Projector Reviews

NEC NP-L102W LED Projector Review – Special Features

NP-L102W LED PROJECTOR – SPECIAL FEATURES:  Media Player, 3D, Tripod support, Optional Wireless LAN support (not available everywhere), Audio

L102W Projector - Media Player

I believe that if a company is putting a media player into a small business projector, then it should not only support photos and multiple video formats, but it needs to support PDF format and the various Microsoft Office formats.  As it turns out, the NEC is very competent in this regard, starting with Office players:

Microsoft Word:  97/2000/XP/2003/2007/2010
Microsoft Excel:  97/2000/XP/2003/2007/2010
Microsoft PowerPoint:  97/2000/XP/2003/2007/2010

Adobe PDF support:  1.0/1.1/1.2/1.3/1.4

The photo formats supported are:   JPG, BMP

The audio formats supported:  WAV, MP3, WMA, OGG

The number of video formats that the media player supports is impressive:  AVI, MOV, MPG, MP4, WMV, MKV MPEG 1/2/4, H.264/AVC, WMV9, Xvid, MJPEG@1080p

All considered that’s an extremely healthy level of support of major formats by this media player.  Missing though is support for GIF and motion GIF but that’s hardly a deal breaker!

The media player can work with SD cards (up to 32 Gig), or USB thumb drives, and, if you add the optional wireless LAN capability where available, the media player can work with files sent wirelessly.

I’ve dropped into this image player, many of the Media player’s menus, for your consideration.  They are, obviously graphically oriented, so easy to grasp just by looking at the icons.

3D Capabilities

It seems that the NP-L102W supports several common 3D formats one would expect a projector to support, but has some limitations.  For one, it does not support frame packing which is more home oriented – it’s used by Blu-ray discs for 3D.  The other aspect is that it simply doesn’t support 3D over HDMI, which I did find a little surprising.  Bring it over from a computer, and you should be good to go.  We did not play with any 3D content to verify, other than confirming that neither 3D on Blu-ray, nor 3D off of HDTV coming in through HDMI would not work.

Again, as we would expect, this DLP projector uses DLP-Link type glasses.  None are provided with the projector but you can find pretty inexpensive compatible 3D glasses from many manufacturers, from under $20.   I have plenty of DLP-Link glasses here, but never got to use them.  This NEC projector supports six different resolutions for 3D, from VGA up to WXGA.  Strangely, NEC doesn’t list the supported formats on their brochures or even in the manual.  I’ve asked, hope to update with a formal list of formats.

NP-L102W Tripod Support

Flip the NEC projector on its back and you’ll find a screw thread for a standard tripod.   It isn’t, though where you would expect it – which would be near the center.  Instead it’s definitely off to the side, and even stranger, it is not near the center of balance.  That is probably due to the internals of the projector, that they just couldn’t locate it in the ideal spot.   As a result, the NEC is not just a little large and heavy for those really tiny tripods that often came with inexpensive and small point and shoot cameras, but those don’t have a wide enough base to prevent the projector from flipping over.  You need to go up to a more robust compact tripod, or a full sized one, for a stable setup.

It worked fine with the compact tripod shown in the image here.  Keep in mind that cables can pull on the projector, so “be careful out there,” balance wise!

Wireless LAN Option

Interesting!  The manual discusses the optional wireless LAN module: NP03LM, which would allow  working with computers, tablets etc., wirelessly.   This would allow the media player to work with the same file formats mentioned above.  That’s always a cool option for some folks.

NEC did not provide a wireless module so we had no chance to try working with it.

It’s hard to find information on the wireless module in the US.   NEC doesn’t even show it as an accessory on their website where you can buy the projector.   That said, I spoke with the NEC team and they assure me it is available in the US.  I did not get a price, but something in the neighborhood of $99 is pretty typical.  For a portable projector of this type, wireless is something a good number of users would appreciate.

NP-L102W Projector - LED Light Engine

This NEC uses an LED light engine.  NEC is rating it at greater than 20,000 hour life.  As is typical for LED projectors using DLP technology, there are no filters.

The obvious advantages are the compact size of this projector, and, of course no lamps to replace.  With a 20,000 hour light source, the light source is likely to last far beyond the usefulness of today’s projector technology.  After all, this is a portable business projector.  Let’s say 20 hours a week, which would be a lot.  That’s 20 years…  OK, so take it home, and watch some sports, and movies, for another 20 hours a week, and we’re still talking a decade.  No worries!

NEC does not seem to offer a particular special warranty on the light engine, but the 3 years parts and labor provided with the projector with three year of their Insta-care replacement/loaner program  is dramatically better than most of the pocket projector competition offers, many with only one or two year basic warranties.   Good job NEC.

NEC NP-L102W Projector - Audio

Small projector, small sound system.  The NEC has a single 2 watt speaker located in the front.  Here’s a quick user error story.  When I first hooked up the NEC, I decided to feed it some music from my laptop.  I wasn’t expecting great sound, but to my surprise, the volume was very low, and at max volume the projector was resonating on certain notes.  I was most unimpressed.

Days later, when I circled back to the NEC (I was working on that LG PF85U review before), I notice that there was a clear plastic protective cover over part of the front, and it was covering the speaker.

I am please to report that after I pulled off the cover, the volume about tripled, the sound was less muffled, and, most importantly, the projector was capable of reasonable volume for small presentations, but don’t expect a 2 watt speaker to be a solution if you are presenting to 50 people in a large training room.  Just remember, there’s a stereo audio out, so its easy to feed the sound (including that coming off of SD card or USB presentations, to an external sound system, even including small powered speakers.