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Imaging Devices

Widescreen Projector Shootout Bright And Wide (Part 1) - EPSON EB-1945W, NEC P451W

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4/14/2014 11:51:09 AM

Looking to ditch that outdated SVGA projector that you’ve been using for the past six years? Here are four new, super-bright and long-lasting 3lcd widescreen projectors to consider.

EPSON EB-1945W

Features & Setup

Traditionally, a strong suit of Epson’s multimedia projectors is a great mix of performance, features, and usability - the EB-1945W is no exception. Setting up this 4,200-lumen projector is easy: Both horizontal and vertical keystone correction happens automatically, and you can even tackle any corner that doesn’t align properly in an independent manner. From DisplayPort and HDMI, to D-Sub and composite connectors, it plays nice with both analog and modern digital output devices. If you happened to misplace that VGA cable, a USB cable is all you need to continue the presentation.

Description: EPSON EB-1945W

EPSON EB-1945W

And when you’re offsite, you can take advantage of the built-in USB reader to project images sans PC. Equipped with both wired and wireless connectivity, the Epson EB-1945W is also a strong candidate if you want to manage a fleet of them remotely. Scheduling power on/off timings, checking the status, and receiving maintenance alerts are all possible. If you’ve an Android or iOS device, remember to install the free Epson iProjection app. It provides a stress-free way to wirelessly project stuff on your device on the screen. It also turns your device into a touch remote control.

Performance

The EB-1945W may have been in the market for more than a year now, but it’s no less capable than some of its few months-old rivals. If you’ve a bright room, Dynamic mode is the way to go, as it’s the mode that’s capable of pushing that claimed 4,200 lumens of brightness. Color brightness is also strong for this 3LCD projector, good news for presentations that need text and images to be onscreen at the same time. The 1.6x manual zoom lens helps in placement flexibility, and we could easily achieve a 100-inch, 16:10 image at a projector-to-screen distance of 3 meters.

Description: EPSON EB-1945W connector

EPSON EB-1945W connector

For movies, while the EB-1945W isn’t a full HD projector, its Faroudja DCDi Cinema chipset did bring about very pleasing results when we threw the Blu-ray version of Iron Man 3 at it. But to tame the brightness and give the picture a more natural look, we had to switch to the Theater color mode. The 10W speaker fared okay with music and dialog, but creaked to an audio mess when there was too much going on. Lastly, if you’re bothered by that 37dB hum, consider switching to Eco mode, which drops the noise level to 29dB.

NEC P451W

Features & Setup

You can think of NEC’s new P series as the more professional version of the company’s well-established M series portable projectors. All the good things about the M series are found here: Easy setup, generous 1.7x zoom lens, an Eco mode that prolongs the lamp life up to 6,000 hours, a plethora of I/O options (including two HDMI inputs) on the clearly labeled back panel, a USB reader for PC-less presentations, and networking support (both Ethernet and Wi-Fi). There are also plenty of Windows-based tools to aid the user get the most out of it, including an on-screen remote control, a geometric correction tool that does advanced image distortion correction, and the ability to transmit images and sound over the network or USB cable. iOS users also get to enjoy the free Wireless Image Utility app, which enables wireless projection of both photos and documents from Apple’s mobile devices, and which incorporates useful annotation and pointer features. But what really sets this beamer apart from the others are its high 4,500-lumen brightness and vertical lens shift function (0 to +0.6V), which make the P451W a tempting entry-level installation projector if you’re looking to outfit a large venue.

Performance

The P451W started up and detected the video source quickly, and was able to ramp up to set brightness in less than a minute in our tests. Its maximum light output (4,500 lumens) is the highest of the bunch, but take note that this is only achievable in High-Bright mode.

Description: NEC P451W

NEC P451W

But even at the most power-saving Eco mode, it still pushes a very decent 2,300 lumens, which is plenty for a small room. Needless to say, images are very bright at High-Bright mode, even at the widest end of the lens. For data, we noted razor-sharp text and good color saturation; and for movies, we are impressed by the excellent contrast and preservation of shadow details. While performance is pretty much spot-on out of the box for us, tweakers will be happy to know that the P451W offers plenty of controls, such as gamma correction, color temperature (six options going from 5,000 to 10,500K), and white balance settings, to get the picture just right. The built-in 16W monaural speaker does go louder than the 10W ones its rivals come with, but it’s still only about good enough for adding a soundtrack to a presentation than anything else.

 

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