Projector Reviews

NEC P525UL Laser Projector Review- Picture Quality

NEC P525UL Laser Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality: Color Modes, Video Image Quality, Text Readability, Audio Quality

COLOR MODES

The above screenshots are intended to give only a rough idea of the color accuracy for each picture mode.  However, when viewed in person the color accuracy will generally look somewhat better than shown in these photos.

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 least accurate picture mode. This mode would be most appropriate for displaying presentation materials where color accuracy was not of great concern.  This mode could prove useful if the room has a lot of ambient light to deal with, but in a room with reasonable light control there are other picture modes with more accurate colors.
  • Presentation Picture Mode: This is the second brightest mode and while it still suffers from some of the same picture issues as the High-Bright mode, it does offer good white balance across the grey scale with very near to the ideal 6500K color temperature.  Overall, Presentation mode is somewhat more accurate than High-Bright mode, but less accurate than lower brightness picture modes described below.
  • Video Picture Mode: The Video picture mode had a somewhat higher than ideal color temperature producing a moderately cool image.
  • Movie Picture Mode: The Movie picture mode has just a little lower than ideal color temperature giving the image a slightly warm appearance.
  • Graphic Picture Mode: This picture mode had a somewhat high color temperature giving the picture a cool appearance with a mild blue/cyan tint.  In this mode the magentas were too blue while the other colors were reasonably accurate.
  • sRGB Picture Mode: While this picture mode was the least bright, it delivered the most accurate colors out-of-the-box. sRGB mode had a color temperature that was just a little higher than ideal but the colors were fairly accurate. Overall, this picture mode offered the most accurate picture when using the factory default picture settings.
  • Natural Picture Mode: This picture mode had just under the ideal 6500K color temperature and excellent grey scale tracking.  However, the magentas and cyans appeared too blue.
  • DICOM Picture Mode: This picture mode is intended for displaying black & white medical images with a unique gamma curve, so there is no point in talking about color image accuracy.  Grey scale uniformity was good with the color temperature remaining nearly constant from dark greys to full white.

For those who want to further fine tune the P525UL color reproduction, there are additional advanced color adjustments including color temperature and RGB balance (contrast, brightness). There is even a Wall Color Correction feature which make it easy to apply color correction to image projected on screen and wall that are not white.

VIDEO IMAGE QUALITY

The P525UL offers several picture modes and I found the best quality, in terms of color accuracy, to be the sRGB mode. For the screen shots below, the factory default settings were used for SRGB mode except the Lamp mode was set ECO. Since the P525UL includes user adjustments for white balance, gamma and colors temperature so I am sure it could be calibrated to produce a more accurate picture..

Looking at the images on the player above, the first are our test images of color pie charts and skin tones, for the different Preset modes. Next are images of a variety of videos and photos in 4K and HD resolution. Like all our photos, they remain unadjusted for color, so they do not look as good as what the projector produced.

Switching from DLP to 3LCD had a big impact on colors reproduction especially in the brighter picture modes. The P525UL reproduced good reds and very respectable yellows, which is normally a huge challenge single-chip DLP projectors that have relatively low Color Light Output (compared to white light output).

Overall the picture quality for displaying video is very good for this class of projector. While not perfect, the overall color accuracy as very good, with natural looking skin tones, and reasonable image contrast. The P525UL has a dynamic contrast feature than can be turned on or off. However, when turned on it operated much too slow to be of any real benefit for viewing video.

TEXT READABILITY

The NEC P525UL image resolution and text clarity are only limited by its native 1920 x 1200 resolution. Even 8-point text was very easy to read in both black text on a white background and with white text on a black background. When my attached laptop PC was set to the projector’s native 1920 x 1200 resolution you couldn’t really ask for any better readability of the projected text.

The 1st photo above shows the full-text readability test image while the 2nd and 3rd images show close-ups of just the upper portion and just the lower portion of the test image respectively. There was no visible color fringing on the text indicating the projector’s lens does not exhibit any significant chromatic aberration. I was able to get sharp focus over the entire image. P525UL is well suited for displaying presentations with lots of small text and fine details in the graphics.

For maximum sharpness, the NEC P525UL can accept up to a 4K@30P and NEC’s signal proprietary video processing/scaling chip did a great job downscaling the higher resolution image to the projector native resolution.

AUDIO QUALITY

NEC-P525UL-speaker

The NEC P525UL has a single, 20-watt built-in speaker that can play loud enough for use in a moderately large size 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 build-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.