NEC LT155

LT155
at a Glance

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

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

NEC LT155
[Page 2 of 2]

It also takes a strange, but not necessarily bad, approach to dealing with IR. On the previous two NEC's I reviewed, the IR ports were mounted all along the actual housing of the units to provide remote access from just about any angle. On the LT155, this IR array is replaced by a USB IR hub, attached with a cable, that can be positioned on the conference room table to accept remote input from any desired angle. Once the IR unit is positioned, it can accept input from about a 270 degrees horizontal and around 60 or so degrees vertical. The unit adds a bit to the table clutter and adds a step to the setup, but it works, as long as you have the room for it.

The remote itself is a full-sized jobber with a built-in laser pointer, not at all like the remotes that come with the VT-series portable models. Also unlike the remotes in the VT series, this one can't be stowed inside the projector's housing. It has a trigger-style clicker button on the bottom and a scrolling wheel on top for navigating menus and directing the cursor. It also has several buttons for direct access to numerous features, including keystone, volume, magnification, source select and a few CompactFlash functions.

Oh, did I mention this ultraportable also has a CompactFlash slot? Nice little touch for such a dinky projector. You can place all of your presentation files directly onto a CompactFlash card and run them without the use of a computer, cutting down further on travel weight.

The bottom line
Now, by now you're well aware that brightness and contrast ratio are all measured under very specific circumstances and that these rarely match up with the manufacturer's claim. In my reviews I tend to avoid such measurements because there is never a situation in which you'd use the projector that match these specifications. My screen (Da-Lite matte surface) is about 136 inches diagonal, which falls somewhere in the middle of the projector's effective image size range and is more than double the prescribed image size for measuring brightness and contrast. I also test projectors on bare walls and in a variety of lighting situations, since presenters can rarely control these situations, particularly when they're on the road. The LT155 held up well in all situations, including indirect sunlight, though the falloff in brightness at a distance of 14 feet seems to be a bit more severe than in the MT portable line, but not much.

The NEC LT155 is an excellent piece of equipment. Its relatively low cost and ultraportability, not to mention 2,000 hour lamp life (in Eco Mode), brings this well into the range of affordability for presenters and home theater enthusiasts alike. For me, picture is everything when it comes to projectors, and the LT155 delivers quality comparable with or even superior to more expensive models. I give this projector a strong buy recommendation.

The LT155 ships with an RGB cable, a USB IR receiver, an S-video cable, lens cap, power cord and a sharp soft carrying case. It lists for $5,995, but it's actually available for considerably less, somewhere in the mid-$4,000s. (Keep in mind that retailers who offer projectors for a lot less than list do not offer the kind of support you will find from vendors who geared specifically for the presentation market.) For more information on the NEC LT155, visit NEC's professional products site at http://www.nectech.com.

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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, ProAudio.net and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.
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