NEC NP-M402X Portable
Conference Room Projector
April 25, 2014
Potentially long lamp life. NEC rates the lamp life for the M402X at 3500 hours in the Normal setting for Eco mode and 8000 hours for the Eco setting. There's also an Off setting, which is brighter than either Normal or Eco, and which presumably results in a shorter life, although NEC doesn't provide a rating for the Off setting. In any case, with a $299 replacement cost for the lamp, taking advantage of one of the Eco modes can significantly lower the total cost of ownership.
Capable audio. The 20-watt mono speaker delivers good enough audio quality to be useful plus enough volume to fill a mid-size room. If you need better quality, stereo, or still more volume, you can plug an external audio system into the audio output.
Bright image with wide brightness range. The M402X came in at a solid 91 percent of its 4000-lumen rating in my tests, at 3626 lumens in with its brightest predefined setting and with Eco mode set to Off. As a point of reference, following SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) recommendations, that's bright enough for a 260" diagonal image with a 1.0 gain screen in theater dark lighting. It's also easily bright enough for the 98" image I used for most of my tests to stand up to moderate ambient light.
For smaller screen sizes or lower light levels, you can switch to one of the Eco modes, choose any of six other predefined modes, or both. Normal mode dropped the brightness by about 20%, to 2868 lumens with the brightest predefined setting. Eco mode dropped it by about 55%, to 1990 lumens. With Eco mode off, the six other predefined settings came in at 972 to 2602 lumens.
Keep in mind too that as with most DLP projectors, the actual brightness is more complicated than with LCD models, because the color brightness is lower than the white brightness. This can make color images less bright than you would expect from just knowing the white brightness, and can also affect color quality. As is typical, the difference between the two for the M402X is most significant for the brightest predefined mode, which explains why red looks a little dark in that mode.
Good, but not great, brightness uniformity. Brightness uniformity across the screen came in at 71%. That's low enough so I could see the difference between the brightest and darkest areas on a solid white or color screen. However the change was gradual enough across the screen to make it almost impossible to see a difference with the screen broken up by text or graphics.