Epson PowerLite 400W Ultra-Short Throw, Widescreen Business Projector Review
The first and most obvious thing about the Epson Powerlite 400W is the huge lens, relative to the size of the projector. It’s not a surprise, as wide angle lenses (short throw) use lots of glass, and ultra wide angle lenses, even more.
The lens is mounted off center – to the right (facing the projector), with the large infra-red sensor in the top center. A single drop down adjustable foot is located below the center of the front. There are also two rear screw thread adjustable feet for a stable three point stance. Interestingly there is also a fourth foot (not adjustable) sticking down near the front left side. I’m not sure of the actual benefit unless it relates to weight distribution, but it’s unlikely to touch anything if you are dropping down the front center foot.
Movine to the top of the Epson Powerlite 400W is an extensive control panel, shown here.
From the left are two indicator lamps; one for lamp, one for temperature. In addition, there is a third power status indicator by the Power button. The Epson uses the usual configuration of press once to power on, press twice, to power down. Moving further to the right is the Source Search button. That is followed by the arrow keys in the typical diamond configuration, with the Menu button to the left of the up arrow. The Escape button is to the right of the up arrow, and there is the usual center Enter button
The four arrow keys have a second function when the menus are not in use. The Up and Down arrows double for keystone correction, while the left and right arrow buttons control the digital zoom feature (1.35:1).
Lastly, is the Epson Help Button, which brings up an interactive Help menu. Select your topic, and the Epson offers up the appropriate controls, without having to track them down through the menus. Epson has been offering this for probably close to 10 years, and it really is a nice touch, although, to keep it simple, they limit the number of topics to those that they feel are most likely to be needed by the most people.
That takes us to the input panel on the back. Not a whole lot of surprises. The 400W does not have a digital input, which is too bad for some installations, however digital inputs (DVI or HDMI) still are not found on most portable projectors (defined as under 10 pounds).
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From the left: The rear infra-red sensor for the remote, a network connection, the obigatory S-Video and Composite Video inputs, along with one pair of audio inputs. Further to the right are the two analog computer inputs, which can alternately accept Component Video sources.
A stereo mini audio jack is located below each of the computer inputs. To their left, is an Audio Out – a nice touch that lets the remote control adjust the volume from any external powered speakers that might be hooked up to the projector. There is also a Monitor Out so you can also see the projected image on an external monitor, a feature that desktop computer users need. To its right is an RS-232C for command and control of the projector from a PC or other control system. Below that, is the power cord receptacle.
Note also, the speaker in the lower left corner. That’s an excellent place for it, considering the ultra-short throw nature of the projector. The audience will always be behind the projector, so the sound is pointing at them.
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