Projector Reviews

NEC NP-MC372X CLASSROOM PROJECTOR REVIEW – PICTURE QUALITY

NEC NP-MC372X Classroom Projector Review – Picture Quality: Color Modes, Black Levels and Shadow Detail, Pixel Shifting on 2K, 4K content, Pixel Shifting vs Other Features

COLOR MODES

The above screen shots are intended to give only a rough idea of the color accuracy for each picture mode. However, when viewed in person the color accuracy will generally look somewhat better than shown in these photos. The images show the difference in color and skin tones, for the different Preset picture modes.

There are seven factory color presets. The following observations were generally made with the projector using its factory default picture settings.

  • High-Bright Picture Mode: This is the brightest but least accurate picture mode. This mode would be most appropriate for displaying presentation materials where color accuracy was not of great concern and the room has a large amount of ambient light.
  • Presentation Picture Mode: This is the second brightest mode but it is more accurate than High-Bright mode, but less accurate than lower brightness picture modes described below.
  • Video Picture Mode: Intended for TV viewing. While fairly accurate, its color temperature was a little cooler than ideal and colors were slightly oversaturated.
  • Movie Picture Mode: Accurate color reproduction (similar to sRGB mode) but with boosted contrast.
  • Graphic Picture Mode: Designed for projecting graphics. This picture mode has a somewhat cool (bluish) color temperature.
  • sRGB Picture Mode: While this picture mode was the least bright, it delivered the most accurate colors out-of-the-box.
  • DICOM Picture Mode: This picture mode is intended for displaying black & white medical images with a unique gamma curve, so there is no point in talking about color image accuracy. Grey scale uniformity was good with the color temperature remaining nearly constant from dark grey to full white.

For those who want to further fine tune the MC372X color reproduction, there are additional advanced color adjustments including color temperature and RGB balance (contrast, brightness). There is even a Wall Color Correction feature which make it easy to apply color correction to image projected on screen and wall that are not white.

The MC372X offers a couple of picture modes that had good picture quality and I found the best quality, in terms of color accuracy, to be the Movie mode. The screen shots below were taken with the MC372X in Movie mode. Since the MC372X includes user adjustments for white balance, gamma, and color temperature, I am sure it could be adjusted to produce a more accurate picture.

Above are screenshots of a variety of HD videos and photos. Like all our photos, they remain unadjusted for color, so they do not look as good as what the projector produced.

Overall, the video picture quality was good for classroom projector at this price point. While not perfect, the overall color accuracy was very good, with natural looking skin tones, and reasonable image contrast.

TEXT READABILITY

The NEC MC372X image resolution and text clarity was limited by its native XGA (1,024 x 768) resolution. There will be some classroom applications where more resolution would be useful like when viewing 4K content or photos of fine art. However, the MC372X has enough resolution for viewing a PowerPoint Slide or worksheet for a normal viewing distance.

If the font size is too fine for the MC372X to resolve, then the text is probably way too small to use in a PowerPoint. When my attached laptop PC was set to the projector’s native resolution there were very few PowerPoint slides, excel or word documents where have more resolution would be useful.
For maximum sharpness, the NEC MC372X can accept up to a [email protected] and NEC’s signal proprietary video processing/scaling chip did a great job downscaling the higher resolution image to the projector’s native resolution. The ability to accept 4K content is also useful when you use the MC372X’s image zoom feature.

Audio Quality

The NEC MC372X has a single, 16-watt built-in speaker that can play loud enough for use in a average classroom or meeting room. As with most built-in projector speakers, the sound quality is rather ‘thin’ due to the lack of any bass and the sound can become distorted if you turn the volume too high. This is no worse than what many other business/installation projectors offer in the way of performance from built-in speaker(s).

The sound quality is fine for voice narrations or background music, but less than ideal for playback of video tracks where music is important. If higher quality audio is needed, the projector has a mini jack audio outputs that can be used to connect to an external powered speaker system.