Projector Reviews

Maxell MP-TW4011 UST Interactive Laser Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality

Maxell MP-TW4011 UST Interactive Laser Projector – Picture and Sound Quality: Color Modes, Video Picture Quality, Text and Presentation Quality, Audio Quality

Color Modes

The Maxell MP-TW4011 has nine color modes, three of which are adjustable User Modes, which can be used to achieve rather excellent color. Aside from those User Modes, there’s also Dynamic, Whiteboard, DICOM SIM., Standard, Natural, and Cinema. Of all of these modes, there are two “best modes” – one for presentations, infographics, documents, and websites, and one for viewing education films and videos.

The best mode for presentations and other such applications is Standard. I found Standard to be the most true-to-color of the brighter modes, though it does lean a bit toward the stronger yellow and green tones found in bright modes. Standard is not the brightest mode – that title, as is typical, goes to Dynamic, which is very strong on the yellows and greens. Dynamic isn’t the worst of the brightest modes I’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s quite usable for situations that require the most brightness.

Natural Mode is the best mode for video and films. It does exceedingly well on skin tones, with all skin tones looking – well – natural. Usually, I favor modes named Cinema (or Theater) on business and education projectors for videos, but I actually found Cinema on this Maxell to be too magenta. Whites took on a definite pink color, whereas Natural had the whites looking more as they should. I don’t know that I would use Cinema for anything, but you could try it out and see what you think. Whiteboard will be a good mode for projecting on Whiteboard-type surfaces, but it is not necessary to use that mode if you like another better.

DICOM SIM. is a mode designed for viewing high contrast films, such as X-Rays and MRIs. The is the second time this year that I’ve reviewed a projector with DICOM SIM. Mode that I do not like for X-Rays. I keep a set of X-Rays taken from when my cat decided to eat a bunch of stuff she’s not supposed to (she loves elastic, I don’t understand) so that I can use them to determine how good (or not) a projector’s DICOM SIM. Mode is. It was incredibly difficult to see her organs with DICOM SIM., and much easier when I used Dynamic Mode. I have included photos of both modes for you to compare, in the slider above.

Video Image Quality

I quite like the video picture quality on the Maxell MP-TW4011. The projector has WXGA resolution (1280×800), which is the business and education world’s 720p. Images were nicely sharp from both Explained, which is an educational show on Netflix, and Journey to Space – a BluRay disk. The color is comparable to what you might find on an entry level home entertainment projector – that is to say, pretty great for a business and education projector!

The Maxell MP-TW4011 performs excellently when reproducing skin tones. This photo was taken with the projector in Natural Mode.
The Maxell MP-TW4011 performs excellently when reproducing skin tones. This photo was taken with the projector in Natural Mode.

The photos in the slider at the top of this section were taken in Natural mode. It is the best mode for viewing video content, as mentioned in the previous section. Skin tones look natural, and it is the most true-to-color of all the modes. It is also one of the dimmest, which I will discuss on the next page, but still has enough power to overcome a moderate amount of ambient light – that is, lights off, and hopefully there’s no window in the front of your room where the projector is. Standard will do if you require more brightness, or you could try out Cinema and see how you like it.

Maxell-MP-TW4011 has great color in Natural Mode.
Maxell-MP-TW4011 has great color in Natural Mode.

I use this photo from Journey to Space as one of my determining factors as to if I like a projector’s color. There’s lots of depth and contrast to this shot, which is helpful to my eye when determining picture quality. I already mention that Natural Mode had a slight tint in favor of the green/yellow range, which I can clearly see here. However, it is so slight that it really doesn’t bother me any, and it’s not enough to make me want to use Cinema Mode. Plus, I really can’t rave enough about the projector’s performance on skin tones.

I’d like to state again that if you’re seeing some creases in the projected image, it is from my screen, not the projector. We recently moved and just got the screen up, but it needs to be stretched tighter to get those creases out. We weren’t able to do that before I had to take these photos. I can assure you that the image itself is flawless!

Text and Presentation Quality

Text and presentation quality is great on this Maxell. As mentioned, it has WXGA resolution, which is about as much as any K-12 classroom needs. To me, it’s really only necessary to have WUXGA resolution for a high school video production class, as they’re all shooting in 1080p (WUXGA is the business and education world’s 1080p) or 4K, if the school is like my husband’s work. He just took over the video production program at his alma mater, and the advanced students get to use high-end 4K Sony and JVC cameras. Awesome.

But I digress. For most classrooms, projectors are being use for presentations, lessons, projecting documents such as essays or other assignments, and showing educational videos. That hardly requires anything more than WXGA – though I still stand firm in stating I don’t believe it is relevant any longer to have projectors of lower resolution. There are replacement projectors out there for the 4:3 aspect ratio we used to see a lot (those are XGA and similar resolutions), but I am not a fan.

In addition to the WXGA resolution, the Maxell has a laser light engine – projectors with laser light sources often appear sharper than their lamp based competition. Ultra short throw projectors tend to have a bit of blurring around the upper, outer edges of the projected image, but it’s not so noticeable with this projector – there’s maybe just a tad bit of blurring. One of the cool things about this projector is that it has power focus – that is, there is no focus ring or lever. You simply use the focus buttons on the remote control to focus the projector. This, in my opinion, makes it much easier to do!

The Maxell-MP-TW4011 performs well when projecting presentation slides.
The Maxell-MP-TW4011 performs well when projecting presentation slides.

Of the color modes, Standard Mode is the one I picked for projecting graphics and presentations. It’s nicely bright, has well-balanced color, and just all around looks really good on this type of content. As you can see from the presentation slide above, text looks super sharp, and the color looks great.

Maxell-MP-TW4011_Text-Test-Image

We use a test graphic to determine text readability for each projector we review. This test graphic has a variety of font sizes, starting at the smallest – 8-point font – and font styles, which helps us establish the sharpness of text on all kinds of presentations, infographics, documents, and other such applications.

Overall, I found the text to be quite readable, even at 8-point, though it is highly unlikely that you will encounter this font size on your typical presentation, graphic, website or document. The further back you go, of course, the less readable that text will be. The other font sizes, starting at 10-point, I had no problem reading. 12-point and above is most likely what you will see, and it is nicely sharp when projected by this Maxell.

Audio Quality

The Maxell MP-TW4011’s single, 16-watt speaker is built in. I found both the volume and sound quality to be satisfactory – plenty of might to fill your typical K-12 classroom, and even larger high school classrooms. I did a brief stint at a community college to brush up on my music theory a handful of years ago, and this projector’s speakers would be able to fill one of those classrooms.

For a larger university classroom or lecture hall, I would hook it up to external speakers. Lecture halls tend to have great sound systems already, so if looking to use this Maxell in a lecture hall, you’ll have no problem hooking this up to that external sound system. The speakers are well equipped to handle your typical conference rooms or boardrooms go.

Next up is our discussion of the Maxell MP-TW4011’s performance! That includes the good stuff like brightness, contrast, and audible noise. After that, we’ll wrap up this review with a summary, a brief mention of the projector’s competition, and some pros and cons.