Projector Reviews

NEC NP-P474U Business and Education Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality

NEC NP-P474U Business and Education Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality: Color Modes, Video Picture Quality, Text and Presentation Quality, Audio Quality

Color Modes

There are seven color modes on the NEC NP-P474U: High-Bright, Presentation, Video, Movie, Graphic, sRGB, and DICOM SIM, all of which have truly excellent color. That is, with the exception of High-Bright. As is the case with all brightest modes, they sacrifice color for a higher lumen count. This sacrifice comes in the form of extremely strong greens and yellows, which is why we call the brightest modes the “break glass in case of emergency modes.” Usually, Presentation modes are a bit heinous too, but not in this case.

Presentation mode is a bright mode, the projector’s second brightest. It, too, leans toward a green and yellow hue, but only just. It does a pretty good job on skin tones, and if your room has a lot of ambient light, you can use this mode to combat it without seriously sacrificing color. The NP-P474U’s best mode is sRGB, which has a nice warm hue, as does Movie, which comes in close second. The projector’s other modes are more on the cool side – Video and Graphic both have excellent color as well. For your top choice between sRGB, Movie, Video, and Graphic, it’ll really just come down to a matter of preference.

DICOM SIM even looks good when projecting our test image. A little contrasty, but then, that’s what you want with this kind of mode. DICOM SIM is a mode used to read x-ray films, so that contrast really helps with seeing more of the x-ray than, perhaps, one of those older light boards that so many hospitals still have. Suffice it to say, the NEC NP-P474U would be suitable for hospitals and doctor’s offices as well as other business and education environments.

Video Image Quality

I was impressed with the video image quality on the NP-P474U. Last year, I reviewed one of their pricier models for the higher education market, the NEC NP-PA653UL, which sells for around eight grand. I truly enjoyed the picture quality on that projector, stating in my review that it was quite sharp and had excellent color. I kept my expectations low for the NEC NP-P474U, as it is about $6K less than the NP-PA653UL, so I didn’t want to go into my review assuming that the color would be as good. It is! NEC didn’t sacrifice that aspect for price, which I was quite pleased with.

I used Movie mode for the photos in the slider above. That mode, as discussed, has a warm hue, giving skin tones a nice, healthy glow. Truthfully, sRGB would be nearly as good, but I did find Movie to be a tad better when taking photos of Journey to Space. Like I said, if you like the cooler tones, you may favor Video or Graphic – it’ll just depend on how it looks with your specific content. Luckily, it’s super easy to switch between modes with the remote. That said, the projector is sharp and is capable of producing natural-looking skin tones, as you can see from the Journey to Space and Bill Nye photos. The NP-P474U also does a good job on videos streamed from the internet, such as what you see in the photos of these TED Talks.

Text and Presentation Quality

One of the things to watch out for when choosing a projector for your board room, conference room, or classroom, is the readability of text. When presenting using PowerPoint or Keynote, projecting websites or infographics, you’ll want to make sure all of that text, from the smallest point to largest font size, will be able to be read by those sitting (or standing) in the back of the room.

I enjoy these WUXGA (1920 x 1200) projectors, as they tend to do exceedingly well on text. This NEC is no exception. Even the smallest type was readable to me, standing a good 10 feet back from the screen. Now, that “smallest type” is 8-point font, which is highly unlikely (and not recommended) to be used in business or education applications. Still, the regular 12-point font is small enough, and that was quite readable as well.

The photos in the slider above show slides taken from presentations, infographics, and websites – all look really sharp. Cycle through the photos to get a more complete idea of what the NEC NP-P474U can do for your business or education applications. All of these photos were shot in sRGB mode.

Art likes to have multiple news website photos in these reviews for the business side of things, but I absolutely loathe these. After seeing a series of just awful news stories on various websites, I found myself thinking, “I wish there was something out there that showed good news that I could used in these reviews to offset the bad.”

Then I remembered, there is! Lisa Feierman, Art’s daughter, started a newsletter some time ago called Rose-Colored Roundup, which has tweet-sized snippets of good news stories and links to the articles. So, I am happy to say, I included some photos of her website. I enjoy when people do good in the world.

Alright, back to it – I used the Multi-Presenter Stick to project content from my laptop to the projector. It has an easy setup and I was ready to go in just minutes. I would recommend it for users who plan to have multiple presenters within a single class period or meeting, as it truly does allow for easy switching between devices.

Audio Quality

The NEC NP-P474U has a single 20-watt speaker located on the back of the projector. That 20 watts goes a long way. It’s enough for larger conference rooms, board rooms, or classrooms. I would suggest getting a set of external speakers if using the projector in a large venue environment, however, such as in a university lecture hall. That speaker just won’t be enough to fill the room.

In most cases, it will be sufficient. As an onboard speaker, it is, of course, lacking in the bass frequencies. This is to be expected. I was impressed with the quality – as long as you keep it a few clicks below full volume. When at full volume, the audio clips a bit, but that’s to be expected with internal speakers. I never even have my iPhone speakers at full volume for the same reason.

Moving right along, we have our discussion of the NP-P474U’s performance. I’ll get into brightness – whether or not the projector met its 4,700 lumen claim – as well as contrast and audible noise.