While most consumers are interested in high-definition LCD and Plasma TVs, serious entertainment enthusiasts prefer to go with projectors. They offer true cinema like size displays for a relatively smaller price than TVs. However, the real consumers of projectors these days are businesses and educational institutions. NEC have taken these consumers into consideration while unveiling the NP216G DLP projector.

Solid plastic finish

Design and Build Quality
The NEC NP216G is a compact DLP projector in terms of design. It’s made of sturdy plastic and it has most of the controls on the top surface. The bundled remote is slim and lightweight, but has plenty of controls on it. The interface and remote work well together. Almost every aspect of the projector can be controlled from the interface. The projector supports 3D, but there’s no dedicated button to switch to the 3D mode directly. Instead, users have to browse deep into the Setup menu to enable 3D support for each input source.

Features
The NP216G is a DLP projector that supports a native resolution of 1024×768, which offers a 4:3 aspect ratio resolution. This isn’t a full-fledged, high-performance home entertainment project but is designed more for presentations and similar tasks. NVIDIA’s 3D Vision technology is supported, which is pretty unique for a projector these days.

Rear connectors with an option for an Ethernet connector

Rear connectors with an option for an Ethernet connector

Connectivity to the projector is present through the two D-Sub connectors, an S-Video and a Composite connector. 3.5-mm audio connectors are also available for inputting audio from a PC to the projector’s 7W inbuilt speaker. Like with all high-power consumption products, there’s a power saving feature. NEC claims that the lamp life is extended to 5,000 hours with it. NEC has integrated a meter that keeps track of the number of hours that the projector has been used and an approximate life expectancy for the bulb is displayed.

The throw range of the projector is between 1.2 and 13 metres. A contrast ratio of 2000:1 is stated by NEC. Setup up of the printer is simple. The two adjustable legs at the base of the projector allow you to raise and lower the front or back of the projector. Zooming and focussing is taken care of by the two rings. We had the projector up and running in a matter of minutes. There are other smaller features such as remote monitoring using the Ethernet port.

Performance
Like with monitors, projectors are really all about the performance. Although the NP216 is not an HD projector, it still offers good quality projection. Text and fonts appear clear. We setup the projector at a distance of roughly four meters and got an image way larger than you would with a 55-inch TV.

Controls on the top of the projector

Controls on the top of the projector

The colours on the NP216 are pretty accurate and vibrant. It’s got great black levels and it’s better than most LCD monitors and TVs that we’ve seen.

Colour fringing is visible on all white areas of the screens surrounded by a black body. We noticed this across all test patterns, as well as the mouse pointer. In movies however, the effect is very minimal and it doesn’t distract you. Contrast levels in the main gradient test was average. Only a third of all the blocks were visible. The same problem could be noticed across denser gradient test patterns on different colours. Colour intensity tests were fine for the most part, except for shades of blue and red, which weren't distinguishable. We also noticed flicker across densely packed patterns and a fine wave of noise like on a CRT monitor across the entire image. The D-Sub line is likely the culprit.

Slim remote control

Slim remote control

We also tried out the 3D Vision feature on the projector. We were rather surprised. While a resolution of 1024 x 768 can only bring in so much detail, the quality of the demos and games that we tried was satisfactory. We used an NVIDIA GeForce GTX570 connected to the projector using a D-Sub cable and synced to the NVIDIA active 3D glasses.

The audio quality of the inbuilt speaker is pretty bad like with most projectors. It’s not very powerful and it overemphasises drums and voice. Most other instrument sounds are drowned out. We recommend using a separate dedicated speaker set while playing content on the projector. Another plus is that the NP216 doesn’t get extremely hot.

3D ready NEC NP216G projector

3D ready NEC NP216G projector

Verdict
The NEC NP216 isn’t meant for entertainment, but with a built-in 3D Vision feature, it’s wrong to say that the product is only meant for presentations. Watching movies on it was enjoyable and we think it makes a decent, budget entertainment projector for your home. The ability to view fairly decent 3D content is an added bonus feature, especially for a price of Rs. 60,000.

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