A shade smaller and lighter than the Mitsubishi XD221U, the NEC NP115 instantly makes an impression thanks to the clean lines of its matt-white, plastic body. The fact that all its major controls are cleanly separated on the top making it easy to pick the option you want without accidentally hitting other buttons (we re looking at you, Optoma EX531p) is a boon too. Inside the NEC NP115 is a DLP video projection system with a 2,000:1 contrast ratio and 800 x 600 SVGA native resolution.
However, the NP115 is capable of supporting resolutions well in excess of that up to and including 1,920 x 1,080 which allows you to feed it with HD video from your Mac even if you won t be able to enjoy the content at its full resolution onscreen. Like the Mitsubishi XD221U, the NP115 has a built-in speaker, although its modest 7W output reveals a bass-light, tinny sound that can be wearing to listen to for extended periods. Some corners have evidently been cut when it comes to connectivity too, with just one VGA port, one S-Video and one composite video port, plus discrete audio input and output sockets and an RS-232 connection for hooking up an off-board controller. Again, you ll look in vain for HDMI, DVI or mini-DisplayPort connections here.
The NEC NP115 does offer a good range of image tweaks and colour settings, all of which are accessible via onscreen menus. These vary in complexity, but are easy to navigate. We particularly like its wide range of picture presets, which are designed to produce the right colour balance when you re pointing the projector at coloured walls (green, blue, yellow, etc), obviating the need for a dedicated projection screen. Other practical measures include a security slot and bar to keep the projector in place, as well as a password mode in the event that NP115 should be stolen. Replacing the 5,000-hour lamp (eco mode) is fairly easy, with access via a screwed-down flap on the top of the projector. However, it s picture quality where the NEC NP115 really shines. With 2,500 ANSI Lumens to play with it s capable of producing bright, good-looking images, even in ambient light.
The only obvious issue is a lack of detail in very dark areas of the picture, but that s a problem all budget projectors suffer from.