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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

Projectors used to be clunky devices that were so large they had to be wheeled around. You had to always carry a bunch of adapters and accessories. On top of that, they would only work in a darkened room. Boy, have times changed! The new Epson PowerLite Presenter is light and portable. It includes just about everything you need, even speakers and a DVD player. And it puts out 2,500 lumens so it can be used just about anywhere. We were excited to take a look.

The Epson PowerLite Presenter comes in an unassuming cardboard box, as shown in Figure 1.

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 1: The Presenter box.

Inside the box is the projector in a black cloth case along with a power cord, a VGA computer cable, and a white remote control, shown in Figure 2. Batteries for the remote are also included.

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 2: The projector with accessories.

Also included, and shown in Figure 3 is the User’s manual on CD, a quick setup guide, and a PrivateLine support card

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 3: Misc. support materials.

[nextpage title=”The PowerLite Presenter”]

At 9.4 x 13.2 x 5.0 inches (23.9 x 33.5 x 12.7 cm) and 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg), the Epson PowerLite, shown in Figure 4, is not the smallest projector on the market, but it is extremely portable as well as good-looking.

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 4: The Epson PowerLite Presenter.

The Presenter even has a handle on the side that makes it easy to carry, as shown in Figure 5. The included soft black fabric case folds over the handle so the handle can be used with the cover on. Shown in Figure 6. In Figure 5, you can also see the hole that is provided for a security cable.

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 5: The side of the PowerLite Presenter.

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 6: The handle with the case on.

The front of the Presenter, shown in Figure 7, has a built-in slot-loading DVD, which is very handy for presentations. Next to that slot is the DVD eject button. On the front you can also see the standard headphone port and the protective door that closes over the lens. This door must be manually opened and closed.

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 7: The front of the Presenter.

In Figure 8, you will see that the projector has adjustable feet on the bottom.

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 8: The bottom of the Presenter.

[nextpage title=”Setup”]

Setting up the PowerLite Presenter is fairly easy. All of the ports are on the back of the Presenter, as shown in Figure 9. There is an HDMI port on the left. Next to that is a VGA port for a computer. The composite and component video and audio ports are next to that. On the right side is a USB port (Type B). Under these ports, you will see 2-10 watt speakers flanking the microphone input, the power connector, a digital audio out and a Type A USB port. The Type B USB port is used for an instant connection to a PC. The Type A USB port can be used for a USB thumb drive, providing PC-free slideshows.

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 9: The back of the Presenter.

There are only three steps to getting the projector to work with your PC. Connect the PC to the projector using the computer video port, transfer the video to the external video port (usually done by a key-combination on laptops) and choose the source on the projector. Actually, the projector may find the source automatically, but in some circumstances we found we had to press the SearchSource button on the top of the device.

Hooking up the computer by USB is almost as easy. The projector will automatically install the software needed for the USB connection. (It is in the projector.) All you have to do is answer a few questions on the screen. Be aware though, some patience may be needed. It can take some time for the software to start installing. On a Vista laptop, it took about 4 minutes. However, on an older XP computer, it took more than ten minutes, during which time you are left wondering what you did wrong. Our complaint was not so much the amount of time that the installation took, but rather that there were no prompts or windows that gave any indication that anything was happening.

Also, while the USB software will work on a PC, it is not available for the Mac.

You can also use the HDMI port of the projector to hook up other video and audio sources, like an Xbox, a PS3, or a Wii.

[nextpage title=”Controls”]

Almost all of the projector’s controls are on the top of the Presenter, as seen in Figure 10. There is an on/off button, a source search button, play/pause button and a stop button. Next to that are the volume controls. To the right of that is a four-way choice controller with an Enter button in the middle. Above the controller are the setup and menu buttons. Below are the visual setup and return buttons.

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 10: The top of the unit.

The projector
comes with a remote control, shown in Figure 11. All the functions that are available on the top of the unit plus a few more are available on the remote. As you can see in Figure 11, the remote has a lot of useful controls, like volume, keystone, and others. It even has a Subtitle button to control the built-in closed-captioning decoder.

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 11: The remote control.

Unfortunately, you cannot control the mouse from the remote, so you will have to use either the controls on the laptop or a wireless mouse or mouse substitute to do that.

[nextpage title=”Performance”]

Once you the picture you want is displayed by the projector, you simply adjust the zoom and focus rings, shown in Figure 12. Both operate smoothly and so it is easy to make any needed adjustments.

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player Combo ReviewFigure 12: The zoom & focus rings.

In our testing, the HDMI and/or VGA computer connection gave excellent results. While the USB connection was adequate, it was a little slow and sometimes slightly jumpy.

The beauty of this projector is that it has so many connection options. Besides USB, HDMI, and VGA hookups, it also has composite and component hookups. And it is so versatile that you may not even need a computer. You can put your presentation on USB key. The projector is capable of reading several formats, including JPG, MP3, WMA, DivX, and MPEG. Even more exciting is the ability to put your presentation on a DVD that can be popped right into the projector without the need of a PC. This projector can play music CDs and audio on USB devices and you can save your PowerPoint presentations as JPGs and play them from a USB thumb drive.

Whether you use a projection screen or a lightly painted wall, the PowerLite Presenter produces excellent quality video and presentations. It can display a 33” to 320” image from 3’ to 35.7’ away, respectively, so you can display big images from a short distance.

Epson’s 3LCD technology uses three separate imaging chips to use light more efficiently and produce colorful images. This projector lives up to Epson’s claims of amazing image quality as it delivers excellent color and detail.

The PowerLite Presenter has a native WXGA resolution (1280 x 800 pixels) and a 16:10 aspect ratio. It can also handle 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios and scale resolutions from VGA through to WSXGA+ (1680 x 1050 pixels), so even the display from large widescreen computers and DVDs looks good.

With a maximum brightness output of 2500 lumens, the Epson PowerLite Presenter will produces bright images that can be seen in a normally lit room, making it suitable for a conference room, classroom or home. One thing to note here is that Epson measures white light output according to the ISO 21118 standard, a more rigid standard than the ANSI lumens rating used by some competitive products.

The Auto Color Mode selects the optimum setting, based on the ambient light and adjusts picture settings for the best viewing experience. In our testing, it worked quite well.

Not only does Epson’s E-TORL lamp which give adequate brightness, but it is energy efficient. Anyone who uses projectors on a regular basis knows the pain involved with having to replace expensive projector bulbs. Epson rates the Presenter lamp life at up to 5000 hours which may reduce the frequency with which the end user has to endure that pain.

Since most projectors have only mediocre sound , the sound quality of this Epson projector really impressed us. The twin built-in 10 Watt speakers and the virtual surround sound were as loud as most televisions. You can also plug a microphone into the projector when giving a presentation to amplify your voice without a special audio system.

The top and side of the PowerLite Presenter get hot, but we ran it for several hours without any overheating. The fan is pretty quiet, but certainly not completely silent.

Custom support options are available for business and academic use. All are generous and include a two- or three-year warranty, road service and Epson PrivateLine availability. A PrivateLine card comes with the PowerLite Presenter. This gives you a special 800 number to call for service. I called the number several times and found that service it be quick and right on target. One caveat here, you must register your product in order to use the special number and this is not explained in the documentation that comes with the projector.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

Epson PowerLite Presenter Projector/DVD Player combo main specifications are: 

  • Dimensions including feet: 13.2" x 9.4" x 5.4" (33.5 x 23.8 x 13.7 cm)
  • Dimensions excluding feet: 13.2" x 9.4" x 5.0" (33.5 x 23.8 x 12.7 cm)
  • Weight: 9.5 lb (4.3 kg)
  • Projection System: Epson 3LCD, 3-chip optical engine
  • Projection Method: Front
  • Driving Method: Epson Poly-silicon TFT Active Matrix
  • Pixel Number: 1,024,000 dots (1280 x 800)
  • White Light Output: 2500 lumens (ISO 21118 Standard)
  • Color Light Output: 2500 lumens
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:10
  • Native Resolution: 1280 x 800 (WXGA)
  • Resize: 640 x 480 (VGA), 800 x 600 (SVGA), 1024 x 768 (XGA), 1152 x 864 (SXGA), 1280 x 960 (SXGA2), 1280 x 1024 (SXGA3), 1280 x 768 (WXGA60-1), 1360 x 768 (WXGA60-2), 1440 x 900 (WXGA+), 1400 x 1050 (SXGA+), 1600 x 1200 (UXGA), 1680 x 1050 (WSXGA+)
  • Lamp Type: E-TOR 200 W UHE
  • Lamp Life: Up to 5000 hours (ECO mode) or up to 4000 hours (normal mode)
  • Throw Ratio Range: 1.30 – 1.56 (16:10), 1.56 – 1.87 (4:3)
  • Size (projected distance): 33" – 318" (2′ 9" – 26′ 6") (0.84 m – 8 m)
  • Contrast Ratio: Up to 3000:1
  • Color Reproduction: 16.77 million colors
  • F-number: 1.58 – 1.72
  • Focal Length: 16.9 mm – 20.28 mm
  • Zoom Ratio: Optical zoom 1.0 – 1.2
  • Input Signal: NTSC, NTSC4.43, PAL, M-PAL, N-PAL, PAL60, SECAM
  • Speaker: 10 W x 2 (stereo)
  • Operating Temperature: 41 to 95° F (5 to 35° C)
  • Power Supply Voltage: 100 – 240 V ±10%, 50/60 Hz
  • Power Consumption: 310 W (normal mode), 0.3 W (standby)
  • Fan Noise: 29 dB (ECO mode) or 33 dB (normal mode)
  • Warranty: 2 years for projector and 90 days for lamp
  • More information: https://www.epson.com
  • MSRP in the US: USD 900.00

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Projectors have come a long way in the past few years and Epson showcases the changes in its USD 900 PowerLite Presenter. The excellent technology and powerful light output produces brilliant images. The sound quality is exceptional.

The connectivity options are excellent. The Presenter can be hooked up to computers, USB drives, camcorders, digital cameras, and gaming consoles. The built-in DVD player is extremely useful.

Everything about the Presenter is easy to use. We especially liked how easy it was to switch sources. You can have half of your presentation on the computer and the other half on a DVD and still present it smoothly.

This PowerLite projector is perfect for the classroom or boardroom. While you probably won&
rsquo;t buy the Presenter for home use, you may find yourself bringing to home occasionally.

Pros

  • Bright, high-quality images
  • Built-in DVD player
  • WXGA (1,280 by 800)
  • Reads USB memory keys
  • Long lasting bulbs
  • Easy-to-use
  • Built-in closed caption controller
  • Multiple inputs
  • Excellent sound
  • Switch easily between inputs
  • Easy to carry

Cons

  • No Mac USB support
  • USB setup takes awhile with any notifications
  • Fan is a bit loud