Epson Powerlite 826W 3LCD Projector Review

Epson Powerlite 826W Projector: Bottom Line

The Epson 826W provides a lot of bang for the buck as a lower cost, widescreen projector.  It’s image quality, color rendition and scaling/resizing of higher resolutions is equal to more expensive multimedia projectors.  It provides networking capability (including wireless networking with the optional wireless LAN module) that is not found in much of the competition in this price range (like the recently reviewed Mitsubishi WD510U). Compared to the Mitsubishi WD510U, the 826W is $300 less expensive, almost as bright and the color reproduction is more accurate.

Overall, the 826W is a solid, low cost solution for the classroom or conference room requiring network capability.  As a portable projector, it’s of a size and weight typical of the lower cost portables. At seven pounds, it’s about twice the weight of some smaller projectors that are similarly bright, it’s also a good size or two larger. All considered, it may not be the first choice for someone who travels with a projector every day, but it’s just fine for occasional trips, or moving from room to room. The Epson Powerlite 826W displays photos and videos with a sharp picture and good color balance.  Once you add in the long lamp life, Epson’s excellent Road Service replacement plan and technical support, it’s a hard package to beat. Long term cost of operation is a big issue for schools. With a lamp life roughly double the average projector, the cost savings there may offset the extra time needed for those occasional filter cleaning/replacements. Most DLP projectors, by comparsion, do not have a filter to change, but their lamps typically aren’t rated as long a life, and typically are higher wattage, plus DLP projectors normally use more electricity (let’s say 20-25%).

The relatively powerful 10 watt speaker is a real plus, and money saver in a classroom environment, as most projectors come up short on sound, requiring additional expense for outboard speakers, wiring, etc.

Epson Powerlite 826W Projector: Pros

  • Good brightness, almost 2500 lumens
  • Very good image with native resolution or higher and very good color accuracy, rich, saturated colors help with brighter rooms
  • Lightweight – 7 lbs.
  • Excellent warranty and support via Road Service program and PrivateLine toll-free support
  • Long lamp life (up to 6000 hours), for low cost of operation
  • Quick power up and can be unplugged immediately after powered down
  • Ability to display JPEG slideshows without a computer via a USB storage device
  • On board interactive help
  • If mounted, the filter (and usually the lamp) can be changed without unmounting the projector
  • Good audio output capability with built-in 10W speaker
  • Ability to display from a computer via USB
  • Networking abilities including email notification for maintenance and mechanical problems, as well as presenting from other computers on the network

Epson Powerlite 826W Projector: Cons

  • No digital (HDMI or DVI) inputs
  • Partially limited presentation capability via wireless network connection
  • Remote has too many buttons the same size
  • Like most LCD projectors, has dust filter that must be maintained, unlike the most of the DLP competition This is more a cost of operation issue for organizations like schools, who need to maintain a lot of projectors.
  • Full user manual provided only on disc

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