NEC LT20 review

20 Oct 2006

Similar to the Toshiba and ViewSonic, but can't match Dell

Price when reviewed: 
786(£924 inc VAT)
3

The NEC, Toshiba and ViewSonic units are the same weight and size, have the same port layout and offer similar image quality from their 1,500 lumens, 1,024 x 768 DLP image systems. However, differences are more than just cosmetic. They have different menus, remote controls and features, as well as different prices.

At 1kg each, they're the most portable projectors around. Even packed with cables in their compact bags, they're still effortless to carry. They don't produce the best image quality in the group, but they aren't the worst and they all run quietly: in short, they're well suited to business presentations on the go.

The LT20's three-year collect-and-return warranty is the best of the three. Toshiba's three-year warranty is return to base (you pay the carriage costs) and, although ViewSonic's PJ256D provides a swap-out service, it's only covered for a year.

Interfaces on the back are the same as the other two machines, except that the NEC's USB port is reserved for servicing only rather than connecting to a notebook for mouse control. And, unlike the Toshiba, there's no automatic keystone correction; however, the simpler remote makes the LT20 easier to use overall.

Since the three projectors use the same "engine", image quality is very similar. Good focusing and the absence of colour fringing give clear text of any size, but the overall image lacks impact, with dark, murky colours. Switching to sRGB mode is better, but a lack of brightness left our photomontage and DVD clips lacking detail.

If price is the deciding factor, the ViewSonic is slightly cheaper to buy and run. The pricier Toshiba has better image quality, automatic keystone and mouse control. But ultimately, none of the three can match the outstanding Dell, which is roughly the same size and weight, and only £13 more than the NEC.