Epson BrightLink 48Wi - Interactivity
April 2012 - Anthony Arrigo
Epson BrightLink 485Wi Interactivity
Let's talk about what everyone has been waiting for, and that is, interactivity. Epson has produced some great interactive projectors in the past, and the BrightLink 485Wi continues this tradition. Hooking up the interactivity is pretty straightforward, and, believe it or not, you will not need any special drivers or software to take advantage of the projectors interactive features. Having said that, I should mention that to truly get the most of the interactive features, you will want to install the software that comes with the projector. It will allow you to save your annotations, and it offers a few other features that only the software can provide. However, since you can annotate over any signal, you might find that you don't need the software.
The reason you can annotate over any source, like HDMI, or composite, is the fact that Epson has installed on-board software in the projector that allows for this kind of interactivity. The fact that you can annotate over video is a really nice feature. I can just see how important that might be for educators, and your typical presenter. A presenter could pause a movie, and draw arrows to point out certain aspects of a scene. Or, one might use it to draw shapes around areas of the screen that the presenter wants the user to focus on when a particular video lesson is being viewed.
All the typical annotation features are available, and Epson has kept the interface and the functionality very simple. It isn't overly sophisticated. Straight ouf of the box it might not have 100's of special objects and tools at your disposal, but one thing that was clear is that it was easy to get up and running and using the tools with little to no effort. Other interactive projectors that I have reviewed had a lot of special tools, but I did find learning how all the interactivity worked, and accessing some of the simple features that one would use everyday, got lost in the clutter. Now, if you had proper training and wanted to read through the manuals, then these other projectors might be a good fit for you. However, if you want simple and straightforward, the BrightLink 485Wi is a good choice that your staff will be able to adopt in little time. Below, are a few pictures showing the tools in action. I will cover a few more features, and the pen, following the images.
The on-board software also allows you to isolate parts of your presentation by creating a virtual shade. By dragging the mouse, you can create a circle of focus, and the area around that circle becomes black. It is expandable and can be moved with the pen. There is also a quick Whiteboard Mode so you can easily turn the screen completely white and then annotate over a fresh canvas.
The Epson BrightLink 485Wi was a pleasure to use. Its simplicity, yet extra features, like annotating over multiple sources, made this a true standout interactive projector.
If you do install the software on your laptop, or PC, you will need to connect the projector to your computer via a USB Type B cable, that is included. Once that is set up, you use Epson's speccial pen, it comes with two, to control the projector. The pen acts as both a mouse and a writing tool. A simple tap of the pen tip on the mouse icon that shows up when you start the interactive software is all it takes to switch from mouse mode to draw mode. Really simple.