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NEC PE401H Projector NEC PE401H
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2000:1 Contrast Ratio
4000 Lumens
Full HD 3D
Street Price: n/a

NEC PE401H Conference Projector Review

Allan Abbott, December 12, 2013


Brightness and Uniformity -Our test model of the PE401H delivered 3,975 ANSI lumens in High-Bright, Presentation, and Blackboard modes, essentially matching its 4,000-lumen specification. The other Picture Modes performed as follows: Video and Movie - 2,880 lumens, and sRGB - 1,210 lumens. Brightness uniformity was 83% with the bottom of the image slightly brighter and with no discernible hot spots. Eco mode reduced brightness by about 28% in all modes. Unless maximum brightness is a requirement, Eco mode will provide a bright image with greatly reduced fan noise.

Image Size and Displacement - For a 150" diagonal image, the PE401H can be placed anywhere from 17'5" to 29'8" from the screen thanks to its large 1.7:1 zoom ratio. At that image size, the bottom of the image is offset about 12" above the centerline of the lens, and this displacement is good for both ceiling and tabletop mounting although it may not be ideal for shelf mounting at the rear of a room since there is no lens shift on the PE401H.

Frame delay - Frame delay was only two frames (32 msec) which is about as fast as it gets for projectors of this class. That makes for good gaming performance and establishes the PE401H as a good contender for home video projection.


Menu Position and Opacity - Unfortunately, the on-screen menu cannot be moved from its location in the center of the image, nor can its opacity be modified. This is mildly inconvenient when initially setting up the projector, but once optimum settings have been determined, it ceases to be an issue.

Menu Layering - Because the PE401H has so many setting options, the on-screen menu is necessarily layered so that menus do not become too cumbersome. This limitation causes a fair amount of button pushing during initial setup, but it is not an issue once the projector is up and running.

User 1 Settings - As described earlier, your User 1 personal settings are going to be modified if another user tries to change any Picture Mode settings.


If you have a good-sized room that needs a bright projector with high resolution, the NEC PE401H is a prime candidate. At 4,000 lumens with HDTV native resolution, this projector puts up outstanding data and video images at a modest price. Because of its size and weight, the PE401H is probably best mounted in a permanent location, but it can serve as a luggable projector when needed. It also makes a nice home video projector with more than adequate brightness even in moderate ambient light. Smooth, detailed, brightly lit images are the PE401H's hallmark, and it earns our highest rating for its performance.

Review Contents: Introduction The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance and Conclusion

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Reader Comments(5 comments)

Posted Apr 1, 2014 4:02 PM

By Todd

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Why is there no Projection Calculator info for this projector?

Posted Dec 19, 2013 11:08 AM

By Terry

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I had initially typed 4685 as their reading, but then I grabbed the 4013 because that was the reading they took at midzoom and since all my other numbers I quoted from them were from their midzoom, I wanted it to match. ;)

But, yeah, I think the biggest thing is probably the lens zoom. You guys measuring full wide vs their mid zoom. I guess the light changes drastically on this projector due to that reason. (More so than most.)

Posted Dec 19, 2013 8:58 AM

By Bill Livolsi

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There could be a number of things happening that are causing a difference in measured light output. First of all, no two projectors will be exactly alike, and manufacturing tolerances can account for significant differences even in two units of the same projector model.

This projector has a 1.7:1 zoom, and while we always measure the projector at the widest angle lens setting, ProjectorReviews takes their readings at the lens's midpoint. Since the midpoint of the zoom isn't a set location (you have to eyeball it, more or less), it's possible that their numbers vary due to zoom changes between readings.

There are also differences in light meters, and sometimes these differences are exaggerated by where the user holds the meter while taking the readings. There could also be an error in someone's readings, but without re-testing both projectors there's no way to tell who, if anyone, is wrong.

Then there are differences in settings. Since the PE401H is a DLP projector, it is possible to change white light output significantly by using BrilliantColor. If one projector had BC enabled and the other did not, that would easily account for a 1,000 lumen difference.

Long story short: there are a lot of factors that can cause differences between two projectors, and without seeing both projectors, there's no way to tell which readings are correct. They may both be correct. They may both be wrong.

Also, as a minor correction: Projector Reviews actually measured 4685 lumens in Bright mode at full wide zoom, compared to our reading of 3975. So the two differences you pointed out are far from the only ones. If you corrected all of their numbers for zoom lens light reduction, none of the image modes match up correctly. Because of the difference in testing methods, it's not a straight-up comparison.

Posted Dec 19, 2013 12:06 AM

By Terry

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Another thing, I posted a similar comment over at ProjectorReviews, but why are the lumens measured for this projector between their site and this one so different?

Lumen amounts (Mode/ProjectorReviews/ProjectorCentral):

High Bright/4013/3975 Presentation/2953/4013 Movie/1333/2880 sRGB/1068/1210 Video/1166/1210

That's a CRAZY difference for Presentation and Movie. Other differences are minor, but still... Why such a big difference in measurements between sites?

Your numbers make this projector look way more usable in other modes than their website would lead you to believe.

Posted Dec 18, 2013 11:08 PM

By Terry

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Seems like this projector ticks a lot of marks, does it qualify for any of the Top 10 spots on this website?

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