I found the performance of the NEC NP-ME331W to be very good for its modest $699 price. NEC specs. this model as offering 3300 lumens of light output and I found that in its brightest mode it puts out just over that value with lens at a mid-zoom setting and approx. 3500 lumens at maximum zoom. While color accuracy is not ideal in the two brightest picture modes (i.e., High-Bright and Presentation), these modes are certainly usable for when maximum brightness is needed to overcome moderate levels of room lighting. Even the picture modes with the most accurate colors (e.g., Movie, sRGB), still offer about 2400 lumens for a bright image under most conditions. Unlike most competing DLP portable business and education projectors, the NEC NP-ME331W projector, with its 3LCD imaging technology, has that same brightness for full color images as it does for whites and light color shades. See our video HERE on why color brightness is an important metric.
The NP-ME331W, in most of its picture modes offers solid color reproduction, making this projector a good choice for photo or video presentations. Our test model also had very good LCD panel convergence combined with a nice sharp lens, providing one of the sharper pictures you’ll find in a 3-chip LCD projector with WXGA resolution. I found the picture quality in Movie picture mode to be very good, especially after a few user adjustments detailed in the performance section of this review, with natural fleshtones and very good overall color accuracy.
Further, its built-in wired networking abilities are first rate and wireless networking is available as an extra cost option with the additional of an accessory USB Wi-Fi adapter. If very high brightness is not required (using Normal lamp mode), operating and maintenance costs can also be kept to a minimum by using ECO mode where NEC’s rated lamp life increases to an impressive 9000 hours.
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The NEC NP-ME331W has a lot going for it and its price point should be very attractive to the buyer looking for a low maintenance, high brightness projector in a compact package. For price and performance, it compares well with other LCD projectors in its class, while offering a useful feature set. This model's WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution is becoming fairly standard for business/education projectors at this price point and a few hundred dollars higher.
A solid performer in every category, the NEC ME331W deserves serious consideration by those looking for portable projector that offers high brightness, very good colors, long lamp life and a reasonable price. It was that combination of attributes that prompted us to give the NP-ME331W our "Hot Product Award".