Epson BrightLink 595Wi Projector Review

BRIGHTLINK 585WI PROJECTOR – PICTURE QUALITY:  Color Modes,  Color Performance, Image Quality with Text, Contrast, and Sharpness

BrightLink 595Wi - Color Modes

The Brightlink 595Wi offers a selection of seven preset color modes.  Impressively, most modes can claim to offer a range from pretty good to downright great color.

The must light output comes when using the Dynamic mode, which is very usable on the 595Wi, although not the first choice if you want maximum color accuracy.   With Dynamic mode the color balance shifts toward excessive greens.  This occurs more toward the white end of the grey scale with especially bright greys and white appearing to have a noticeable, but not extreme, green tint.  This is a very usable mode with this projector when maximum light output is need and it does not have the “over the top” color shift as seen with many other projector’s dynamic mode.

Presentation mode also has moderately excessive greens, but in this mode the amount of green shift seems fairly uniform from dark greys, thought mid and bright greys  and upto to full white.  A little better colors overall than dynamic mode but it was still less accurate than the best modes.  With most projectors of this type the Presentation mode is second only to Dynamic mode in brightness, but with the specific unit I reviewed this mode came in third behind Sport mode.

The Theater Mode looked very good when using the default settings.  When viewing video from a Blu-ray player, I did note the color intensity was a little too high so I reduced the setting for the projector’s Color adjustment a little to correct that.  The projected image was also just a little too warm with mildly excessive reds, but overall providing fairly accurate colors.  I took a few minutes to tweak the projector’s Color Adjustments for red, blue and green levels to improve the grey scale.  The two images below show the grey scale measurements first with the factory default settings then in the second image after I made the adjustments.

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BrightLink 595Wi – Theater Mode Grey Scale w/ Default Settings

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BrightLink 595Wi – Theater Mode Grey Scale w/ Adjustments

In this latter case the color temperature tracks near 6500K throughout most of the range.  The color adjustments I made were to set the Red level to -3, the Green level remained at the default value of 0, and the Blue level was set to +3.  While the 595Wi does not have the low black levels and high contrast ratio found with true home theater class projectors, the 595Wi produces an image that is very bright with accurate colors when operated in the Theater mode.  As for color gamut (color saturation and hue) accuracy the 595Wi was very good for this class of projector, as can be seen in the image below,

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BrightLink 595Wi – Theater Mode Gamut

Basically this shows the 595Wi is capable for a great picture considering this is a classroom class projector.

Sports mode was a little excessive on the greens with an overall somewhat cool appearance.  Not bad, but the colors were less accurate than with the theater mode.  Other than Dynamic mode, Sports mode was the brightest with the default settings.

Photo mode tended to be a little too warm with a the image that was shifted a little toward the reds with the blues a little too weak.  Still a reasonably good picture.

sRGB mode produced a somewhat warm image with rather weak blues.   Certainly a less accurate image than produced by the Theater mode and not quite as bright as the Theater mode.

Blackboard mode is, like the name implies, intended to project onto a blackboard.  This mode intentionally has a substantially different color balance than the other modes.  I did not evaluate the 595Wi when projecting onto an actual blackboard.

Whiteboard mode has good very colors with the factory default settings producing just a very slightly cool image.   Color accuracy both in terms of grey scale and gamut were both very good.  The Whiteboard mode may very well be the most frequently mode used with the 595Wi, since all of the interactive features of this projector are enabled in this mode and an actual whiteboard is likely to be the most common projection surface to be used with this projector in the intended classroom application.  Overall the out of the box color performance is excellent in Whiteboard mode.

BrightLink 595Wi - Picture Quality

The above section discusses the image color accuracy in each of the 7 color modes.  The Photo Gallery above shows photos taken from the screen with the projector operating in Theater Mode and using the Blu-ray Disc release of Monuments Men playing on a Panasonic player as the video source.

Overall the Theater and Whiteboard modes offer the best image quality for viewing video.  The W595Wi projects images that look good during bright scenes but some shadow details are lost during dark scenes.  This is typical for a 3LCD business or classroom projector.

BrightLink 595Wi - Image Sharpness with Text

As can be seen in the gallery photos above, the Brightlink 595Wi does a very good job in clearly displaying text.  I noted just a very little red-blue-green misconvergence when viewed up close to the screen, but his was not visible from normal viewing distance.  Convergence is never perfect with any projector using 3 display chips, be it a LCD, DLP or LCoS based projector.  The recent Epson models that I have reviewed have, overall, been improved in this respect than the typical 3 chip projector from just a few years ago.   The sharpness/readability of text projected by the 595Wi is primarily limited by the projector’s native 1280 x 800 resolution rather than its lens or the convergence of the 3 primary colors.  This is a good thing as some ultra-short throw projectors have a problem in achieving uniform focus over the entire projected image, but this is an not issue with the 595Wi.

I also tested the 595Wi’s performance for scaling high resolution signals down to the projector’s native 1280 x 800 resolution.  The 595Wi does an excellent job with this and even when the input signal is at the highest resolution (i.e., 1920 x 1200) that can be accepted by the 595Wi through its HDMI input, this displayed text (close-up photo below) appears to have similar sharpness compared to when the input is at the projector’s native resolution, as shown in the gallery photos above.

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Brightlink 595Wi - Image Contrast

While this Epson may do a great job on color, it shares with other LCD projectors the basic limitation of having lower native contrast than other technologies.  That means that blacks aren’t as black, more dark gray, than say, a typical DLP projector.   When critically watching a movie in a fully darkened room – theater, that difference is rather dramatic.  In the real world of classrooms and conference rooms though, all lights out is a real rarity in this day and age.  Noting that even a small amount of ambient light wipes out a lot of contrast, the Brightlink 595Wi works well enough in terms of contrast and black levels for the situations it’s designed for.  Yes you can get higher contrast, and no matter how much ambient light a projector with higher contrast will remain higher, but the difference, with no ambient light up to a fair amount, goes from big difference to barely noticeable difference.  Few would trade Epson’s really good color for a touch blacker blacks in a classroom with some lighting on.

Epson does provide a dynamic iris to help out with the black levels.  That also improves the contrast numbers they publish a little, but as with many other classroom and business projectors, the projector also dims the lamp when the input image goes full black and that produces the very low black level the manufacturer will use to calculate the published contrast ratio.  Since this does not indicate how much contrast a projected image will actually have, the contrast ratio listed in the spec. sheet for such projectors is of very little value.  The bottom line though is the Brightlink 585Wi has reasonable contrast and  black level performance for almost all uses.  Contrast is definitely not a strength of the Brightlink 595Wi projector, but nor is it a significant weakness, as it could be if the projector was used in a fully darkened room and on content where contrast is extremely important.

 

Brightlink 595Wi - Bottom Line on Picture Quality

Overall, the Brightlink 595Wi deserves an A for picture quality from a classroom class of projector.  While we do not calibrate commercial projectors for color accuracy, there are multiple good to great modes, and menu features to adjust color further, such as I noted above for the description of the 595Wi’s Theater Mode.  The 595Wi also displays text that is very sharp over the entire image.  Few, if any will find the 595Wi lacking in terms of picture.  Oh, there are higher resolution projectors out there, and some with significantly better contrast, but in the real world this Epson basically nails picture quality in the areas that count, for a classroom or board room projector.

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