Projector Reviews

NEC P506QL 4K LASER BUSINESS PROJECTOR REVIEW – PERFORMANCE

NEC P506QL 4K Laser Business Projector Review – Performance: Color Modes, Brightness, Video Quality, Text Readability, Audio Quality, Audible Noise

COLOR MODES

The images above aim to give you a rough indication of each picture modes’ color accuracy. Please note that the colors will look better when viewed in person. These images’ goal is to give you a rough indication of the color accuracy of each of the picture modes.

There are seven factory color presets. The following observations were generally made with the projector using its factory default picture settings.

  • High-Bright Picture Mode: This is the brightest, but it is also one of the most accurate picture modes. This mode would be most appropriate for displaying presentation or video in a room with a lot of ambient light.
  • Presentation Picture Mode: This is the second brightest mode. It is designed to make text and graphics easier to read.  It still offers a decent white balance, but it a little less accurate than High-Bright mode.
  • Video Picture Mode: Designed for watch video in a brighter room. The contrast is slightly boosted, and the color temp was a little blueish.
  • Movie Picture Mode: Designed for watching content in a dark room. It is the most accurate picture mode producing just over the ideal 6500K color temperature
  • sRGB Picture Mode: Designed for display print onscreen. This picture mode was the least bright.
  • DICOM Picture Mode: This picture mode designed for displaying black & white medical images with a unique gamma curve, so there is no point in talking about color image accuracy.
  • USER: This is another accurate picture mode along with good greyscale tracking.

Several of the picture modes produced a good looking picture. The HIGH BRIGHT, MOVIE, and USER modes delivered the most accurate colors.

I was quite surprised at how good the HIGH BRIGHT picture mode looked. Usually, a projector’s brightest picture mode delivers the least accurate picture and is only used as a last resort to overcome ambient lighting. While a super high brightness rating is great for marketing, most projectors have to sacrifice 50% up their rated brightness to produce good color.

Since the P506QL brightest picture mode delivers reasonably accurate color, you can actually utilize most of the projector’s light output. Usually, a business projector can reproduce the same image quality at the same brightness as the P506QL, would have a 40% higher max brightness rating.

I took the screenshots below in the MOVIE picture mode, which is the N506QL most accurate mode—the color temp of this picture mode with only a few hundred degrees above the ideal 6500K. When I took a 10 point grayscale measurement, I discovered that most of the delta errors when less than 4, which is outstanding for a business projector.

There are advanced color adjustments for those who want to fine-tune further the P506QL color reproduction, including color temperature and RGB balance (contrast, brightness).

BRIGHTNESS

The NEC P506QL is rated for 5,000 ANSI lumens with a peak center output of 5,200 lumens. Just how close did the P506QL come to hitting its target 5,000 lumens? I took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the lens center, which usually gives a pretty good approximation of ANSI lumens.

I measured the P506QL in full wide-angle in its brightest picture mode, HIGH-BRIGHT, with the ECO Mode set to OFF.

NEC P506QL Brightness (At wide zoom, High-Bright mode): 4552 Lumens

The P506QL measured 4552 lumens. This is slightly below NEC’s brightness claim but even in its brightest mode, the P506QL delivered good color reproduction. It is one of the few projectors I have encountered that its brightest picture mode is one it’s most accurate. I also measured the brightness of the other preset picture modes in both Normal and ECO lamp power.

Picture Mode Brightness And Color Temperature

Color Mode Lumens (Normal) Lumens (ECO) Color Temperature (Normal
High-Bright 4552 2628 7296K
Presentation 3683 1903 8005K
Video 3083 1589 8054K
Movie 2921 1531 7081K
SRGB 1510 857 12391K
DICOM 1531 881 9112K
User 3621 1883 8072K

As with most projectors, the onscreen brightness varies based on the amount of zoom. There’s a 23% reduction in brightness when the P506QL is zoomed in (Tele) versus zoomed out (wide angle).

VIDEO QUALITY

The P506QL offers several picture modes that deliver good picture quality out of the box.  I took the screenshots in MOVIE picture mode. Since the P506QL includes user adjustments for white balance, gamma, and color temperature, so you could calibrate the unit to produce an even more accurate picture. Like all our photos, they remain unadjusted for color, giving you a rough example of the projector’s picture quality.

The blacks were closer to dark grey, which is typical for a business class DLP projector. While deeper black levels would be preferred in a darker environment, the advantage of higher output typically overshadows that of better blacks in a room with lots of ambient light. The P506QL black level will look fine in its intended environment like a classroom, hotel lobby, conference room.

Overall the picture quality for displaying video is very good for this class of projector. While not perfect, the overall color accuracy was outstanding for a business-focused projector, with natural-looking skin tones and good image contrast.

TEXT READABILITY

The NEC P506QL is a 4K capable projector with more than enough resolution to display fine text and the details in graphics. The projector can easily reproduce font sizes that would be far too small to read from an average seating distance. The screenshots include full-screen images and closeups showing text sharpness and detail.

For maximum sharpness, the NEC P506QL can accept up to a 4K@60P, and NEC’s signal proprietary video processing/scaling chip did a great job upscaling the lower resolution image to the projector’s native resolution.

AUDIO QUALITY

The NEC P506QL has a single, 10-watt built-in speaker that can play loud enough for use in a moderately sized conference room but the sound quality is rather ‘thin’ due to the lack of any bass and the sound can become distorted when you turn the volume too high. It’s OK for voice narrations or background music, but less than ideal for playback of video tracks where music is important.

This is no worse than what many other business/installation projectors offer in the way of performance from the built-in speaker(s). If higher quality audio is needed, the projector has line-level audio outputs that can be used to connect to a powered external speaker system.

AUDIBLE NOISE

We do not measure audible noise, but NEC P506QL is rated to produce only 32db in Eco Mode and 35db in high power. This noise level is in-line with most 5,000-lumen business/education projectors. There was a faint high pitch whine in ECO mode, but P506QL was quiet enough that I could barely hear it from 6 feet away.