NEC PE401H Conference Projector Review
December 12, 2013,
There are no surprises when setting up the PE401H. Zoom and focus controls are smooth and positive, and the remote control is laid out efficiently with clearly marked buttons. There is no horizontal keystone correction so you have to make sure the projector is facing the screen squarely, but vertical keystone correction may be adjusted over a ±40° range. The only unusual effect is the interaction between the User 1 settings and the Picture Modes when changes are attempted in Picture Mode settings. Any attempts to change Picture Mode settings are reflected in the User 1 settings, so if you want to make sure your favorite settings are preserved, choose the User 2 menu before you make your selections.
One handy feature of the PE401H is its unusually long zoom range of 1.7:1. This is helpful when doing installations where distance from the projector to the screen may be dictated by room dimensions and fixtures. With the flexibility of a 1.7:1 zoom, you can achieve the same image size from a wide range of projection distances.
Picture Modes - The PE401H has six Picture Modes: Presentation, High-Bright, Video, Movie, sRGB, and Blackboard. Each has its own color bias, gamma curve, and color temperature chosen to fit the specific presentation content. There are also two User modes for storing your favorite brightness, contrast, color temperature, and gamma settings (see the earlier caution on User 1 settings).
Heat Exhaust - The significant heat being generated by the 330W lamp is exhausted from the PE401H through grates on the right and front sides of the projector. Generally, the audience members will be seated far enough from the projector that heat flow will not be an issue, and fan noise is relatively low for a projector of this size that puts out this much light.
Image Settings -NEC provides one of the most comprehensive image menus where individual color gain and bias can be adjusted. This menu is not for the faint of heart, but if you have experience in calibrating displays, you have all the flexibility you will need to fine-tune the image.
Connectivity - Virtually all standard sources can be accommodated by the PE401H. Computers, composite/component/S-video, and audio in and out all have individual connections, and there are dual inputs to simultaneously connect two HDMI sources. As is common, the single VGA connector serves both computer and component video sources so if one is in use, the other cannot be accommodated. There is also a separate monitor output.
Remote Monitoring and Control - NEC makes application software available on their Web site to set up remote monitoring and control of the PE401H. After installing the Virtual Remote software, a virtual remote is displayed on your computer. Similarly, NEC's PC Control Utility can be downloaded to perform monitoring tasks that are common in LAN environments. This software is specific to PC and does not function on Macs.
Lamp Life - Like most bright presentation projectors, the PE401H has a lamp with a limited life. NEC says you can expect 2,500 hours in normal mode, but Eco mode stretches that to 3,300 hours with a corresponding reduction in fan noise. A replacement lamp from NEC has a list price of $349.
Maintenance - Like most DLP projectors, there are no air filters to be replaced, but it is recommended that the intake and exhaust ports be vacuumed occasionally to remove dust or lint that might collect near the DLP chip. Lamps are replaced through the top of the PE401H, so even ceiling mounted units are easy to service.
3D Capability - The PE401H is full 3D ready. Separate DLP-compatible 3D glasses (e.g., NEC Model NPO2GL) are required at extra cost.
Warranty - NEC offers a three-year warranty on the PE401H. The lamp is warranted for 500 hours of operation or one year, whichever comes first.
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