Posted on September 27, 2019 By Nikki Zelinger
Maxell MP-TW4011 UST Interactive Laser Projector – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise
The Maxell MP-TW4011 claims an exceedingly bright 4,200 lumens, and I am happy to report that this projector BEAT its claim! Measuring the lumens ultra short throw projectors is a tricky business, and we still don’t have a fully accurate way of measuring, but I did measure 9 points on the screen and averaged them out to get the numbers you see here.
I turned the projector on while the blinds of my sliding door to the balcony were open. The Maxell booted up in Standard Mode, which isn’t even the brightest one, and it had no problem handling that ambient light. Dynamic, the projector’s brightest mode, measured in at a whopping 5,505 lumens. Most projectors will fall up to 25% short of their claim, but this Maxell measured within 25% above. Nice work.
An image of the SpaceX Website, projected by the Maxell MP-TW4011 in a fully darkened room.
An image of the SpaceX Website, projected by the Maxell MP-TW4011 with ambient light.
A scene from Journey to Space, projected by the Maxell MP-TW4011 in a fully darkened room.
A scene from Journey to Space, projected by the Maxell MP-TW4011 in ambient light.
Since Standard is the “best mode” for presentations, infographics, and websites, I took a photo of the SpaceX website, with the Maxell projecting in a fully darkened room, then again in the face of ambient light. I chose this image because of its black background. Black is the first color to disappear when confronted with ambient light. As you can see from these photos, the projector performs well holds up, even in a bright room environment. This is particularly important for classroom and conference room environments, where there is often a degree of uncontrollable ambient light.
Standard isn’t even the next brightest mode, as it comes in at 3,984 lumens – that honor is reserved for the three User Modes, which you can change to suit your color needs. User 1 measured at 4,397, User 2 at 4,258, and User 3 at 4,610, making User 3 the second most bright mode offered on the MP-TW4011. Cinema Mode follows Standard, at 3,903 lumens – plenty bright for showing educational films and videos – and DICOM SIM., which is used for projecting high-contrast films such as X-Rays, came in at 3,589 lumens.
The final two modes are significantly dimmer than the rest. Whiteboard measured at 2,387, which is still pretty bright. 2,000 lumens is more than enough for most rooms, save for those where you can’t turn off all the overhead lights. Whiteboard Mode is for projecting on a whiteboard surface, as many classroom projectors do, but it is not the only mode that can be used for projecting on that surface. The final mode, Natural, measured at 2,343 lumens.
The Maxell MP-TW4011 has a contrast claim of 500,000:1. When it comes to contrast, we here at Projector Reviews concern ourselves more with how the projector performs in terms of black level performance than what its claim is. Black levels is a term that refers to how dark the blacks are. Rarely will you find a projector that even comes close to pure black in the business and education market, because it is simply not that important – that is something that home theater projectors try harder to achieve.
If a business or education projector’s blacks are a medium dark grey to dark grey, we consider them “good enough.” Most projectors will measure up to this standard. There have been a few projectors that have really wowed me in terms of black level performance in this market over my time as a reviewer. A Sony that was included in the 2019 Classroom Projectors Report comes to mind – but that projector is just about double this list price of this Maxell, and with no interactive features (that one is really more of a commercial projector, or one used for higher education purposes).
A scene from Journey to Space that shows the projector's black level performance, in color for comparison purposes.
A scene from Journey to Space that shows the projector's black level performance, in monochrome for comparison purposes.
Most business and education projectors’ black levels tend to fit into that medium-grey to dark grey spectrum, with some having more “entry level” black levels (lighter grey), and some performing better, like that Sony. For us, it’s more of a question of, “are the blacks recognizable as black?” when reviewing a business or education projector, rather than if the projector can reproduce true black. Like I said, that’s a standard we reserve for home theater projectors.
The MP-TW4011 does have something working in its favor when it comes to black level performance – a feature called Dynamic Black. It is designed to produce deeper blacks, and I am pleased to say that this feature is doing its job when it comes to this Maxell. Though obviously not black, the Maxell MP-TW4011 produces suitable black levels, in a more of a medium-dark-grey.
In the slider above, I have two images of the Bigelow Rendering from Journey to Space. The first is in color, and the second, in monochrome. The images are overexposed so as to demonstrate what the projected image looked like in person. Space looks like space, in both images. These photos were taken in Cinema mode.
I couldn’t find an audible noise rating for the Maxell MP-TW4011, but it was completely unnoticeable to me during my testing time. This is an ultra short throw projector that will be wall mounted in the front of your classroom or conference room, likely at least 10 feet in front of those who are seated closest to the projector. That, combined with the fact that I barely noticed the noise except when the projector first powered on, means there’s about zero chance of the fan noise being distracting to the teacher, presenter, or the students.
During the time that I measure lumens, things are dead silent in my room. I don’t have any music playing, and there’s no content playing on the projector. Since this is an ultra short throw that I set up on my credenza, just inches from the screen surface, I was right there next to it for a good amount of time, and, like I said, the projector’s audible noise didn’t bother me at all. When projecting content that has audio, you’ll have the sound up – obviously – and with that, any audible noise you might have heard will be gobbled up by the content’s audio.
That does it for our review of the Maxell MP-TW4011! On the next page, I summarize everything you learned in the review, provide some insight as to the competition, and pros and cons to the MP-TW4011. See you on the last page!
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