NEC U310W Interactive Projector Review
NEC U310W Appearance
The appearance of the NEC U310W is a bit different than what you might expect from most projectors on the market. Some might even look at it and think the technology is outdated because of the reflective mirror used to ultimately create the image on the screen. This however could not be further from the truth. The fact the U310W is a ultra short throw interactive projector makes the mirror technology state of the art. With ultra short throw lens and mirror, the NEC U310W can create very large images with the projector just a few feet away from the screen. More importantly, the presenter can interact on the white board without shadowing the image.
Let’s take a close look at the physical properties of the projector starting with the lens. The projector does not have a zoom lens. You can, however, use the fine focus knob on the side of the lens to achieve a sharp image. Adjusting the picture to fit your screen is done by moving the projector fore and aft of the screen. With an ultra short throw, a few inches can mean a large difference in image size. It is for this reason NEC recommends going with the projector and mount combo. NEC makes the perfect mount for the projector, and installation is going to be much easier since it can mount to the same wall as your screen.
Moving away from the lens, we move to the top of the projector. Let’s assume in this case we are looking up at the projector as though it was ceiling mounted. To your right you will find the control panel and black window to receive the infra-red singnal. You can control all the projector’s functions without the remote from this control panel. Don’t forget the projector can also be controlled via your laptop with NEC’s virtual remote. Above the menu system is the projector lamp door. A more common but smart place for a lamp replacement door to be located. You won’t have to remove the projector from its mount to do maintenance. On the right side of the projector you will see a ventilation screen and the 10w speaker.
Now let’s move to the left side where you will find all the inputs. See image below. Starting from the left you will find the LAN port for command and control of the projector from anywhere via IP address and your browser. Next you will see a S-video port for a standard definition signal. A very convenient monitor out is also included on the NEC U310W projector. The ever important 15 Pin VGA port is just to the right of the monitor out and next to that is the Computer 2 input that also doubles as the component video input by way of special cable adapter. For high definition, there is an HDMI input if that is more convenient for you instead of using component cables with the Component to VGA adapter. Last, but not least, you will see a PC Control port that accepts RS-232 commands should you want to control the project via serial cable.
The next row of inputs include the service Port for software upgrades and repairs, the composite video port and your typical left and right audio inputs. This allows you to utilize the projector’s 10 Watt speaker. There is of course a 3.5mm mini dim audio out to a much more robust sound system should you need it. To top it off, there are two 3.5mm mini dim audio inputs that correspond to computer 1 and the computer 2 input.
Setup and Menus
There is no doubt that the remote that comes with the NEC U310W is comprehensive. It may be larger than most remotes, but in my opinion better to have a larger, more feature rich remote than a small, potentially easily lost remote with few features. Ergonomics, which is a particularly important to me, was very well thought out by NEC. Everything was laid out in sections and given different shapes, which is reminiscent of menu lay outs for universal remotes. I think you will find the remote easy to get comfortable with in a shorter amount of time than most projector remotes on the market.
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