The NEC NP-M282X is a new XGA projector with some interesting features that make it perfect for education. The M282X is easy to set up in just about any classroom thanks to its high light output, long zoom range, and its ability to display photos, videos, and office documents from an attached USB thumb drive -- without the aid of a computer. A 20-watt speaker packs enough punch that everyone can hear what's happening, even in the back of the room. A long-life lamp, rated at up to 10,000 hours of operation, cuts down on maintenance costs. To top it all off, the projector has a built-in light sensor and will automatically adjust lamp power to keep image brightness consistent, even as the lamp ages. The M282X has an MSRP of $999 but is currently selling for only $629, so it's affordable even on a tight budget.
The Viewing Experience
The M282X produces a bright picture that's easy to see, and its various image modes adjust that image for the type of content you need to use. The image in the projector's High-Bright mode is greenish, but perfect for ambient light when you need maximum brightness. Color is under-saturated in this mode, so using it for photographs or other color-intensive material can make it seem a little lackluster.
The M282X's other image modes are less green and offer better color performance but less light output. Presentation is the projector's default mode the first time you start it up. Presentation is tinted towards blue, but offers better color and contrast than High-Bright mode. It's more appropriate for film, video, and photographic use than High-Bright mode, but the best color performance is gained by using the M282X's Movie or sRGB modes. Both Movie and sRGB provide natural, life-like color for your data images, movies, and photographs.
The image is plenty sharp when using source material in the projector's native XGA. When you're using higher-resolution input signals, you will lose some detail due to compression, but the M282X does a fine job of maintaining detail in high-res content. The loss of detail is more visible in text documents and spreadsheets than it is in graphics and video, so for best results try to scale text-based material to native resolution before sending it to the projector.
Setup and Configuration
The M282X has a long 1.7:1 zoom range and can project a 100" diagonal image from as close as 10' and as far as 16' 8". This range gives you the leeway needed to mount the projector in most classrooms using a standard ceiling mount. However, the M282X is also well suited to use on a rolling cart, where its USB projection ability comes in handy; the projector can display content without connecting to a computer, a feature that won't get a lot of use if the projector is ceiling mounted.
The M282X has a mild 13% throw offset, so the bottom edge of the image will be 13% of the image's height above the centerline of the lens. This mild angle is ideal for use on a cart, but it is also suitable for ceiling mounting.
The M282X's high brightness make it ideal for use in ambient light, a situation that describes most classrooms. And thanks to the long zoom lens, adjusting the image size is easy if the projector starts to look washed out or dull due to lack of brightness. Just remember that using the telephoto end of the zoom lens will result in a 20% loss of light output.