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Infocomm ’19 Day 2 Projector Round-up – NEC Projectors including the New NP-P605UL

Greetings to everyone interested in big, bad, commercial projectors (and some not so big, and far more affordable)). It’s time to look in on NEC.

I go way back with NEC – in my last life - as a major online projector seller until 2003, we were one of NEC’s largest dealers. I really mean “way back” - when 2000 lumens was “large auditorium” and weighed 50-100 pounds.  If memory serves 2000 lumens could cost $30K - $50K around 1999

The NEC booth today, in 2019 seemed to have an application, rather than a product focus. There was a lot of emphasis on projection mapping and digital signage, along with other apps.  Although I didn't really take a look, NEC was showing some very smart enterprise-level monitoring software, that was getting a lot of interest.

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NEC’s giant sign is one example of projection mapping in use.

NEC’s NP-P605UL – It’s a New, Poweful, Affordable Laser

One worth a serious look is their new, what I call NEC’s “step up laser projector”. You may be familiar with our recent NEC P525UL laser projector review. It proved to be an excellent projector. The P525UL is what I call an “affordable laser” projector, under $3000 for WUXGA.

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NP-P605UL projector
NP-P605UL - 6000 lumens, 3LCD, laser, $3500 list. What's not to like?

Many companies have “affordable lasers” now, but this new NEC P605UL is a step up from that. It still lacks high end / higher price features like interchangeable lenses, but raises the brightness bar to a claimed 6000 lumens, whereas most “entry level” laser projectors are 3000-4500 lumens. Nicely done,

Nice value proposition, especially as the NP-P605UL is a 3LCD projector, so it will have plenty of color lumens.

Translation: This NEC won't have to sacrifice as many lumens to get great color, or cut through lots of ambient light as some competitors using DLP tech combined with "business" color wheels that have a "white slice" (clear). Of course there are other trade-offs as well, but my point is that 6000 lumens of laser pumping through 3LCD, is going to be one especially bright seeming projector for a most reasonable price.

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NEC laser projector
Lurking high above the NEC booth, doing projection mapping is one of NEC's largest projectors - either 20,000 or 35,000 lumens (hard to tell the model from here) Either way, serious "heavy metal"

The P605UL is on our short list, to be reviewed. Its list price is $3500, but for you educators out there, keep in mind that NEC has a very robust education program. Education pricing should be significantly lower!

I believe there is a strong market for "brighter" affordable lasers like the P605UL and the other projectors in its family. It should, for example, prove to be a volume seller to universities and colleges for lecture halls, (when the installation doesn't require special lenses, as this projector's price will be barely half of that of similarly bright projectors offering lens choices.

Also not to be forgotten:  Laser projectors definitely have a reputation for appearing to be brighter when viewed, compared lamp-based, with the same brightness.  Laser light engines lose brightness extremely slowly compared to lamps and maintain color balance far longer, two more important advantages.

P605UL projecting on screen
This 100"+ diagonal screen is lit up by an NP-P605UL projector, which is mounted about 12 feet away.

The heavy metal (big projectors) was well represented. Their 10,000 lumen PX1005QL which Phil is now reviewing, was mounted above a larger screen (120” diagonal?) and handling the ambient light without difficulty. As you can see in the second image, it has a periscope ultra short throw lens so it is mounted right above the screen. Periscope lenses were pretty much everywhere this year it seems.

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Data center type image

NEC pitches a strong focus beyond product performance, built around long warranties, support, replacement programs, and a lot of maintenance free projectors in the line-up. Food for thought: It seems to me, that NEC has, over the last couple of years, been shifting their lineup to include more 3LCD projectors and a few less DLP projectors.

I'm outta here.  -art

Next up:  Panasonic - then a break from projectors, for some really cool OLED displays.  Can you say "LG?"

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