Epson BrightLink 450wi Projector - Physical Tour
3-12-2010 - Anthony Arrigo
Epson BrightLink 450wi Setup and Menu
Being that the Epson BrightLink 450wi is an interactive ultra short throw projector it mounts a little differently than most. This particular unit uses a mounting system much like a plasma display. Keep in mind that the mount does not attach to the ceiling, but instead to the wall. Once properly fastened, an arm is then attached to the mount that extends out a few feet over the screen. A special mount is then attached to the projector. The projector slides on to the arm and can then be adjusted forward and back to achieve the desired image size. The 450i can produce a max image size of 96 inches diagonal. Overall the installation is pretty straightforward and I feel could be handled by someone familiar with either hanging plasmas or someone that is capable of finding a stud to mount the wall mount to. The projector weighs 14 pounds with the mount arm so it will be important to mount into a stud. To use the interactive features Epson provides the drivers and interactive software. Once installed you plug the USB cable into your computer and the other end into the projectors USB Type 2 port. Once completed, you will need to calibrate the projector to your screen size. Epson provides two levels of calibration. The main difference being the amount of dots you have to hit with the pen to calibrate. I found the simple calibration was all that was necessary to get the pen to work accurately.
The BrightLink is a little different looking than most projectors. Starting from the front you will notice the projectors buttons are conveniently positioned on an angle towards the presenter and all the projectors internal menus are available from the control panel. The lens is fixed, and does not look like your conventional projector lens. Adjusting zoom is either done by physically moving the projector forward and aft, or digitally. We recommend not using keystone correction or the digital zoom to achieve the proper image as it will reduce image sharpness. This is common across all projectors and is not unique to Epson or this model.
Moving to the middle of the projector you will find the input panel. The input panel is covered by a sliding door with an opening at the top so the cables can run through. The cover is easily removed during installation so everything can be hooked up without a problem. You will find two VGA computer inputs, VGA out, a Microphone input, LAN port, RCA port, and a USB Type B and Type A input. The type B USB input is the connection that makes the projector and desktop/laptop communicate with each other. On the other side of the projector you will find a door that covers the filter. It is easily opened without tools. Keep in mind this unit has an optional port for a wireless module. The port can be found directly below the filter. The IR Sensor for the interactive pen is near the lens, so directly overhead. When presenting, standing away from the screen, the included remote control has a range of about 19 feet. The BrightLink also comes with a 10 Watt monaural speaker which is definitely adequate for mid-size conference rooms and your typical K-12 size classroom without the need for an amplified stereo system. However, should you want more audio power, the Epson does come with an audio output.
Epson BrightLink 450wi Menus
The one thing I have been always impressed with is the menu system Epson provides. What I like most is that the menus are clearly labeled. This is not the case with all projectors, so not having to fumble around while making adjustments is definitely a benefit. One final thing about the menu I liked was that switching color modes could be done without entering into the menu system. So as you change from different sources you can change the color mode without stopping to dig into the menus and thus slowing the pace of your presentation.
Epson BrightLink 450wi Remote Control
I was not totally impressed by the remote control. It is fully functional but most of the buttons except the navigation buttons are the same size, so you clearly would have to keep looking at the remote during the presentation if you wanted to change settings like the source, or to freeze the image at certain points. This just ruins the fluidity of the presentation in my opinion and more thought could have gone into the buttons and arrangement.
The issues with the remote that I just described are not as important when working with the menu system because it is controlled with the up, down, left, right and center Enter key which are large and easily discernable under the thumb without looking.