NEC M311X Projector - A Great Mix of Features & Performance

Launch SRP: S$1299

NEC NP-M311XG: Overview


Feature-packed Business Projector

For most business and education users, the number one feature to look out for in a data projector is brightness, because a lot of times, it’s neither possible nor practical to have a darkened room. In fact, some presenters rather have all the lights turned on, so that they can maintain eye contact with their audience. The NEC M311X (the exact model number for those interested: NP-M311XG) that we’ve here fits the bill to a T with its 3,100 lumens maximum light output. A 3LCD projector with a native XGA resolution (that’s 1,024 x 768 pixels), it’s also equipped with a generous 1.7x zoom lens and an HDMI video input.

Now, for those keeping track of NEC's projector lineup, you’ll notice that the M311X is very similar to the M300X announced in late 2010. Indeed, NEC has retained most of M300X’s specs on its successor, and tweaked a few areas to better target would-be buyers. For one, the newer M311X’s headline 3,100-lumen brightness is slightly higher than the M300X’s 3,000 lumens. Also, contrast ratio (full on/off) has improved to 3,000:1 (from 2,000:1). But perhaps more significant is the fact that the same NP15LP lamp now last 66% longer under Eco mode. According to NEC, the average length of time for the lamp brightness to drop by half with Eco mode enabled is now 10,000 hours; previously, it was 6,000. With Eco mode disabled, the average time span remains at 5,000 hours, which is still very long. (4000 hours is pretty much the standard for a 3000-lumen data projector these days.)

Before we dive into the useability and performance aspects, here are some other notable features of the M311X:

The M311X has no lack of video inputs: HDMI, VGA (two), S-Video, composite - you name it. You get monitor-out, RS-232C, and RJ-45 terminals too. Notice there are also two different USB ports (we'll explain their uses later).

Buttons on the cabinet are nicely sized and clearly labeled. Labels along the edge give you an idea of the positions for the topmost row of connectors. Afraid of misplacing the lens cover? Well, the M311X has a built-in sliding lens cover; when closed, it 'mutes' the video and audio.
Removing a cover at one side reveals the port for the optional wireless LAN dongle. Notice here that we've also removed the snap-on filter cover. The lamp cover is easily removed with a Phillips screwdriver. The position makes lamp replacement a breeze even when the projector is ceiling-mounted.  
The Good
High brightness (3,100 lumens)
Flexible 1.7x zoom ratio
Plenty of connectivity options, including dual VGA and HDMI inputs
Good data and video image quality
Very long 10K hours lamp life in Eco mode
The Bad
Several tools not supported on the Mac (GCT, USB Display, remote mouse)
Slight color shift
Visible pixel structure at a close viewing distance

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