by David Nagel
The last time I took a look at a digital projector, it was the VT540 from NEC. It was a great piece of equipment priced in the $6,500 range. (You can read that review here.) This time we move up the scale a bit to NEC's MT1050, a $10,000 model that packs a whole lot of power in a portable design.
In the review of the VT540, I noted that the thing I liked least about it was having to return it to the manufacturer. This one is even more difficult to let go of, but this time around I'm contractually obligated to get it back to NEC on a firm date, so no stalling. (My enthusiasm for the VT540, incidentally, was the cause of NEC's new evaluation policy. Naughty me.)
So what do you get for the extra $3,500? For one thing, you get more than twice the ANSI lumens2,100, to be specific. Even in "economy" mode, the MT1050 outputs 1,600 lumens. This projector is bright, and it looks great, even in strong, indirect sunlight.
You also get stunning picture quality. I was a bit surprised when I first installed it, though. My immediate impression was that the picture quality was actually inferior to the VT540. I soon discovered, however, that this was the fault of the factory settings, not the projector. Playing around with the settings allowed me to do something I couldn't do with the less expensive modelnamely project absolutely rich, warm, accurate colors without sacrificing detail or fidelity in the lighter areas of the image. The abundant onscreen image quality controls provided everything I needed to get my picture looking just right.
The spectacular image comes courtesy of a 1.3" p-Si TFT with a native 1,024 x 768 resolution with 24-bit color depth, up to UXGA with NEC's Advanced AccuBlend It has a contrast ratio of 350 to 1, and it uses NEC's Vortex technology for uniformity, color, depth and detail for data and video images, providing very little dropoff at the edges of the image.
The little things
In terms of connectivity, the MT1050 offers a USB port; two RGB ports with miniplug audio input; composite video; S-video; YCbCr Component (optional cable); and HDTV (1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i, with optional cable). And it includes IR for external control. For output, it includes an RGB monitor port and miniplug for audio.
Like the VT540, the power cord connects to the front of the projector. Unlike the VT540, the power cable comes straight out of the front, rather than using a 90 degree connector.
The unit can be mounted in any common configuration and includes three screw feet (one in front, two in back) for adjusting height and angle.
Finally, the MT1050 includes a PC Card slot, which allows you to download an entire presentation onto a card and run it from the projector itself, eliminating the need for a host computer, if desired.
The bottom line
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