Projector Reviews

NEC NP-PA521U Projector Review – Special Features

NEC NP-PA521U PROJECTOR– SPECIAL FEATURES:   optional lenses, multi-projector display setups, mounting and projection flexibility, system integration and DICOM Simulation

Optional Lenses

The NP-PA521U review unit was supplied with a 2X manual zoom lens and the lens is interchangeable in that it can be removed and replaced with a different lens.  The supplied lens, model NP-13ZL,  is a medium throw zoom model that, from the approximately 160 inch projector-to-screen throw distance I used for my evaluation, could produce an image size ranging from about 55 inches up to 110 inches wide (note: not diagonal screen size).  This lens has a MSRP of $749, while the other available NEC lenses are priced at $1999 to $2399.  Also be aware that only 4 of the 6 available NEC lenses support the projector’s lens shift feature.

The lens shift range for this projector, when used with the supplied NP-13ZL lens, is very good with a vertical shift range of 0.5 screen heights upward (when table mounted) and 0.1 screen heights downward (the up/down directions for shift range would be reversed with ceiling mounted).  The horizontal lens shift range is 0.3 screen widths either to the right or left.  Zero lens shift corresponds to the projector’s lens positioned both vertically and horizontally with the center of the screen (i.e., zero offset).

Support for Multi-Projector Installations

Large displays using multiple projector have become more commonplace for large commercial advertising and promotional displays.  The NP-PA521U comes with the tools to create such high impact displays using multiple projectors will full support for edge bending along with color and brightness matching of adjacent images being projected by additional NP-PA521U projectors.   These features can be used to create a seamless large, very high resolution image.  NEC gives the example of using 4 projectors to create a combined image with 4K/Ultra-HD resolution.

Mounting and Projection Flexibility

The lens options and availability of lens shift adds to the mounting flexibility of this projector.  However, NEC is targeting the commercial installation market with this projector have expanded the mounting options with what they refer to a “tilt-free” which they describe as:

“The projector can be rotated freely (360°) to orient the image depending on the installation requirements”

NEC also offers extensive geometric correction capabilities with this projector.  NEC describes this by saying:

“Projecting an image isn’t confined to a standard flat screen or wall with the NEC PA Series. Geometric correction allows these models to project an image on spheres, cylinders, corner angles and many more non-standard surfaces.”

These capabilities go well beyond a typical business projector and that’s what the NP-PA521U is all about.  This is both a good choice for  a conference room projector and also a very capable projector for providing large multi-media displays at trade shows, and for other commercial installation applications.

System Integration

The NP-PA521U comes with extensive capabilities for integration into a corporate network and media/presentation infrastructure.  Some of the more important networking and related system integration features are summarized below.

  • Integrated RJ45 connection for quick connection to the LAN (10/100 base-T capability)
  • Optional high-speed wireless LAN IEEE 802.11b/g/n module (model NP02LM, an $80 accessory)
  • Desktop control allows you to securely transmit information wirelessly to the projector from a docking station or PC in another room
  • Image Express Utility (IEU 2.0; compatible with Windows or Mac operating systems) dedicated projector software provides wired and wireless data transmission via peer-to-peer or over the network
  • Broadcast mode allows you to send information from one computer to several projectors
  • Windows Network Projector function within Windows Vista, or later, connects directly to networked projectors without the need for additional proprietary software
  • Windows Remote Desktop function allows you to control a networked computer by connecting a USB mouse and keyboard directly to the projector’s USB input
  • Windows Network Drive Function displays multimedia files (.jpeg, .bmp, .png, .mpeg2 or .wmv9) in the Windows shared folder on a local network using the Viewer function—all without bringing your PC into the conference room
  • Windows Media Connection Function displays multimedia files (.mpeg2, .jpeg or .wmv9) stored on the Windows Media Connect server or a local network using the Viewer function—all without bringing your PC into the conference room
  • Crestron Roomview Connected™ support built-in
  • Virtual remote lets you control the projector from a connected computer


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.  Note that although the DICOM name is used, the projector is not a medical device, and is not intended to be used for purposes such as diagnosis of display images. However, the DICOM Sim. mode is suitable for use in a classroom for medical teaching/training purposes.