The NEC NP510w is a portable LCD projector, and although it is not quite miniscule in size, they do provide you with a carry bag (yes, read into the sarcasm). This is a projector that is meant for making presentations and not for watching movies, so all you hardcore HD freaks can sit this one out. But if you do love MS PowerPoint and Excel, read on!
Design and Features
As the title clearly indicates, it’s a glossy white curvy box with intake vents at the front; quite a good-looking piece of equipment. Above the lens, you will find the manual focus and zoom adjustment controls. There are quite a few buttons on top of the projector for adjusting settings, navigation, volume control, etc. There also is an auto adjustment button, which calibrates the keystone and focus according to the distance. But you might want to adjust these settings manually, and the reason will be revealed in a bit.
One great thing about this projector is the number of input options available. Of course, there’s no HDMI (back off you HD lovers), but you will find DVI, VGA, S Video and component input options. Of course, this means you can connect two computers simultaneously, as well as switch between them using the remote. They’ve even provided a monitor output, so you can connect a monitor and save yourself some awkwardness while making your presentations. Oh yes, and there’s an Ethernet port as well, which means that you can also get yourself connected to the network. So now, you can just get those friendly system administrators to hook it up, and you’re ready to go.
The remote is fairly easy to use and has some nifty shortcuts, such as allowing you to switch between sources. Since this is an eco-friendly product, the remote also has an ‘Eco Mode’ button. Only 80% of the brightness is used with the Eco Mode on, which increases your precious lamp’s lifespan, as well as saves on power.
The NEC NP510w also has pretty OK audio capabilities, with its single mono, built in 7-watt speaker. However, if you want better sound, you can always get external speakers to hook up via the 3.5 mm jack.
The NP510w is fairly easy to use, and I had set the projector up around 5 meters away from the screen. The first thing I did was play a 720p movie on it, as this is the farthest it can go in terms of playback. It does do 1080i, but who’s counting that, right? I found the colours to be pretty decent, but weren’t reproduced accurately, as I was simultaneously watching it on another screen. I also noticed a lot of flickering in the darker shades, which was probably because the refresh rate was set at 60 Hz.
Next up, I tested it out with a few presentations, where I found that the colours from the images were very nice, but the alphanumeric figures lacked a little in the area of sharpness. But all in all, the NP510w fared pretty well.
Last but not least, I ran this projector through a series of rigorous DisplayMate tests. It turned out that there were quite a few discrepancies especially with colour reproduction. I found that it excelled in areas such as the flicker, screen uniformity, colour scale and Streaking and Ghosting test. However, it failed miserably in tests like fine line moiré pattern, Defocusing, Blooming & Halos, Pixel Tracking & Timing Lock. Out of a total score of 70 points, the NP510w scraped through with an average score of 35.
All this testing was done with default settings, and when we played around with the brightness, contrast and sharpness, things started looking up for the NP510w. In fact, there was a major jump in the numbers when it came to actually adjusting it to right settings. This just goes to show that a layman who doesn’t know too much about settings will not get optimal results, and this is not a very good sign.
This is an average projector that is priced pretty high at Rs. 58,335, and I give this projector a 3 star rating. Points have been cut for price, average video playback and the fact that it didn't do so well with the DisplayMate tests. I’d recommend it for ease of use, and its performance with presentations. It also looks nice enough, and has quite a few options where connectivity and setting adjustments are concerned. But the bottom line is that this projector is definitely not worth the price you are paying for it
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