Epson EX5230 Portable Projector Review
The Epson EX5230 has a zoom lens with a 1.2:1 zoom ratio and with a specified throw ratio range of 1.48 to 1.77. For the following measurements and evaluations, I positioned the projector at just over 100 inches from the screen and set the projector’s zoom lens to its mid position.
The EX5230 is a very bright projector. It has a rated light output of 3500 lumens and my measurements show that the peak light output (measured near the center of the projected image) exceeded the Epson specification in the brightest mode. Below are the measured peak lumens values for the various color modes and when using the projector’s out-of-the-box settings.
Color Mode Lumens of Light Output
The factory default settings for brightness and contrast were nearly correct. However there was a slight amount of “White Crush” which was easily corrected by reducing the setting for the contrast by one unit (i.e., to a setting of -1).
The above lumens values were measured with the projector operating in normal lamp mode. Changing the projector to “Eco” mode reduced the light output to approximate 2/3 the brightness of normal mode.
I measured the brightness uniformity with the projector sitting level on a table. The vertical and horizontal keystone adjustments were set to zero, meaning no electronic keystone correction was being used. The brightest point was near the center of the image and the greatest light fall-off was measured at the top right corner of the image where it was nearly 40% lower than at the brightest point. There was less drop-off in brightness at the other three corners. While the degree of light fall-off measured at the at the top-right corner could be visually observed when projecting a full white test image, it was not very obvious when viewing normal video material.
There was a minor color uniformity issue with the unit reviewed. When projecting a full white test image there was some yellow shading observed along the left edge of the image. However, this was not very obvious when viewing normal video material.
The Epson EX5230 is specified to produce a noise level of 37 dB in normal lamp mode and 29 dB in Eco mode. These values, especially in normal operating mode, are toward the upper end of what is typical for this class of projector. While the noise level, especially with the lamp operating in normal mode, is certainly audible, it should not be distracting to most people when this projector is being used in a business conference room environment. Changing to the “Eco” mode resulted in a noticeable decrease in noise level and to a level similar to that from a typical home theater projector when such a projector is operating in its normal mode.
The EX5230 has a single 2 watt built-in speaker that produces adequate volume to not only overcome the projector’s fan noise but also is sufficient to provide the audio in a small conference room. As is expected from such a modest size built-in speaker and with only 2 watts of power, there is no real bass and the maximum volume is limited. Overall, the EX5230 produces average sound quality and volume for this class of portable projector but less than some other models, including some from Epson. It certainly will work well for voice narrations and background music for an audience seated around a typical conference table. If used in a larger room with a audience spread out over a greater area then an external amplified speaker could be used instead of relying on the small internal speaker.
The Epson EX5230 has no built-in network connection provisions (i.e., neither a RJ45 connector for a wired network connection nor built-in Wi-Fi support for a wireless connection). Rather, Epson offers an optional Wi-Fi adapter that plugs in the projector’s USB-A port on the rear of the projector. The EX5230 does include the user menus to set up the wireless networking, for when the Wi-Fi adapter is installed. These menus enable the wireless networking setup needed to enable network connections to computers and mobile devices for displaying content from those devices. Unlike some otherwise similar Epson projectors sold for the education and business markets, the EX5230 is not set up for monitoring and control over the network by an administrator. Since the EX5230 is intended to be a portable business model, rather than being permanently installed, this seems an appropriate limitation for this model.
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