Posted on April 18, 2019 By Nikki Zelinger
Maxell MP-WU5503 Laser Education Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise
Maxell claims 5,000 lumens for the MP-WU5503. I am pleased to inform you, that when measured at full wide angle (aperture as open as it can go to let all the light through), Dynamic Mode measured in at 4,827 lumens! Most projectors will fall up to 25% short of claim (the exception usually being Epson projectors), so the fact that this projector measured just 163 lumens below is remarkable indeed. Now, the rest of the modes, I measured at mid-zoom. This is because, in a typical installation, the projector will not be at full wide angle. Some installations may be able to swing that, and as a result, their projected image will be brighter than those that utilize mid-zoom.
So, Dynamic, when measured at mid-zoom, came in at 3,451 lumens. Still very respectable! This will be plenty to combat the ambient light that may be present in those higher education environments. DICOM SIM. is the next brightest mode, measuring 2,963 lumens, but this mode is a specialty mode used for viewing high contrast films such as X-Rays and MRIs, and will not be suited for regular viewing of presentations, websites, or videos. For that, you’ll want to look to Standard Mode, which is the brightest “best” mode, at 2,719, which is still quite enough to handle a good amount of ambient light.
The Maxell MP-WU5503 projecting in a fully darkened room.
The Maxell MP-WU5503 projecting in a room with quite a bit of ambient light.
In the slider above, I have two photos of the Maxell projecting in Standard Mode – one in a fully darkened room, and one where the projector is faced with a ton of ambient light coming in from my large living room window, which almost spans the whole wall. The image I used is a screenshot of the SpaceX website – one with a lot of black, as those darker colors tend to wash out the most. A marvelous performance by the Maxell MP-WU5503! It handled the ambient light quite well.
Cinema Mode, the best mode for video viewing, is the next brightest mode and is only a couple hundred lumens less than Standard, measuring at 2,438 lumens. Still plenty to go around. Whiteboard Mode came in at 1,669 lumens – and is best for projecting on a whiteboard – while the final mode, Natural, measured at 1,463 lumens. Plenty of modes to choose from on this projector, whether you need the brightest of the bright, the best color, or a special situation that requires DICOM SIM. or Whiteboard Mode.
The Maxell MP-WU5503 has a contrast claim of 1,500,000:1. In and of itself, this is a good claim, but we don’t have a way to measure it. For this reason, we care more about how the projector performs in terms of black levels than the number claimed on the datasheet. Black levels refer to how dark – or not dark – the blacks are in the projected image. Business and education projectors generally have pretty “entry level” black levels, meaning they’re more of a medium grey to medium dark grey, and we never expect them to be true black – that is an expectation we reserve for the best of the best home theater projectors.
A scene from Journey to Space that shows the projector's black level performance, in color.
A scene from Journey to Space that shows the projector's black level performance, in monochrome.
In the slider above, I have two images that demonstrate the black level performance of the Maxell MP-WU5503. Blacks are not true black, but rather, a medium dark grey, which is better than many business/education projectors. The images are slightly overexposed to mimic the color seen by the naked eye, and I have both a color and black and white photo for your reference. All and all, I was happy with the black levels on this projector, and would say it is typical of most business/education projectors with laser light engines.
The Maxell has a rated fan noise of 32db at full power, 27db in ECO Mode. As business and education projectors go, that’s pretty quiet. For reference, my Epson Home Cinema 5040UB, a home theater projector, has a rated fan noise of around 31db. Standing right next to it, I could hear the fan, but it’s one of those noises that fades into the background. Definitely not distracting, and quieter than an air conditioner.
In a typical installation, the Maxell MP-WU5503 will be installed using a ceiling mount, and the projector will be well above the heads of any students that would be sitting near it in a large university classroom. In a lecture hall, it is unlikely that anyone would be able to hear the fan noise. With the sound on, I couldn’t hear the projector at all, and that’s with the built in speakers, standing just a few feet away!
That does it for our review of the Maxell MP-WU5503! On the next page, I summarize everything we talked about in the review, and give my take on the pros and cons to the MP-WU5503. See you on the last page!
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