Epson BrightLink 485Wi - Physical Tour
April 2012 - Anthony Arrigo
Epson BrightLink 485Wi Appearance
The Epson BrightLink 485Wi is pretty well designed projector and being white, it should in most situations not be a visual distraction. The fact that it mounts so close to the screen, but still produces a large image, makes it even less noticeable. Imagine, as I describe the unit, that it is wall, or ceiling mounted. Looking up, and at the part facing away from the screen, you will see the control panel. From here, you can access all the projectors internal functions. Although you can make all the necessary changes via the control panel, the remote that comes with the 485Wi is really the most efficient way to navigate the menu system.
Just beyond the control panel is the lens, and the interactive sensor. The lens is encased inside and not accessible to the user. The sensor that is used for interaction is more exposed, since it is not part of encased lens area. The area in black, in the image below, shows the encased lens in the background and the sensor in the forground. It looks like a camera lens.
Let's move to the input panel. It is very extensive, and Epson really made sure there was no signal that the projector could not accept. Starting from the left upper portion of the input panel we can see a HDMI port. Then, just to the right, there is a USB Type B port. This is used to make the projector interactive when it is connected to the projector. I should explain that the USB Type B port can be used to send audio, and video from the projector. However, if you want smooth pen motion when using the interactive software, you should use the USB Type B port for the interactivity. Let the video signal come from the HDMI port, or the VGA port. There is also a USB Type A port, which is often used for PC free presentations from a USB thumb drive.
For command and control, the Epson also features a RS-232 port and a LAN port. You can control all the projectors functions via a web browser, assuming it is connected to your network. Continuing on, there are two VGA inputs, and two audio inputs. They are 3.5mm mini dim inputs. For composite and s-video you have to inputs for those signals as well. Including a 3.5mm audio output jack. Last, but not least, you have a mic input. The projector has a 16 watt monaural speaker which is pretty powerful since a lot of projectors in this class feature 10 watt speakers. However, some projectors come with two 10 watt speakers. Sound, however, was pretty clear and was definitely loud enough to satisfy a small auditorium.
The bottom of the projector features adjustable feet for mounting. It also has all the necessary threaded holes for the ceiling mount. Mounting the projector to a wall so it can hang over the screen, is the most recommended way to use the projector. However, if you do want to table mount it, the adjustable feet are a huge help. The ceiling mount holes are also used when you choose to mount the projector horizontally to shine onto a table.
The filter is really easy to access. No special tools are needed to clean them. Just press the plastic latch on the door, swing open and you can remove them for cleaning or replacement.
Setup and Menus
I spent some time above explaining the setup of the projector. With the included mount, installation is going to be easier and more cost effective than having to ceiling mount the projector and possibly having to reinforce a false ceiling. Having said that, no interactive projector is incredibly simple to install. At least when it comes to mounting it so you get the desired image size. What is nice, is that the projector can slide on the mount, giving you some freedom to make adjustments. The main thing with the Epson 485Wi to remember, and just about all ultra short throw projectors, is that you really only need to find studs or a secure surface to screw the mount into that will hold the weight.
The projectors menus were typical Epson. Easy to use and labeled very well. The remote made accessing the functions very easy. I will discuss, in more detail, the menu regarding the interactive aspects of the projector in the section titled, "Interactivity."
Below are some examples of what the menu system looks like. Keep in mind that you can access menu functions via your web browser and will have a whole host of features.
Remote Control and Pen
The remote control that comes with the Epson BrightLink 485Wi is very compact, and very feature rich. Switching color modes, and sources is easy, since there is a button available to switch them. Also, the functionality and speed at which the projector and remote respond to input, seemed to be quick, without a lot of lag. The configuration of the buttons and the use of shapes to differentiate different functionality, mean that a minute, or so, of studying the remote is all it might take to be able to control the projectors functions, without even glancing down. Not all remotes are designed this well. If you are concerned about the flow of your presentation, then a good remote can help you deliver a more fluid presentation should you need to do a lot of source switching. I would never say a remote should be a deal breaker, but the ergonomics of a remote can be worth paying attention to.
The interactive pen is well designed with a smooth, hard, plastic tip. It definitely is meant for writing on smooth, whiteboard surfaces. The pen does not respond well on bumpy surfaces, since it has to touch the screen to work. You will notice when you touch the tip down to the writing surface, that the whole writing head of the pen compresses in. This basically initializes the pen for drawing. It is very nice to use, and comfortable. I felt that the pen responded well to my movements and was very accurate. Overall a very good experience. Should also mention that the BrightLink 485Wi comes with two pens, so you can share the board with another user.