonal measure of the image.
30^2 + 60^2 = C^2
900 + 3600 = C^2 = 4500
C = 67 inches = 5.6 feet
5.6 feet is slightly large than the first interpretation. It’s still way short of 18 feet. My guess is that you can get a faint 18-foot-diagonal image or a distorted 5-foot-diagonal image, your choice.