The newly released NEC VT465 Multimedia Projector features simplicity and ease of use in a compact, lightweight design. It is functionally identical to the NEC VT460, which is now out of production, but packs a bigger punch when it comes to lumen output.
The major difference in the projectors is that the VT465 uses a micro lens array (MLA) to improve light collection efficiency. It also uses a slightly different lamp - a 205 watt versus the 200 watt of the VT460.
So what does this mean to you? At an MSRP of $1,795 and a street price of $1400, the VT465 is now a better value on a cost/lumen basis than its predecessor the VT460. This extra punch will be appreciated by the presenter or educator using this projector where ambient light is a problem.
Like its predecessor, the VT465 has a native SVGA (800 x 600 pixels) resolution and supports resolutions up to UXGA. It boasts an ANSI lumen rating of 1800 with a contrast rating of 400:1. The light engine uses three .7" polysilicon TFT LCD's with micro lens array. This attractively packaged, compact unit, weighs in at only 6.5 pounds and measures 12.2' x 3.5" x 9.1".
In addition to supporting computer input, the VT465 supports component video, s-video, composite, EDTV (480p), SDTV (480i) and HDTV inclduing 1080i, 1080i/50Hz, 720p. And like all projectors in its class, the projector provides some basic audio support, but you'll want a better audio solution if you are using it for home theater.
NEC's Automatic Vertical Keystone Correction (+/- 30 degrees) facilitates ease of setup and their keystone scaling algorithm produces very good results in both video and data modes. This is a feature that will be especially appreciated by the mobile presenter. As with any keystone correction, less is better and you will have better results viewing video or data with large fonts.
The V465 has a manual focus and zoom (1.2:1) with a relatively short throw lens that allows the presenter to place the projector close to the screen and further from the audience. A 100" diagonal picture can be shown with the projector only about 10 feet from the screen. The short throw lens will garner points for those using a smaller venue.
Included with the projector is a soft carrying case suitable for auto or airline travel, an attachable carrying handle for easy transport room to room or building to building, remote control (with batteries), a power cable, USB cable, an RGB signal cable, a quick start guide and a CD-ROM user's manual. No S-Video, component or audio cables are included.
The VT465 features a lamp economy mode or Eco-mode. Eco-mode extends lamp life from 2000 to 3000 hours, reduces wattage of the NSH 205 watt lamp to 164 watts resulting in a drop in lumens of about 20%. There is also a fan speed adjustment that decreases audible noise from 37dB to 32dB. Both high and low fan speed can be used with Normal and Eco lamp mode, which effectively gives you four dB levels.
We preferred the Eco-mode setting when viewing video and with the low fan selected, this was the quietest projector we have heard. To avoid overheating and extend lamp life, the high fan speed is recommended when using the projector continually for days instead of a few hours at a time. The unit is designed to automatically increase the fan speed if the unit is beginning to overheat and to shut the projector down if it cannot maintain operation in the proper thermal range.
Like the VT460, the VT465 offers security features that we don't see in many of the lower cost projectors. A security password can be set that renders the projector inoperable until the password is entered. Also, the keys on the projector can be disabled without affecting remote functionality.
The VT465 comes with an impressive 3 year limited parts and labor warranty. The first year is covered by NEC's InstaCare program that features a limited 3-day repair/return or a next business day exchange. The lamp is warranted for 1000 hours or six months whichever comes first. This is twice the industry average of 90 days. As it turns out, we did have a lamp failure during our test. NEC claims that early lamp failure is rare and that the majority of lamp failures occur within the first 100 hours of operation.
The VT465 was fast and easy to set up using the color-coded connectors and automatic keystone correction. NEC's AutoSense Technology enables the projector to automatically sync with any computer signal and features one-touch image optimization. In data mode the picture was bright and crisp using 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768 sources and features such as magnify and move produced excellent results even at maximum magnification (400%).
The VT465's remote control is ergonomically designed with menu selection buttons easy to access. Although many of the selections on the remote were also accessible from the menu, it was convenient having features like picture adjustment, video sources and aspect ratio available without having to bring up the menu. The remote's mouse control utilizes a USB connection between your computer and the projector using the NEC supplied USB cable. It was simple to set up and the full sized remote made it easier to use than some of the credit card sized remotes we've tested. Switching the remote between mouse mode and projector control is accomplished using the PJ button on the remote.
As is true with all SVGA resolution projectors, the "screen door" effect is noticable at close viewing with a large image. For example, at a viewing distance of 9 feet with a 70 inch diagonal picture the pixelization is evident. At a more optimal 13 feet and 60 inch diagonal the pixels are not evident.
The menu offers a selection of 5 preset, optimized picture modes including, Presentation, Video, Movie, Graphic, and sRGB, A sixth mode, User, allows the viewer to select one of the optimized modes, then tweak to their heart's content and save the setting. After choosing one of the preset modes, the user can select one of three gamma correction modes as well as brightness and contrast for red, green and blue.
Video quality, although not up to home theater standards, is very good in component video and HDTV. Watching a variety of DVDs and satellite DTV programs was an enjoyable viewing experience. As with any LCD projector optimized for light output, there is a hint of green in the image. The VT465 is such a projector. While this is not noticeable in data mode, it is in video mode and can be minimized by changing color temperature and making minor adjustments to the color balance. The results were a uniformly bright image with good color saturation and reasonable flesh tones.
The menu was logically organized into six groups that were relatively straightforward to navigate and items could be found with ease, with the exception of a few items that were on sub pages.
The VT465 projector is virtually identical to the recently retired VT460, but offers 300 more lumens for an additional $200. With excellent data output and very acceptable video, this projector is ideal for the mobile presenter or educator. Automatic keystone correction, a color-coded connector panel and AutoSense sync technology facilitate fast and easy setup. It has a solid, professional looking package in a small, if not tiny, footprint and boasts great connectivity including monitor loop-though, HDTV compatibility and remote mouse. Ease of setup, brightness, sharp computer images and features such as magnify, 1.2-x manual zoom, a relatively short throw lens, and a versatile, easy to use remote makes this projector an ideal candidate for business presentations and the classroom. We particularly liked the quietness of this projector when in low fan mode - an especially nice feature in a small room.
At three years, the warranty is one of the longest we've seen and the first-year InstaCare program is an added bonus for anyone who uses their projector daily. The lamp replacement cost is about $300 and that works out to 10 cents an hour if you operate in Eco-mode and 15 cents an hour at full brightness.
If you're looking for a bright crisp display and SVGA is adequate resolution for your needs, the VT465 is an excellent choice.