Posted on March 27, 2020 By Phil Jones
NEC NP-MC372X Classroom Projector Review – Special Features: Long Life Lamp, Keystone Correction Tools, Network Based Projection, USB Viewer, DICOM
While Laser light engines provide an unprecedented amount of maintenance-free operation, many manufacturers are working to extend the lamp life of their lamp-based projectors. NEC claims 15,000 hours of lamp life for the MC372X in ECO mode. The life rating is the point where 50% of the brightness has been lost. Based on average daily use, its rated 15,000 hours should result in several years of operation. Even in ECO mode, the MC372X is still rated to produce nearly 2,500 lumens of brightness. When you do need a replacement lamp, the NEC model number is NP47LP.
Like most 3LCD projectors, the MC372X produces as many color lumens as it does white lumens. This means that the MC372X can deliver colors that should appear more bright and vibrant when compared to colors produced by a DLP projector with the same rated brightness.
There are three modes to adjust the brightness output of the laser light source:
If a projector is aligned non-perpendicularly to a screen “Keystoning” can occur which means the image looks trapezoidal rather than square.
The NEC MC372X, like most classroom projectors in its class, does not offer horizontal/vertical lens shift. To properly fit the image to a screen you will need to physically move the unit left/right and up/down. However sometimes you can only move the projector so far. For example, in my media room, I could only move the units a few feet before I had to resort to keystone correction to try to properly fit the image on my screen. We recommend you only use digital keystone correction as a last resort because it reduces overall resolution of the image but sometimes it is necessary.
The MC372X offers both vertical and horizontal adjustment while many units in its price point only offered vertical adjustment. Since I usually place projectors I am reviewing on a fixed shelf in the back of the room, this could result in some noticeable horizonal keystoning in images displayed on my permanently mounted drop-down screen. Without lens shift, this distortion could only be corrected via keystone correction tools.
The MC372X not only offers traditional vertical and horizontal keystone correction, it also offers PINCUSHION and CORNERSTONE adjustments. The CORNERSTONE adjustment allows for precise adjustment of the 4 corners of the image. You can simply drag the corner to where it needs to be. The PINCUSHION adjust can be utilize if the image has some visible bowing at top/bottom or left/right.
To be fair the person who is buying one of these projectors is probably just going to place the unit on a table and move it around until the image looks halfway decent on a wall or portable screen. Regardless, the MC372X’s powerful set of keystone correction tools could be very useful in many situations.
There are many classroom and meeting situations where it would be beneficial to project multiple images on a single screen. The MC372X, like many NEC business/education projectors, is compatible with their MultiPresenter application software.
This free software application which is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android gives the user the ability to display what is on their device’s screen (computer, smart phone, tablet) on the MC372X via wired or wireless LAN (wireless requires NP05LM1). Not only can you display images, PDFs, and webpages, you can even mirror the camera of your mobile device. The mobile app includes a marker so you can annotate the image or document being projected as well as a pointer.
This features also enables multi-screen display by starting the application on multiple computers and mobile devices Several split screen modes are supported that can display up to 16 thumbnail images in a 4 x 4 grid. The content from up to 16 different sources can be displayed at the same time.
MultiPresenter can also be used to control the connected projector. You can power the projector ON/OFF, switch inputs, and adjust picture and sound. MultiPresenter software is free and available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
The MC372X also allows for PC free presentations. You can project images stored on a USB memory stick inserted into the USB-A port located at the rear of the MC372X. The images need to be either JPEG or PNG. By selecting the USB-A input the images can be accessed directly from a simple menu. You can also project them continuously as a slideshow. This allows for presentations without the need to connect the projector to a PC.
There are times in a classroom or meeting that you might want to zoom in on a specific area on an image, such as a map or blueprint. This feature makes it simple to magnify a portion of the image on-screen up to four times. After pressing the D-Zoom button, you can use the arrow buttons on the remote to reposition the area to be magnified.
In addition to the usual Picture modes, NEC has included a DICOM Simulation mode intended to display images approximating the DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine) Part 14 Grayscale Standard Display Function used with B/W medical imaging (such as X-rays). This mode optimizes black/gray/white detail with a custom gamma curve. It should be noted that with such projectors as the MC372X, although the DICOM name is used, the projector is not a medical device and should not be used for purposes such as diagnosis of display images. Instead, the DICOM Simulation mode is intended for use in a classroom for teaching purposes.
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