Projector Reviews

Maxell MP-JU4001 3LCD Laser WUXGA Business Projector Review – Picture Quality

Maxell MP-JU4001 Laser Business Projector – Picture Quality: Color Reproduction, Black Levels and Shadow Detail, Text Legibility

COLOR REPRODUCTION

With an advertised 4,000 lumens, the Maxell MP-JU4001’s light output was more than what was required for my 120-inch screen, even under full ambient lighting. The projector’s brightness could be tamed in my theater by setting its Light Source mode to Quiet. This reduces fan noise substantially while still delivering nearly 2,000 lumens.

In Normal (high) power, the MP-JU4001 produced a good-looking picture and its high brightness, good black level and slightly oversaturated colors made images, text, and graphics pop on screen.

The images in the player above are our test images of skin tones for the different Preset modes.

The most accurate picture modes out of the box were delivered by the STANDARD, CINEMA and the three USER preset modes. The NATURAL mode which is normally one of the most accurate picture modes on a projector was overly warm, delivering skin tones that were greenish.

The CINEMA mode was the best picture mode when viewing content in a darker environment while STANDARD worked well in a room with higher ambient light.

The DYNAMIC mode is the brightest but also the least accurate. Even in bright situations, I would sacrifice the few hundred additional lumens of brightness provided in the DYNAMIC for the more accurate color produced in STANDARD mode.

Above are images of a variety of content including HD content from TV shows and movies as well as some news and talk show shots. As mentioned previously all our photos remain unadjusted for color, so they do not look as good as what the projector produced.

BLACK LEVEL AND SHADOW DETAIL

Like many business class projectors, the MP-JU4001’s blacks were just a bit more like shades of grey. The projector does offer a dynamic laser lamp mode which increases its rated dynamic contrast to 2,000,000:1, but it still can’t reproduce the contrast and blacks of a good cinema projector. However, as I stated before, this little powerhouse does a good job for its street price of $1829.

Business class projectors in this price point can rarely match the black level of a good home theater projector, but a home theater is nowhere near as bright as this projector. Unless you are watching a dark scene in a blacked-out room, you probably won’t miss the reduced black level and shadow detail. In most applications like in a classroom, the ambient light wouldn’t allow you to fully appreciate any additional black level and shadow detail, so most would sacrifice a little for the added dynamic range provided by the MP-JU4001’s brightness.

The MP-JU4001 does have intriguing features when it comes to improving black level performance. When average projectors are used in bright rooms, the darker colors of an image deteriorate and images become unclear. Using the HDCR (High Dynamic Contrast Range) function, blurred images caused by room lighting or outside light sources are improved, and an effect similar to increasing contrast occurs.
Dynamic Black is a feature offered on many Maxell projectors that is designed to produce deeper blacks, I am pleased to say that the Dynamic Black feature performs well on the Maxwell MP-JU4001. Though obviously not a true black, the Maxell MP-JU4001 produces suitable black levels that can be described as medium-dark-grey.

While better blacks may be achievable, I believe the Maxell MP-JU4001 has what it takes to display business and education content such as presentations and imagery in a typical conference room. Also, having so much brightness available increases visible dynamic range, especially in rooms with medium to high ambient light which really makes the colors more noticeable.

TEXT READABILITY

Text on this projector is crisp and smooth with no large blocking on the edges. The MP-JU4001’s image resolution and text clarity are only limited by its native 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. I put up slides from a variety of sources which you can see in the pictures below. These images were projected onto a screen similar to what you would find in an education or event venue so I expect that the performance would be similar.

Text at a variety of sizes was very easy to read on both color backgrounds as well as black or white. I had no issues pulling focus using the wheel located on the top of the MP-JU4001. Text was crisp with no color fringing. Remember that content presented in this projectors native resolution (1920x1080p) will provide the best results.

When it comes to text legibility the MP-JU4001 is going to do an excellent job displaying content from the web, television and presentation software like PowerPoint or Excel.

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