Classroom Projector Report: Epson Projectors Commentary
For Epson, we considered the PowerLite 435W (click for full review) , which won our Best in Classroom Runner-Up award, in this year's Classroom Projector Report. Here, we will take a look at the other PowerLite projectors.
6/18/2012 - Art Feierman
Epson Projectors - A Quick Look
|Epson PowerLite 425W||
Epson PowerLite 435W
|Epson PowerLite 470||
Epson PowerLite 480
What they all have in common:
3LCD technology, 3000:1 contrast ratio, HDMI, Monitor Out (VGA), 16W mono speaker, closed captioning, network notification, network control, optional wireless networking, remote mousing, short-throw lens, filters that need to be changed after up to 5000 hours, don't need to unmount to change the lamp, 2 year warranty with overnight replacement, no 3D capabilities
Epson PowerLite 425W
The Epson PowerLite 425W is the least expensive in this family, and also the closest relative to the PowerLite 435W we awarded our Best in Classroom Runner-Up award to in this year's K-12 report. While the 425W and the 435W are very similar in terms of features (closed captioning, network notification, network control, optional wireless networking and remote mousing), inputs (HDMI and Monitor Out) and other aspects (native widescreen 1280x800 resolution, 3000:1 contrast ratio, 16W speaker, a short-throw lens and a 2 year warranty with overnight replacement), there are some definite distinctions between the two.
$100 cheaper at $1049, the PowerLite 425W is slightly dimmer than the 435W at 2500 lumens instead of 3000. It also lacks the USB input that its award-winning sibling offers.
However, the PowerLite 425W is more portable, weighing 8.5 lbs. instead of the 435W's 11.7 lbs. This means you can more easily transport the PowerLite 425W from classroom to classroom or down the hall to another conference room, which is a convenient bonus. It also has a longer lamp life, lasting 5000 hours in full power and 6000 hours in eco-mode, whereas the 435W only lasts 4000 hours in full power. That means less frequent lamp replacement, which is nice considering the lamp for both projectors costs a hefty $299 to purchase.
Basically, if you're looking to save a little money and don't mind the lacking lumens or USB, the Epson PowerLite 425W is a great choice. We promise it will perform well too, since its sibling, the 435W, truly impressed us.
Epson PowerLite 470
The PowerLite 470 is more loosely related to the 435W than is the 425W above. The main difference between the two is that it is not widescreen (for which the W in 425W stands). The PowerLite 470 has a native XGA (1024x768) resolution. It is much closer in size to the 435W, weighing 11.5 lbs. (fairly easy to move but not "portable" by definition). Like the 425W discussed above, it lacks a USB input too. If you're all about hassle-free, computer-free, cable-free presentations, you might like to choose a projector with a USB input. However, the PowerLite 470, like its siblings, does have optional wireless networking capabilities if you desire no-fuss presentations.
The PowerLite 470 is dimmer than the 435W, with 2600 lumens instead of 3000 lumens. The lamp life is also significantly shorter - 3000 hours in full power and 4000 in eco-mode (the 435W is 4000 hours in full power and 6000 in eco-mode). However, while the lamp is dimmer and lasts for a shorter period, the replacement lamp only costs $79 compared to the 435W's $299, which makes maitenance of the PowerLite 470 more cost-effective in the long run. But this difference is balanced out with a higher price tag ($1399 versus $1149).
Long story short - the PowerLite 470 is a fine projector, but you get more for your money with the 435W. We prefer the award-winning 435W, especially if you think widescreen might be a good choice for you.
Epson PowerLite 480
The Powerlite 480 is the most expensive of the four projectors at $1499, $350 more than the 435W. The 435W and 480 have the same brighness of 3000 lumens, but the lamp life of the Powerlite 480 is again shorter with 3000 hours in full power/4000 in eco-mode, compared to the 435W's 4000/6000 hour life. The Powerlite 480 also lacks the 435W's USB input and weighs about the same (11-12 lbs.). The replacement lamp cost is $79, which, as mentioned above, saves you maitenance costs but is added back in with the higher initial projector cost.
Still, the PowerLite comes with the same cool features of the 435W. It has the 16W speaker that can handle ample sound requirements in your presentations. It has the same network notification/control capabilities and the same optional wireless networking. It is also short throw still, meaning you can place the projector close to the screen and still have a great picture (ideal for small presentation environments). All four projectors also have HDMI and Monitor Out, which allows for increased connectivity to external sources such as cable/satellite boxes, Blu-Ray players, laptops and gaming consoles.
All in all, we agree that the PowerLite 435W, which we gave our Best in Classroom Runner-Up award to in this year's K-12 report, is the finest projector of the bunch. While it's in the middle of the pack price-wise, it is the best equipped and gives you a great picture.