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NEC M322W DLP Projector Review - Performance

Posted on August 26, 2014 by 
NEC M322W DLP PROJECTOR REVIEW - PERFORMANCE: Brightness, Audible Noise, Wired and Wireless Networking


Except where noted, the following measurements were made with the lamp’s Eco setting off. The M322W is rated at 3200 lumens, and that rating was very conservative based on our testing. We measured 4003 lumens in High Bright mode (the brightest) at full wide zoom. As our measurements are typically lower than the manufacturer’s rating, exceeding that rating was a pleasant surprise. The output varied slightly going to the middle of the zoom range (where all subsequent measurements were taken), dropping to 3661 lumens, which still greatly exceeded its rating. Going to full telephoto zoom resulted in a greater drop to 3315 lumens.

Using Presentation mode, the output dropped to 3053 lumens, which is still not that far off from its 3200 lumen rating, while delivering superior color balance relative to the High Bright mode. This is a far more usable mode than High Bright and I commend NEC for rating their projector realistically with regard to the mode that most people will use. Other modes experienced a rapid drop off in lumen output. Movie mode, which along with Video mode provided the best color balance for video presentation, dropped to 1902 lumens. Video mode was 1822 lumens. Graphic mode came in at 1790 lumens, sRGB (close to Movie mode in color balance) dropped even further to 1119 lumens and DICOM SIM mode was 1798 lumens.

There are six wall color settings which have the following lumen outputs when in the High Bright picture mode:  Whiteboard - 2686, Blackboard - 2781, Blackboard (Gray) - 3661, Light Yellow - 2166, Light Blue - 2733 and Light Rose - 3053.

There are four settings for the Eco lamp mode: Off, Auto, Normal and Eco. In Auto mode, the projector switches from Off to Normal depending on the picture level, so there are essentially three lamp levels. Changing the Eco lamp from Off to on Normal mode resulted in a 21.2% drop in lumen output to 2606 lumens in High Bright mode. Going to Eco mode dropped the output to 2086 lumens, a 37% drop from the lamp output with the Eco mode off, which is a greater drop than normal for most Eco modes. Nonetheless, 2086 lumens is likely to be more than enough for any presentation environment with even a modicum of light control and enables the user to take advantage of the M322W’s 9,000 hour lamp life.

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Audible Noise

As expected for a small, lightweight, high output projector, the NEC M322W is fairly noisy in its Normal mode (38dB), but reasonably quiet in its Eco modes (30dB).  The noise does seem to drop off quickly as you move away from the projector, so there would be no problem with a presenter being heard, even without using an amplified sound system. No rating is given for the projector with the Eco mode off, but subjectively, it is not much louder than the Normal mode.  If the aforementioned 37% drop in lumen output (in Eco mode) is acceptable, the M322W would easily be quiet enough for comfortable video or movie viewing.  The bottom line is that for 99% of this projector's intended uses and presenting venues, the M322W’s fan noise would likely not be objectionable.

Wired and Wireless Networking

The NEC M322W not only offers the ability for wired network control and presentation, it also offers wireless network capability with the installation of an optional wireless LAN module (about $57 street price). Through the use of included software, either connection choice will allow for remote management and control of the projector. The user can also check the lamp hours as well as enable warning notifications by email.

Again using the included software, the NEC M322W also offers full projection capability from any networked computer. The M322W also supports Crestron’s RoomView, allowing multiple devices on the network to be controlled from a single computer or Crestron controller.

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