NEC MultiSync NP60 review
Not a perfect picture, but it's still quite amazing what this lightweight portable projector is capable of delivering.
NEC is very proud of its latest MultiSync NP60 projector, and rightly so if its claims are anything to go by. Weighing in at a mere 1.6kg makes the NP60 eminently portable, but this compact package also delivers an impressive 3,000 lumens. In fact, NEC claims this is a world first for a portable projector this small.
Packing this amount of light output into such a small chassis requires a serious cooling rethink to avoid overheating and reduced lamp life, and NEC has achieved this with a new cooling solution. Along with a standard fan, the NP60 incorporates a separate cooling pump that forces high-pressure air from the opposite side of the chassis directly onto the lamp. Both lamp and pump are easily accessible, and replacement takes only a few minutes.
Another valuable feature is the number of automatic controls provided by the NP60, which includes auto-focus and auto-keystone adjustment. A small sensor on the front of the projector measures the distance to the viewing screen and automatically adjusts the focus. A standard drop-down leg and ratchet at the front make light work of vertical adjustment, and a control pad on the top provides full access to the projector's menu system. The NP60 offers a basic set of inputs, comprising composite, S-Video and VGA plus an RS-232 mini-DIN port, allowing you to control the projector from a PC or other device using serial communications.
For testing, we installed the NP60 in the Lab's full-sized boardroom and used it for a range of presentations. The auto-focus function worked particularly well, responding swiftly to changing viewing areas or when we used the manual zoom control above the lens housing. The auto-keystone adjustment also worked effectively, making the NP60 extremely easy to set up for presentations.
The combination of the fan and pump did result in higher noise levels on the normal setting, but our viewers said this wasn't intrusive. Switching to the economy setting does reduce noise substantially, but the image quality and colour balance suffer. Overall picture quality isn't the best we've seen, although the image was clean with a sharp focus right to the edges, even when the image size was more than 8ft across the diagonal. The projector had no problems with text on white background, maintaining good clarity even down to small font sizes.
Colour reproduction isn't so good, with our test pictures suffering from a grey cast that made them look lifeless. Contrast could have been better, as detail in darker areas of photographs was difficult to pick out. We also found that, unlike Sony's VPL CX61 LCD projector, the NP60 didn't cope well with high light levels; with the boardroom curtains pulled back on a sunny day the presentation was difficult to see. This means the lack of backlit buttons on the remote control will make the projector more difficult to use in a dark room. Nevertheless, overall impressions of the NP60 were favourable, with one viewer commenting that it was quite remarkable what a projector this small and lightweight was capable of delivering. Picture quality could be slightly better, but there's little to touch the NP60 for its superb combination of features, ease of use and portability.