Epson BrightLink 450wi Interactive Projector - Review Summary
A summary of the Epson BrightLink 450wi projector's pros, cons.
3-12-2010 -Anthony Arrigo
Epson BrightLink 450wi Projector: Bottom Line
In summary, the Epson BrightLink 450wi is a value priced whiteboard solution that is bright enough at 2500 lumens to handle most presentation environments. The contrast ratio is a respectable 2000:1, for respectable blacks. The Brightlink 450wi is very well suited and very capable in boardrooms, K-12 classrooms and vocational training facilities, for a wide range of projection, and interactive capabilities. There are some very high resolution scientific, engineering, and other old "workstation" type applications that call for more resolution than this Epson offers, but it should be fine for almost everything mainstream.
Installation is straightforward and almost identical to mounting a flat screen tv. The projectors internal menus are well laid out and labeled for clarity, which I think is important if you are going to have a lot of different presenters with different technical abilities. The remote could have been designed better and buttons made a little more discernible, but as mentioned, once in the menu system, the navigation to get from screen to screen is easy to navigate through without looking at the remote. The Epson has remote mouse capabilities, but as is the case with most built-in remote mice, the movement of the mouse is difficult using arrow keys. I highly suggest a remote mouse with gyroscopic capabilities if you really plan to use that feature a lot.
The annotation software and use of the pen was very smooth and self explanatory. Made so simple in fact, that just a few minutes of playing with it should be all that is required to get the hang of how it works. Below is a recap of some pros and cons.
Epson BrightLink 450wi Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
Epson BrightLink 450wi Projector: Pros
• Decently bright at 2500 lumens
• Excellent 2 years limited parts and labor warranty with 1 extra year through Brighter Futures Program
• Ships with a mount and rechargeable batteries and charger
• Easily replace lamp without taking down projector
• Produces fairly large image up to 96 inch diagonal
• Long lamp life of 3500 hours in ECO Mode
• Works on virtually any surface because of Color Mode feature
Epson BrightLink 450wi Projector: Cons
- Filter must be cleaned or replaced
- Lacks HDMI or DVI input
- WXGA nate resolution may not be high enough resolution for some of the really high end, high resolution scientific and engineering work.
Editor's notes: I'm a big fan of various interactivce solutions for business and classroom. My last company was a large projector reseller, and also a dealer for SmartBoard. These tools are extremely effective when used properly.
In considering interactive solutions you can go with a system like Smart Board's where one option is board and a projector (it can be a short throw projector similar to the Epson's (though usually DLP), or there are big "big screen TV" types. Smart's distinguishing thing is their very respectable software solutions. With the Epson, you get all the basic features and with their optional software package, from one of the interactive developers. you are elevated to competing with a lot of the SmartBoard's versatility. I don't expect that you'll get all the same amount of features, with the Epson, but it should prove well endowed, none the less.
In exchange the Epson setup, combined with a whiteboard, is dramatically less expensive than a SmartBoard solution with projector. Depending on the size of the boards, and aspects of the projector you choose, I would expect the Epson can save more than a third, in many cases, perhaps more. With the smaller boards, savings will be less, but you can get a large board setup with the Epson for pretty much the same price as one of the smallest SmartBoards and a projector. That's a huge difference.
In a K-12 or university classroom evironment, it's often a numbers game, and you may be able to equip 50% more rooms for the same price. If you need the Cadillac features of the Smartboard great, but many will find products like the Epson to do more than enough, for significantly less money.
My take, is that this Epson is one of the first, for the lack of a better term, Utility interactive systems. A good deal of functionality, and, you never know, even quite possibly, access to Smartboard software solutions or those of other board manufacturers. How much remains to be seen, but a company like Smart, probably realizes that their depth of software may be the bigger revenue source, than their physical SmartBoards. We shall see.
These interactive projector and board systems really do have a lot of powerful features even without considering a lot of the specialty applications.
It's time for IT and AV managers to be exploring the benefits of this class of interactive solution. Smart users, long ago concluded the productivity value of these systems. -Art
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