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NEC M322W DLP Projector Review - Picture Quality

Posted on August 26, 2014 by 
NEC M322W PROJECTOR – PICTURE QUALITY:  Color and Picture Quality, Readability, Video Quality

Color and Picture Quality

The NEC M322W looked great with any type of material. It displays a sharp image that is notable for its accurate, well-saturated colors in most modes. Colors were quite accurate in any picture mode, with the exception of the usual green cast to whites in the brightest image mode, High Bright.  A welcome discovery was that the color in Presentation mode was quite good, making it a very good choice for most presentation needs.  Since the NEC M322W also nearly matched its lumen rating in Presentation mode (see the Performance section of this review), such good color is even more impressive.  While whites are still a bit bluish-green, most colors appeared natural, with normal yellows and reds that were not too dark.  Dropping down into Movie or sRGB modes improves the color over Presentation, but with a significant loss of lumen output. As a practical issue, unless your presentation is dependent on very accurate color and brightness is not an issue, Presentation mode will no doubt be your go-to mode.

As a result of the good color, photo presentations are excellent with the M322W, particularly in either Movie or sRGB modes. As mentioned in the Setup and Menu section of this review, there are a number of adjustments available to improve the picture quality.   If you need to increase the contrast of your presentation, the gamma control will allow you to keep blacks from looking gray and vice versa. There is also a movable electronic zoom that allows the user to zoom in on a particular section of the screen.

High Bright Mode
Presentation Mode
Movie Mode
Video Mode
sRGB Mode
High Bright Mode
Presentation Mode
Movie Mode
Video Mode
sRGB Mode

Readability

The M322W provided a sharp image at any resolution or aspect ratio.  Starting at its native resolution of 1280 X 800 and using our usual spreadsheet with a range of text sizes and colors, there was no problem reading small (8 pt.) text on a 60” diagonal projected image. This level of readability was maintained with white text-on-black and yellow text-on-dark blue backgrounds as well.

Dropping down to a lower resolution and different aspect ratio (1024 X 768) had no noticeable effect on sharpness or readability of any size text.

With resolutions higher than its default 1280 x 800, the M322W continued its sharp, readable performance. We tried switching to 1600 x 1050 and then 1920 x 1080, to test its ability to scale and resize these higher resolutions and different aspect ratios. As we're finding on most projectors these days, there was little difference with the higher resolutions. With the exception of some minor blurring of the 8 and 12 pt. text at 1920 x 1080 (which is obviously an unlikely choice for an input resolution with this projector), the displayed text looked essentially the same as it did at the M322W’s native resolution. As the M322W is a single chip DLP projector, there is no color separation from any panel misalignment, as can sometimes be the case with 3-panel LCD projectors in this price range.

Based on our testing, there’s little doubt that the NEC M322W will do an excellent job maintaining readability at any of the supported resolutions, particularly at the normal laptop resolutions.

Native Resolution
1366 X 768 Resolution
1024 X 768 Resolution
1600 X 1050 Resolution
1920 X 1080 Resolution

Video Quality

To check the M322W’s video performance, I used the DVD playback from my laptop computer, still connected via HDMI.  Starting in Movie mode, I viewed some scenes from Casino Royale that I am well versed with from calibrating home theater projectors.  As I expected from the Color and Picture Quality evaluation, these DVDs looked quite good on the M322W.  Skin tones were quite natural and color depth was good.  The good contrast ratio of the M322W (10,000:1), even made viewing darker scenes enjoyable, not at the level of a home theater projector mind you, but easily superior to much of the competition.

For video viewing in an average lit room, the good color reproduction of the M322W in Presentation mode provides for a pleasing image, making it a good choice for classroom video presentations.  While the M322W is not really designed to be used for movie or TV viewing, it’s nice to know that it certainly could be used in that way, while still providing solid picture quality.

As a lot of video also has sound, it should be noted that the M322W’s built-in 20-watt speaker will be adequate for any normal-sized classroom, negating the need for add-on, powered speakers.

Image from a Blu-ray disk in Movie mode

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