If you are looking for a short-throw projector and check our database, you will find about ten projectors that are comparable in terms of brightness and resolution to the new NEC M353WS (3500 lumens, 1280x800). However, many of its competitors are cheaper, smaller, and lighter than the M353WS, so why should it interest you? The short answers are image quality and networking. If you just need to put up a 3,500-lumen image, there are less expensive choices, but if you are an educator or businessman who engages in networked, interactive, and/or white board presentations where image quality is paramount, the M353WS is definitely on the short list for consideration.
At a little over 8 pounds, the M353WS is not for the road warrior, but since it is most likely going to be placed on a tabletop or a cart, weight is not really a consideration. With a street price of $1,069, the M353WS is at the top of the price range for comparable projectors, but that money gets you dual HDMI inputs (one of which is MHL compatible), gorgeous images, extensive picture quality adjustments, and networking options that are at the top of their class.
The M353WS does an excellent job with both data and video images. While the High Bright setting has a green bias to boost brightness, the Presentation setting has a more natural color balance and does a great job with data images. The image is focused from corner-to-corner, and there are no visible noise artifacts. Even with maximum keystone correction, small typeface text and spreadsheets were displayed clearly. The focus and zoom controls are positive with no overshoot.
Video images are excellent, even in the preset modes. Flesh tones are natural in Movie mode with good shadow and highlight rendering. Color is well balanced and images in all presets were clear, sharp, and noise free. Photos were stunning in Natural mode.
The M353WS offers seven picture mode choices with individual color and brightness biases, and they offer a quick way to get a good image on the screen. The M353WS does exhibit the DLP rainbow effects that some viewers are sensitive to, so a demo is probably worth it to see if these artifacts are a problem for you.