WXGA (1,280-by-800) resolution. 4,500-lumen rating is suitable for a midsize to large room. Substantial vertical and horizontal lens shift. 1.7x zoom lens.
Colors in brightest mode are a little dark in terms of a hue-saturation-brightness color model.
- Bottom Line
The NEC Display Solutions NP-P452W data projector delivers a bright image for a midsize to large room, with setup conveniences that include a 1.7x zoom and a substantial vertical and horizontal lens shift.
The NEC Display Solutions NP-P452W ($1,849) offers a bright image that can stand up to ambient light in a midsize to large room, WXGA (1,280-by-800) resolution, and lots of flexibility for where you can put the projector relative to the screen, thanks to its 1.7x zoom lens and both vertical and horizontal lens shift. Add in quality for data images that's excellent in most ways, plus video that most people will consider at least watchable, and it's a better-than-average choice if you need a WXGA projector for permanent installation.
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Better than average or not, the P452W is up against some stiff competition, including the Epson PowerLite 1975W WXGA Wireless 3LCD Multimedia Projector, our Editors' Choice WXGA model for a midsize to large conference room or classroom, and, to a lesser extent, the Sony VPL-EW345 that I recently reviewed.
Both the Epson and Sony models are built around three-chip LCD engines, compared with a single-chip DLP engine for the P452W. The three-chip engine guarantees that they're free of rainbow artifacts (red-green-blue flashes) and also gives them an advantage for brightness. The P452W has the advantage over the LCD models of being the only one of the three that offers 3D support. However, few data-projector applications need 3D, so for most people, that won't matter. It's also the only one of the three that offers lens shift, which will be of more use to more people.
As always with DLP projectors, brightness comparisons with other models are a little complicated. Three-chip LCD projectors have the same value for color and white brightness. With single-chip DLP models like the P452W, however, the color brightness is lower than the white brightness.
The difference between the two brightness levels means that full-color images won't be as bright with the P452W as you would expect from the white brightness. It also means that even though the Sony VPL-EW345 has a lower rating than the P452W for white brightness, it may or may not have lower color brightness as well. On the other hand, the Epson 1975W's brightness rating is a bit higher than what the P452W offers, which means its color brightness is higher, too. (For more on the topic, see Color Brightness: What It Is, Why It Matters.)
Strictly as a point of reference, according to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommendations, the P452W's 4,500-lumen rating should make it bright enough in theater-dark lighting with a 1.0-gain screen for a 256- to 346-inch image (measured diagonally) at the projector's native 16:10 aspect ratio. With moderate ambient light, the appropriate size drops to 169 to 189 inches. For smaller screen sizes, you can lower the brightness level by using one of the projector's two Eco lamp modes, one of its lower-brightness predefined modes, or both.
The P452W is built on the same platform as the NEC Display Solutions NP-P452H, which means it shares the same size and weight—making it most appropriate for permanent installation or room-to-room portability on a cart—as well as the same set of ports, the same 20-watt speaker, and the same lensing system, with a 1.7x zoom lens and essentially the same vertical and horizontal lens shift. For details on all of these issues, as well as setup in general, see my review of the NEC Display Solutions NP-P452H.
One minor setup difference between the two is a slight variance in lens shift, despite the identical lensing system, because the NEC P452H has a 16:9 aspect ratio rather than the NEC P452W's 16:10 aspect ratio. I measured the vertical shift for the P452H at plus or minus 49 percent of the image height from the midpoint setting, and the horizontal shift at plus or minus 38 percent. Both values are significantly different from the values that NEC shows on its website, with my measurements higher in both cases.
The P452W's image quality for data is excellent overall, despite some minor issues with color quality. On our standard suite of DisplayMate tests, yellow was a little dark in terms of a hue-saturation-brightness color model with most preset modes, but that's expected for a projector with a lower color than white brightness.
Less common is that in some modes, most of the colors look dark. However, color is well saturated in most modes, and suitably vibrant in some, so you can get high-quality color simply by choosing a preset mode with good quality. Color balance was excellent in most modes in our tests, with suitably neutral grays at all levels from white to black.
More important for most data images is that the P452W does a good job holding detail. White text on black was highly readable at sizes as small as 9 points in my tests, and black text on white was crisp and readable at sizes as small as 6.8 points.
Rainbow artifacts are a non-issue for data images. The only time I saw any in my data tests was with one image that's designed to bring them out. Even then, I had to rapidly shift my gaze back and forth to see them. They showed more often with video, but in my tests they showed frequently enough to be potentially annoying only with a black-and-white test clip. As long as you don't mind seeing an occasional rainbow artifact, you shouldn't find them bothersome for most video, even if you see these artifacts easily.
The video quality is necessarily limited by the resolution. Beyond that, I also saw a hint of posterization (shading changing suddenly where it should change gradually) in the most demanding scenes in our video test clips, and I also saw some moderately obvious noise in some clips. Although the quality is well below what you'd expect from, say, a home-entertainment projector, however, it's generally watchable.
For video that's guaranteed rainbow free, be sure to consider the LCD-based Sony VPL-EW345 and the Epson 1975W. Both models also offer matching color and white brightness, which helps both the color quality and the brightness of color images. That said, rainbow artifacts are simply not an issue for data images with the NEC Display Solutions NP-P452W and not much of an issue for video. Beyond that, the P452W is bright enough for a large room, and its vertical and horizontal lens shift delivers significant flexibility for setup.
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By M. David Stone Lead Analyst Printers, Scanners & Projectors
M. David Stone is an award-winning freelance writer and computer industry consultant. Although a confirmed generalist, with writing credits on subjects as varied as ape language experiments, politics, quantum physics, and an overview of a top company in the gaming industry. David is also an expert in imaging technologies (including printers, monitors, large-screen displays, projectors, scanners, and digital cameras), storage (both magnetic and optical), and word processing. He is a recognized expert on printers, well known within the industry, and has been a judge for… More »
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