The NEC MC331W is an LCD projector equipped with features that office and classroom users will find appealing. For a start, setup is fuss-free: it starts up quickly in six seconds, is able to perform keystone correction automatically, and will monitor signal availability to auto power itself off.
You get the usual variety of terminals points, but there’s also a USB-B port for PC mouse control or to send a PC image across via a USB cable. Presentation sans PC can be done via USB memory stick into the other USB-A port and the projector’s built-in image viewer.
Ethernet connectivity is onboard too, though to get wireless, a separate $129 dongle is required. Projecting via wireless LAN or access point mode can be done using NEC’s free Image Express Utility Lite (Windows and Mac) or Wireless Image Utility (iOS and Android). NaViSet Administrator2, a piece of software that enables centralized monitoring, asset management and control of multiple devices, also comes free with the projector.
With the High-Bright preset, I found the 3,300-lumen MC331W about as bright as Sony’s VPL-DW240, which is rated at 3,000 lumens. With eco mode disabled, NEC says the lamp will last up to 4,000 hours; at the most conservative eco setting where brightness drops about 40%, lamp life shoots up to 10,000 hours.
For data-images, the quality from the MC331W is on a par with Sony’s DW240: text look pin-sharp and colors vibrant. The 1.2x manual zoom offers a bit of placement flexibility, but you still need about a meter between the screen and the projector. Video performance is admirable, though Sony’s model gave a more film-like rendition and pulled in more shadow details at times. But I’ve to say the MC331W is better suited for classroom use, thanks to its more powerful 16W monaural speaker and the fact that one of its D-Sub terminals doubles as a monitor output.
The NEC MC331W is an all-round data projector that will play nice in most mid-size meeting room and classroom settings. Its high brightness output makes it suitable for daytime use, with good data-image quality, and in typical NEC fashion, packs more features (e.g., louder speaker, better connectivity) than similarly priced competition.
Good data projection performance and better features than most in its class.
AT A GLANCE
Resolution: 1,280 x 800
Brightness: 3,300 ANSI lumens
Lamp Life: 4,000 – 10,000 hours
The projector has two HDMI as well as two D-sub inputs.
Text: Ng Chong Seng / Picture: Nec