Epson BrightLink 455wi Interactive Projector - Review Summary
A summary of the Epson BrightLink 455wi projector's pros, cons.
May 19, 2011 - Anthony Arrigo
Epson BrightLink 455wi Projector: Bottom Line
In summary, the Epson BrightLink 455wi turned out to be a great projector for interactive teaching. The 1280x800 native resolution and its ability to project an image up to 96" diagonal really made this projector a true contender in the interactive projector category. Even better is that Epson includes the ceiling mount with the projector. And all this at a very competitive price compared to other similar interactive projectors.
Epson also has done a fine job in thinking of all the accessories that an instructor might need. I was particularly impressed that they created a mobil screen and mount for this projector should you want to transport the projection system to various rooms. You do have to purchase that seperately.
The interactive features of the projector are very straightforward. It should take literally only a few minutes of playing to get the hang of how to use the features of the special pen that comes with the projector. Drawing was smooth depending on the surface you presented on, but it was also accurate and quick in terms of response.
The only real con that I found about this projector that other interactive projectors don't have is the fact that you have to mount the projector either above the screen or you can buy a special mount and project the image onto a table and have people annotate on the table. However, you can't put the projector on a table and project onto a wall screen. So, plan to ceiling mount if you purchase this projector.
The overall design and aesthetics of the BrightLink 455wi were impressive. In closing, the projector is clean looking and the mount that goes with it is also well designed. I also like that they have used a cover over the input panel. This really makes for a cleaner look. Epson has created a solid, well thought out, easy to use, interactive projector that definitely should be considered if you are looking for a great teaching tool.
Epson BrightLink 455wi Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
Epson BrightLink 455wi Projector: Pros
• Bright at 2500 lumens
• Excellent 2 years limited parts and labor warranty with 1 extra year through Brighter Futures Program
• Projector ships with a mount
• Can project downward onto a table with special mount
• Easily replace lamp without taking down projector
• Produces fairly large image up to 96 inch diagonal
• Works on virtually any surface because of Color Mode feature
Epson BrightLink 455wi Projector: Cons
- Filter must be cleaned or replaced
- Lacks HDMI or DVI input
- Must be ceiling mounted if you plan to project on a wall
- WXGA native 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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