NEC NP-MC382W Projector Review – Summary

NEC NP-MC382W Projector Review – Summary: Summary, The Competition, Pros, Cons

Summary

The NEC NP-MC382W is a WXGA (1280×800) LCD projector claiming 3,800 lumens. The projector beat its claim, measuring in at 4,902 lumens at full wide angle, and 4,050 at mid-zoom. Those are the measurements for the brightest mode, High-Bright, which is to be used only in ambient light emergencies. The good news is, though, that the MC382W has plenty of other bright modes with good to excellent color to choose from.

This projector is intended for use in business and education environments such as conference rooms, meeting rooms, boardrooms, K-12 classrooms, and maybe even smaller university classrooms. The built-in 16-watt speaker isn’t super loud, which is why I would recommend an external sound system if you’ve got a loud class or larger classroom. With a proper sound system, this projector may even be used in lecture halls, due to its high brightness and ability to produce a rather large image.

NEC NP-MC382W Journey to Space Bigelow
The NEC NP-MC382W has excellent color in multiple modes.

The NEC NP-MC382W has a list price of $999, but can be found online for as low as $549. NEC offers education discounts via their Star Student Program, which is available to school districts and educators in North, Central, and South America, as well as the Caribbean. This program lowers the cost per unit to $495, a savings which adds up when purchasing multiple projectors for a school or entire district.

The MC382W has a 1.20:1 zoom lens with manual lens controls. I found the zoom to be sufficient, but was not a fan of the focus ring. It was tight and difficult to maneuver. Despite this, I was able to focus the projector in under a minute – and this is something you’re only likely to have to do a few times over the projector’s lifespan, unless you are carting it from room to room rather than having it installed in one place.

The NEC NP-MC382W does well when reproducing skin tones. This photo was taken with the projector in Video Mode.
The NEC NP-MC382W does well when reproducing skin tones. This photo was taken with the projector in Video Mode.

This projector has wireless capabilities via an optional wireless dongle. You can connect up to 16 devices simultaneously via a wired or wireless connection, and screen mirror iOS and Android devices. It has advanced networking in the form of NaViSet Administrator 2 – NEC’s proprietary software – and Crestron RoomView. It features PC-Free Presenting via a USB flash drive and the built-in Media Player. You can also control the projector using an app called Virtual Remote.

The NEC NP-MC382W has all of the inputs and connectors you need for typical business and education applications.
The NEC NP-MC382W has all of the inputs and connectors you need for typical business and education applications.

The NEC NP-MC382W has Audio In/Out ports, an RS232c connector for old-school command and control, a Kensington Lock slot, and dual HDMIs. There is also a Service port, a USB port stacked on top of the LAN connector, inputs for old-school composite video, as well as two VGA connectors – one for Computer In and one for Monitor Out. This NEC has good connectivity, and all the inputs and connectors you need for typical business and education applications.

The NEC NP-MC382W has six color modes: High-Bright, Presentation, Video, Movie, Graphic, sRGB, and DICOM SIM. As mentioned, the projector exceeded its 3,800 lumen claim, coming in at 4,902 lumens in its brightest mode, High-Bright, when measured at full wide angle, and 4,050 when measured at mid-zoom. The next brightest mode is Presentation at 3,314 lumens, then Movie, at 2,747. The “best” mode in terms of color is Video, which measured at 2,747 – same as sRGB. Graphic and DICOM SIM. came in at 2,492, which is still bright enough to handle most cases of ambient light (see slider below).

All modes except High-Bright and DICOM SIM. have good to excellent color. Brightest modes, like High-Bright, are known for producing green-yellow color, and DICOM SIM. modes are ultra-contrasy because their use is for projecting high contrast films like X-Rays and MRIs. The best mode for presentations is Graphic, pictured in the slider above, but Presentation will do if you require more brightness for your environment. Though, I’d rather use Video than Presentation, just because I liked Video’s color for accuracy.

The Competition

It’s been ages since I’ve reviewed a small, portable projector like this, but there are some projectors featured in our 2019-2020 Classroom Projectors Report that come to mind as competition. The Epson PowerLite 109W, which won our award for Best Performance in the K-12 Class, and the BenQ MW535A, which won our award for Best Value in the same projector Class.

Epson-PowerLite-109W_Front

The Epson PowerLite 109W is a WXGA (1280×800) resolution, 3LCD projector with a $749 list price. Epson’s education discount brings the projector down to $612 per unit. Though a bit more costly than the NEC NP-MC382W, it measured above its 4,000 lumen claim at 5,354 lumens (full wide angle), 3,913 at mid-zoom, and has more placement flexibility with a 1.60:1 zoom lens. It also has support for wireless, and can connect up to 50 iOS or Android devices simultaneously. And, it has support for Chromebooks, which are highly used in many of today’s classrooms.

Based on its $550 list price, the BenQ MW535A is the least expensive projector in this year's report, despite claiming 3,600 lumens and WXGA resolution.

The BenQ MW535A is a DLP, WXGA (1280×800) resolution projector priced at $550. It has a 3,600 lumen claim. This projector, at mid-zoom, measured at 2,541 lumens. We did not record our measurements for wide angle on this one (we had a newer reviewer tackle this one), but you can expect it to have another few hundred lumens at full wide angle. Remember that our MC382W measured at 2,492 in Graphic mode, which I found to be able to handle quite a bit of ambient light. So the MW535A will be able to handle ambient light as well, though as a DLP, colors will not be as bright as they will be on the NEC in the face of ambient light.

I would choose the MC382W over the BenQ MW535A, but do consider the Epson to be tough competition due to the brighter measurements, higher zoom ratio, and that it has support for Chromebooks. When it comes to projector buying, though, no one projector is “better” than the other – it’s all about whether the projector suits your specific needs for your particular applications. If you feel so inclined, check out the reviews for both the Epson PowerLight 109W and the BenQ MW535A.

Pros

  • $999 List Price – $549 Street Price
  • 3,800 Claimed Lumens – Beat Claim by About 1,000 Lumens at Full Wide Angle (4,902), 4,050 at Mid-Zoom
  • LCD Projection Technology
  • WXGA Resolution (1280×800)
  • 1.20:1 Zoom Ratio
  • Large Projected Image
  • Can Accept 4K Content
  • 16,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Excellent Lamp Life – 10,000 Hours at Full Power, 15,000 in ECO Mode
  • Geometric Correction – Keystone and Cornerstone
  • Virtual Remote
  • MultiPresenter Function – Connect up to 16 Devices Simultaneously via a Wired or Wireless Connection (Wireless Requires NP05LM1)
  • Screen Mirroring for iOS and Android
  • Integrated Software Applications – NaViSet Administrator 2 and Crestron Roomview
  • 16-Watt Mono Speaker
  • Education Pricing – $495 for Educators
  • Excellent Warranty – 3-Year Parts and Labor, Including InstaCare Next Business Day Exchange, with One Year on Lamp

Cons

  • No backlight on remote – typical, but would have been nice
  • 16-watt speaker could be louder
  • Focus wheel is a little hard to turn

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