Projector Reviews

NEC P502WL Projector Review – Special Features

NEC P502WL Project – Special Features:  Laser Light Engine,  Mounting Flexibility, DICOM Simulation mode, PC-free Presentations, Split Screen Display

Laser Light Engine

The P502WL uses a laser light source along with a phosphor wheel instead of a conventional lamp.  NEC has not provided details on their specific implementation.  In any case, NEC rates the life of the laser light source at 20,000 but does not say if that’s when operating in normal or Eco power mode.

Ultimately the laser system works much like a traditional single chip DLP projector where  light separated into the primary colors (i.e., red, green, blue,) is used to y illuminate the projector’s single DMD chip (i.e., DMD is the display chip used in all DLP projectors) sequentially with each of these individual primary colors.

There are several obvious advantages to laser engines, but so far they are still pretty rare.  We have previously reviewed a few business projector models using laser/phosphor light engines.  There are also a number of projectors available using hybrid light engines that use a combination of a laser and a LEDs, but these are generally limited to lower brightness models.

Perhaps the most obvious advantage that a laser light source has over a traditional  lamp-based projector is the life of the light source – NEC claims 20,000 hours laser life for the P502WL.  NEC also says this model can be used for 24/7 operation and those 20,000 hours equates to about 2 1/2 years of operation.  Another advantage is the image quality should be more stable over time than with lamp-based projectors.  The P502WL uses a sealed light engine so there should be no worries about getting “dust blobs” impacting the projected image.

Mounting Flexibility


NEC describes the mounting flexibility of the P502WL by saying:

“The projector can be rotated freely (360°) to point up or down depending on the installation requirements and can be rotated (along with the screen if necessary) to a vertical alignment so that portrait content can be viewed without black bars on the sides when landscape mode is used.”

NEC P502WL-mounting flexibility

Thus the P502WL is suitable for such commercial applications as digital signage and other applications requiring other than traditional landscape orientation of the image.

NP-502WL Projector: DICOM Simulation

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. It should be noted that with such projectors as the P502WL although the DICOM name is used, the projector is not a medical device, and should not be used for purposes such as diagnosis of display images.  Instead, the DICOM Simulation mode is intended for use in a classroom for teaching purposes.


PC-Free Presentations

The P502WL includes built-in support for viewing still images and videos that can be accessed via the projector’s Apps Menu.  The Viewer App allows individual images, slide shows and videos to be displayed from a connected USB flash memory drive.  Supported file types for still images include jpg, gif, png, and bmp.  The Viewer App also support playback of video files in file formats of mpg, wmv and mp4.  This allows for presentations without the need to connect the projector to a PC.

Split Screen Display

The P502WL offers support for displaying information from multiple users/sources during business meetings, in the classroom, or for any situation when a split screen mode is needed.  Users can connect their PCs, Macs, smart phone, tablets, etc. to the projector via the wired or wireless network (with addition of the optional Wi-Fi module).  The projector is supplied with ‘Image Express Utility’ software, that must be installed and run on a connected computer, that simplifies configuring the projector to display and share information among multiple sources.  Several split screen modes are supported that can display up to 16 thumbnail images, in a 4 x 4 grid.  The content from up to 16, out of a maximum of 50 connected sources, can be displayed at any one time.