Road warriors who want a budget-oriented projector suitable for both business presentations and home theatre will find the NEC NP100 a solid choice.
And at around £350, the NEC NP100 is one of the most inexpensive portable models on the market.
This 2.4kg DLP (Digital Light Processing) NEC NP100 features a native SVGA (800 by 600) resolution and a brightness rating of 2000 ANSI lumens, which is sufficient for use in small to medium-size rooms with low ambient light.
The production model we tested projected a bright, 64in image at a distance of about 3m from the screen, fine for typical slide presentations.
In a variety of image-quality tests, the NEC NP100 displayed generally good results - including sharp text and well-rendered colour graphics - when hooked up to a notebook PC's VGA port, as well as when connected to a DVD player's composite-video port.
The NEC NP100 has a small (2-Watt) speaker that was adequate for playing Windows prompts and PowerPoint sound effects, but not movie soundtracks.
The NEC NP100's manual zoom lens and focus ring are easy to adjust, but the only way to access the projector's on-screen menus (for controlling brightness, contrast, and other display options) is to use its credit-card-size remote control.
The NEC NP100 has a handy storage slot for holding the remote when it's not in use. Among the remote's most practical features are controls for auto adjustment, digital zoom, and keystone correction, plus a picture-mode button that provides several presets for displaying an optimised image depending on the content (presentation, movie, game, and so forth).
However, to keep the NEC NP100's cost low, NEC has omitted a few items. The svelte remote lacks the convenience of a built-in pointer (always a useful presentation tool) and it doesn't offer mouse support, which makes controlling a slide presentation from a podium harder.
Instead of including a carrying case for toting the NEC NP100 (and its cables) on the road, NEC offers a soft case and a leather case as separate accessories.
But even with its minor limitations, the NEC NP100 is a good bargain for a projector capable of displaying bright and attractive images in both office and home environments.