Projector Reviews

NEC NP-P474U Business and Education Projector Review – Performance

NEC NP-P474U Business and Education Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise

Brightness

Color Mode Lumens
High-Bright 4099
Presentation 3085
Video 2253
Movie 2456
Graphic 2192
sRGB 2496
DICOM SIM 2293

NEC claims 4,700 lumens on the NP-P474U – it didn’t quite hit that mark, but it did measure 4,099 lumens in its brightest mode, which they call High-Bright. Lumen ratings are always for the brightest modes, which we call the “break glass in case of emergency” modes, due to their often sub-standard color performance (heavy greens and yellows). So, it really comes as no surprise that the next brightest mode, Presentation, measured at 3,085 lumens. That is still plenty bright for rooms with ambient light control issues.

All of the modes after High-Bright and Presentation pretty much are in the same ballpark in terms of lumens, with the next brightest mode, sRGB, measuring 2,496 lumens. It is one of the projector’s best modes, and the one I used to take the photos of the presentations and websites. Movie mode, another best mode, is just 40 lumens less than sRGB, at 2,456 lumens. DICOM SIM., a mode used for viewing x-ray films (and therefore a mode that will not be used by most), came in at 2,293 lumens. Video measured at 2,253 lumens, and Graphic, the dimmest mode, clocked in at 2,192.

Now, all of these modes are bright enough to handle at least a modest amount of ambient light (lights off, modest light leaking in from windows). If you’ve got a lot of ambient light coming in, I would suggest Presentation mode. It has pretty decent color, as discussed on the previous page, with mild greens and yellows and more-than-acceptable skin tones. For all other instances, you have plenty of choices between modes, since they’ve got pretty similar lumen counts.

Contrast

The NP-P474U’s contrast ratio is 18,000:1. We don’t really pay attention to these numbers, as manufacturers can say all sorts of crazy things in their specs. Contrast relates to the projector’s black level performance – this is not so important on a business or education projector, as that’s really something people only care about on the home theater side of things. As such, these types of projectors do not tend to have great black levels.

So, what does that mean for the NEC NP-P474U? Its blacks are not true black, but they’re not half bad. Its black levels are helped along by the auto iris, which automatically optimizes the image based on the brightness of the projected content. In fact, they’re as good as any entry level home entertainment projector – they’re still quite recognizable as black. I’ve provided a photo from Journey to Space below so you can see for yourself. Mind you, they’re a tad darker in the photo than in person, but they’re, as Art would say, “pretty darn good.”

NEC NP-P474U Journey to Space Bigelow Rendering in Space
The contrast ratio of the NEC NP-P474U is 18,000:1 and it has decent black level performance for a business and education projector.

Audible Noise

The rated fan noise of the NEC NP-P474U is 37 db at full power, 34 db in ECO mode. It is super loud when starting up, but once the projector settles (about 30 seconds or so), the fan noise becomes bearable. Granted, I was standing right next to it to take my photos, so it was louder to me than it would be when ceiling mounted. In any case, at full power, you can hear the slight hum of the fan – in ECO, barely at all. Even at its loudest, it’s no more audible than air conditioning, and we all get used to that.

Now, that’s with no sound playing. Once you’ve got some volume on a video or educational film, you won’t be able to hear that fan. I put on Journey to Space with the volume on to test, and even standing a mere foot and a half away from the fan, I didn’t notice any sound. I think it’s safe to say that in most cases, the fan won’t be bothersome at all. That does it for our Performance Page! Next up is the final page of our review, where we summarize everything that we just told you, as well as discuss pros and cons of the projector.