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No great shakes

The NP510w is a good business projector, but a tad pricey.

india Updated: Dec 03, 2010 18:14 IST
Siddharth Basrur

The NEC NP510w is a portable LCD projector. Although it isn’t miniscule, it is meant for presentations and not movies. So all you HD fans can sit this one out; this is for the office guys.

Design
This one’s a glossy white curvy box with intake vents at the front; quite a good-looking piece of equipment. Above the lens, there are 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.

One good thing about this projector is the number of input available. Of course, there’s no HDMI, but you will find DVI, VGA, S-Video and component input options. This means you can connect two computers to it simultaneously as well as switch between them.

They’ve even provided a monitor output and an Ethernet port, which means that you can get yourself connected to the network.

Remote
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. When switched on, only 80 per cent of the brightness is used, which increases your precious lamp’s lifespan, as well as saves power.

The NEC NP510w also has pretty decent 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. We set it up around five metres away from the screen. The first thing we did was play a 720p movie on it, as this is the farthest it can go in terms of playback. I found the colours to be pretty decent, but they weren’t all reproduced accurately. There was also a lot of flickering in the darker shades, which was probably because the refresh rate was set at 60 Hz.

Performance
Next up, we tested it out with a few presentations, where we found that the colours from the images were very nice, but the alphanumeric figures lacked a little in sharpness. But all in all, the NP510w fared pretty well in terms of performance.
Last but not the least, we ran this projector through a series of rigorous DisplayMate tests. It turned out that there were quite a few discrepancies especially with colour reproduction.

We found that it excelled on counts of flicker, screen uniformity, colour scale and streaking and ghosting test. However, it failed miserably in tests such as fine line moiré pattern, defocusing, blooming and halos, pixel tracking and timing lock. Out of a total score of 70 points, the NP510w scraped through through with an average score of 35.

One of the major discrepancies faced during the DisplayMate test — monitor screen versus projector.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 the 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.