at a Glance

Maker: NEC
Price: $5,995 (list), seen much lower
Platforms: Independent
URL: http://www.nectech

Overall Impression: This incredibly tiny projector offers more power than portables weighing twice as much and has an image quality to match. While it lacks some of the features of its heavier siblings, the LT155, at a list price of $5,995, is one of the best values I've seen.

Key Benefits: NEC's Vortex technology is truly amazing for projecting beautiful images in native (1,024 x 768) and non-native (up to UXGA) resolutions. It's bright and utterly lacks light spill. It also has a CompactFlash slot for computer-free presentations and offers RGB, S-video, miniplug (stereo audio) and composite video connectors. This is the smallest and cleanest NEC projector I've seen.

Disappointments: This unit lacks horizontal keystone correction, although it can compensate for vertical keystoning. It doesn't have as many connectors as some other models, and the USB-based IR receiver can add to tabletop clutter.

Recommendation: Strong Buy


REVIEW MAY 30 , 2001

Ultraportable digital LCD projector

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

NEC's displays, historically, have proved top-notch, and their professional presentation products have carried this tradition to yet another level. I've previously reviewed two NEC portable projectors, and both, the VT540 and the MT1050, were just gorgeous in terms of anything that matters about a projector—color saturation, picture quality, brightness, etc.

But for the last several weeks I've had in my possession my first NEC ultraportable-class digital projector, the LT155. It's not the smallest projector on the market, but it is tiny, about the size of two subnotebooks stacked on top of one another (11.1" x 8.2" x 2.8"), and it weighs a scant 4.9 lbs. (not counting cables, etc.). Most important, it stands up well in comparison with its more expensive and bulkier siblings in NEC's product line.

The NEC LT155 with remote and IR receiver. The DVD and mouse
are shown for size comparison and are not included.

Overall impressions
In terms of picture quality, it's actually slightly better than the larger MT1050. Whether you're presenting a television-quality picture, a DVD through the S-video or a computer signal through the RGB port, the image is brilliant (1,200 ANSI lumens versus 1,000 for the VT540); the contrast is outstanding (400:1); and the color saturation and accuracy (16.7 million colors simultaneously) right out of the box are perfect. I thought I should start selling tickets to my friends, who were over at my house pretty much nonstop watching movies on this thing.

One of the things that stood out immediately about the LT155 was its absolute lack of light spill. I know that a lot of projectors today hold their light spill down to a minimum. But with this unit, I mean the edges were perfectly sharp, not a single pixel of spill. Even the edges on a keystoned image were difficult to detect with just a little bit of ambient light to drown it out.

I was also impressed with the amount of control this ultraportable offers over image appearance. Even when watching video in composite mode, you get standard brightness/contrast controls, along with brightness and contrast on each separate color channel. It has four levels of noise reduction (including None) and three of gamma correction, and you can adjust hue, color and sharpness separately. It also accepts aspect ratios ranging from 4:3 to 16:9.

While I did try out these controls to see how they worked, I didn't need them. Regardless of source, the picture appeared optimum at the factory defaults. (This is actually unusual because signals from consumer DVD players, for example, often require significant fine tuning.)

Now, I mentioned that this projector stands up well against NEC's portables. This doesn't mean it's better in every respect. For example, it has only one RGB connector, and it lacks the ability to handle horizontal keystoning.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, Digital Media Designer, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Plug-in Central, Presentation Master, and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.
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