Epson BrightLink 455wi Interactive Projector - Performance
The Epson BrightLink 455wi projector earned our Best In Classroom: Interactive Projector Award in this year's 2011 Classroom Projector Report: The Best School Projectors for K-12 Education!
May 19, 2011 - Anthony Arrigo
455wi Projector - Performance
The part that most have been waiting for is the interactive portion of this review. The Epson BrightLink 455wi comes with two pens and software known as the Easy Interactive Driver that allows you to draw on the surface of the projected image. Both pens that are included are identical. They provide two just in case you happen to lose one. However, the best part of having two pens is that you can tag team present without having to hand over the pen to the other presenter. I believe this keeps the presentation flowing smoothly and I was impressed that Epson included two pens instead of just one.
The pen has a really nice feel to it and the fact that the tip has a slight dampening to it made movement seem pretty precise and comfortable. The dampening is what initiates the pen to start drawing. Switching between Working Mode, which makes the pen act like a mouse, and Annotation Mode was made easy by just clicking the mouse icon in the Epson Interactive Menu and then clicking the pen to get back to Mouse Mode. You can see an example of that in the images below.
Choosing different colors and drawing shapes are all easy to reach and select since the interactive menu sits over the presentation surface. The toolbar can be hidden with a tap as well. I do feel that the pen, although it has a button that acts as a right-click, could have had another button designed to toggle the pen between Mouse Mode and Annotation Mode without having to go and tap the menu system. I want to note that the projector does come with interactive software, but the projector is compatible with other whiteboard software as well.
For an additional $100 dollars the BrightLink ships with software called EasyTeach that has a whole host of tools and lesson plans designed to give you more tools and more features to further engage the audience. I did find that the simple tools were a great way to introduce new users to interactive projector technology without overwhelming them. After a little use, it should be no problem to move to more feature rich interactive applications. The pictures below represent some of the things you can do with the standard software that ships with the projector.
Simple color and pen thickness selector.
Advanced color selector and pen thickness.
Draw on the desktop or over any software program.
Drag and enlarge spotlight over content.
Brightness And Video Quality
The Epson BrightLink 455wi was a solid performer in terms of brightness. Manufacturer rated at 2500 Lumens the projector seemed to perform close to this mark. In Dynamic Mode the projectors brightness measured out to be 2315 Lumens. Dynamic Mode is not the default setting out of the box. Presentation Mode is the default and its brightness measured 1929 Lumens. 1929 Lumens is plenty bright for just about every size classroom regardless of the lighting. It is not uncommon for projectors to measure 20-30 percent below manufacturer specifications. In the projectors other color modes the projectors brightness started to drop considerably, but this is not uncommon since lowering brightness and changing the color a bit is all part of how the image gets enhanced for certain types of content. For instance, Photo Modes brightness measured out at 1386. Blackboard Mode produced 1411 Lumens and Whiteboard Mode had the most significant drop at 1157 Lumens.
Video quality was very solid. A 2000:1 contrast ratio is not ideal for video considering home theater projectors have contrast ratios much higher, but nonetheless I was impressed with the picture quality. There should be no problem at all with showing instructional videos or a major feature film. The 16:10 aspect ratio will make watching films even more cinema like.
The BrightLink 455wi was in line with other projectors in terms of the noise that it makes while running. It is rated 35db in Bright Mode and 28 in ECO Mode. Switching to ECO-mode did reduce the noise a bit since the fan isn't working as hard. Overall the 35 db rating is perfectly acceptable and should not be a distraction at all in a learning environment.