Projector Reviews

NEC P525UL Laser Projector Review-Summary

NEC P525UL Laser Projector Review – Summary: Highlights, Value Proposition, Pros and Cons

HIGHLIGHTS

A couple of years ago we gave the NEC P502WL a Special Interest award for being a very good large venue installation laser projector for someone looking at entry level units suitable for large conference room and classroom applications. The NEC 525UL offers several enhancements over the P502WL to make it even better.

The NEC 525UL is a footprint 5,000 lumen installation WUXGA projector with a laser/phosphor light source which is rated slightly brighter than the P502WL. Like the older P502WL, the P525UL uses a laser/phosphor wheel light engine rated for 20,000 of maintenance-free operation. There is also a Constant Brightness mode to ensure that the P525UL delivers consistent looking imagery over the life of the projector.

The P525UL utilizes a 3LCD imager of instead of the single DLP chip found in the P502WL series which improves color reproduction. To ensure consistent color the P525UL has a Self-Color Correction that automatically compensates based on usage hours for the natural color shift that usually occurs as a projector ages. I’m sure the switching from DLP to LCD is also a factor in the projector’s increased contrast ratio. The P525UL is rated at 500,000:1 (with Light Adjust) compared to the P502UL 20,000;1 (with dynamic contrast)

While the P525UL is a WUXGA projector it can accept 4K@30P content via HDMI1, HDMI2 or HDBaseT for increased clarity and detail. Like other NEC P Series projectors, the P525UL has manual horizontal and vertical lens shift, 1.6x zoom lens, dual HDMI inputs and a HDBaseT input. It also features USB 2.0A support to power third-party devices and a LAN port for network control and asset management. The optional Wireless Module (NP05LM1) with MultiPresenter allows for up to 16 simultaneous connections.

What really makes this NEC projector unique is how incredibility quiet it is for such a bright installation projector. The NEC P525UL produces only 22db in Eco Mode and 27db in high power. The P525UL was so quiet in ECO mode that from 3 feet away I could barely hear it.

Sealed optics and laser light source ensure years of maintenance free operation. Registered NEC P525UL owners receive a 5-year or 20,000 hours parts and labor warranty including InstaCare which is next business day exchange.

The NEC P525UL offers high brightness, connectivity, and the longevity of a laser light source in an ultra-quiet compact package. While the P525UL is missing some features found on more expensive installation class projectors including interchangeable motorized lenses, edge blending and projection mapping, at a retail price of just $3,099, the NEC P525UL is still a great value.

VALUE PROPOSITION

NEC also offers some less expensive, bulb based, entry level installation class WUXGA projectors in their P4xx series starting like the NEC NP- P474W that has a list price of $1,599 and a rated light output of 4,700 lumens. However, for many applications the maintenance free operation, long lamp life, and lower noise is important. The P525UL which retails for $3,099 is still a great value.

A quick search shows that the most other 5,000+ lumens commercial laser projectors selling for under $3,500 like the InFocus INL3149WU are DLP imagers. Since the NEC P525UL is a 3LCD projector it should provide more vibrant colors especially in its brighter picture modes.

The Epson offers two low- priced 3LCD laser projectors in their lineup; PowerLite L615U and L610U but they retail for about $400 more. They are rated for 6,000 lumens, so they are brighter but with an audible noise level of 38db, they are also significantly louder.

PROS

  • 5,000 lumens (color and white)
  • Long life laser light engine should reduce maintenance costs
  • Suitable for applications requiring 24/7 operation
  • Can be mounted at any angle for projection in other than normal landscape mode
  • Very sharp, high resolution display with excellent focus over the entire image
  • high readability of text and presentation graphics
  • Excellent network support (wired and optional wireless) for control, monitoring, and multimedia presentation functions
  • Support for Crestron Roomview, AMX Beacon and PJ Link for connectivity and control
  • Multiple NEC projectors can be controlled and managed from a central PC using the supplied software
  • DICOM Simulation mode allows this model to be useful for medical education purposes
  • Several out-of-the-box picture modes available with reasonably accurate colors, one picture mode with very good color accuracy as well as a very bright mode for use in situations where the extra light output is needed
  • Excellent connectivity capabilities including support for HDbaseT
  • Optional wireless Module
  • Built-in 20-watt speaker is loud enough for a moderately large conference rooms or classrooms although the sound quality of average

CONS

  • Lacks certain advanced features found on more expensive “Installation Class” projectors
  • Lack of microphone input means the projector’s audio system cannot be used by the presenter for their own live narration
  • The remote control can be difficult to operate in a dark room, since it has no backlight and there are many small button