NEC NP-PE401H DLP Multimedia Projector Review

Appearance

The NP-PE401H comes in an attractive white plastic case.  The lens is recessed in the front panel just to the right of center and is protected by a sliding cover that also doubles as a video and audio mute.  To the right of the lens is an IR receiving eye and to the left (on the front, left corner) is an air exhaust vent.  There is one adjustable foot in the center to adjust the front height and, thankfully, both rear corner feet are adjustable.  This really helps to level the projector and avoid using keystone correction.

On top of the projector, right behind the lens, are recessed rings for zoom and focus.  In the middle, toward the rear, are two circular groupings of controls.  In the first group are the Menu, Menu navigation, Enter and Exit buttons.  The left and right menu navigation buttons double as adjustment buttons for the volume of the built-in speakers.  The up and down menu navigation buttons double as keystone correction adjustment.  In the second group are indicators for Power (part of the power On/Off button), Lamp replacement and a Status light for overheating.  There are also buttons for Eco mode, Source and Auto Adjustment.  To the left of the control panel is the cover for access to the lamp. Having the cover on top of the NP-PE401H allows for easy access even if the projector is ceiling mounted.  The screw to release the cover is on the top left side of the projector.  Moving to the right (facing the front) side of the projector, there is an air intake port that is also the cover to the air filter.  Right next to it is one of the two built-in speakers.  On the left side of the projector is a large air exhaust vent, the second speaker and a Kensington lock port.

Moving to the rear panel, there is an IR receiving eye right in the middle on the top edge.  The NP-PE401H also features a nice assortment of connections for video and audio.  Starting from the left side, there is the power cord connector on the bottom.  Then, moving across the top from left to right, there is an RJ-45 LAN port, a Type B USB service port, two HDMI inputs, VGA computer input and monitor output, S-video and composite video inputs, stereo RCA inputs, 1/8” stereo input and output jacks, a Type A USB input for future use and an RS-232 control port.  Finally, The NP-PE401H comes with a plastic cover that can be attached to the rear of the projector to hide the various connecting cables when permanently mounted.

NEC NP-PE401H Setup and Menu

The NEC NP-PE401H was easy to setup and start using.  It features nearly instant on (and off), so you quickly have an image to adjust to your screen.  In addition to the usual front, center height adjustment, the NP-PE401H has height adjustment feet in each rear corner, so you can optimize the image before applying any correction (if needed).  This allows you to quickly level the projector and square it with the screen.  The 1.7X zoom also gives more leeway in the distance the projector must be from the screen.  Once you get the positioning close, you can use the manual keystone correction to square the image to your screen.  While we usually don’t recommend using any keystone correction due to image distortion, small to moderate amounts of correction have no visible effect on the NP-PE401H.

Once setup is complete, the user brings up the menu, where the desired image mode can be selected.  There are six main preprogrammed modes (High Bright, Video, Movie, sRGB, Blackboard and Presentation) and two User modes.  There is also a Wall Color Correction setting (Off by default) that can be set to one of six colors.  With any mode, you can make the usual adjustments for Contrast, Brightness and Sharpness.  Adjustments to Color and Tint are not available with an HDMI RGB input.  The NP-PE401H also includes a range of selectable gamma and color temperatures, as well as RGBCMY color adjustment capability.

As evidenced by its built-in, stereo 8-watt/channel speakers, the NEC NP-PE401H’s is designed for presentations with sound.  It has multiple audio inputs and if you would need an external audio system for a larger room, there is an audio output jack.

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NEC NP-PE401H Setup and Menu Slideshow

NEC NP-PE401H Setup and Menu

Image General Menu

NEC NP-PE401H Setup and Menu

Image Advanced Menu

NEC NP-PE401H Setup and Menu

Color Menu

NEC NP-PE401H Remote Control

The NP-PE401H’s remote control is a small, nicely laid-out, white remote with mostly gray buttons.  Remotes in this category seldom have backlighting and the PE401H’s remote is no exception.  In order to make the important buttons stand out, NEC has used different colors for these buttons.  The Power button has a green icon on it and there are separate green buttons for putting the lamp into Eco mode and for AV mute.  Menu, Exit and navigation buttons are blue.  This makes it easy to access these often used buttons in minimal lighting without resorting to backlighting, which can be distracting during presentations.

Buttons are appropriately grouped and allow access of many of the important functions without going to the menu.  For example, while many projector remotes allow for scrolling through the various inputs, the NP-PE401H remote allows the user to individually selecting each video input.  There are also buttons for paging through a presentation and for the remote to act as a computer mouse.  Also, scrolling through Picture modes and switching aspect ratios can be performed on the remote.  There are also buttons for Auto Adjustment, image freezing, audio volume, digital zoom, help and keystone correction

Overall, the level of access and control available with the NP-PE401H remote is very good and exceeds that of many competitors.

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