Epson PowerLite 85+ XGA LCD Multimedia Projector Review

A summary of the Epson PowerLite 85+ projector’s pros, cons.

The Epson PowerLite 85+ was awarded the Best In Classroom Award in our annual Classroom Projector Comparison Report -May 2010.

Update 6-30-11: We recently reviewed the Epson PowerLite 96W, an indirect replacement (with a more advanced feature set) of the 85+. Click here to read the projector review of the new Epson projector, which, like the PowerLite 85+, received our Best In Classroom award, in this year’s Classroom Projector Comparison Report.

Epson PowerLite 85+ Projector: Bottom Line

The bottom line on the Epson PowerLite 85+ is that for the MSRP price of $899 Epson has really packed a lot of power and features into one single low cost unit. At 2600 lumens, which is very respectable brightness that will handle just about every type of indoor projection environment you can throw at it. It’s native resolution of 1024×768 and its ability to handle even higher resolutions very well, make it a very versatile projector for more than just PowerPoint presentations. The only task that I feel the projector is not up to would be as a primary teaching tool if you were instructing people on how to use CAD or 3D modeling tools that require lots of screen real estate. I however would not recommend any XGA (1024×768) projector for that task. You will want to invest in a projector with a much higher native resolution.

One thing that is for sure is that color reproduction on the Epson PowerLite 85+ is superior to most units on the market. The color problems that plague DLP’s are not an issue with LCD’s and Epson’s 3 LCD panels produce colors that are accurate right out of the box. If true color reproduction is incredibly important, then the Epson PowerLite 85+ or any Epson projector is a good first choice.

Along with being priced right, the Epson 85+ is packed with extras. It’s optional capabilities like wireless connectivity offer a lot of flexibility and since the unit is very portable, traveling with it would be very easy as well. With PC free presenting via a USB drive, you can simply plug-in your keychain USB drive with Jpeg slides and leave the laptop at the office. All this and a 10 Watt speaker to get the audiences attention without a seperate sound system. When you combine all this with a standard lamp life of 5000 hours, you really have a winner.

Epson PowerLite 85+ Projector: Pros, Cons

Epson PowerLite 85+ Projector: Pros

  • Instant-off. Don’t have to worry about lowering lamp life by unplugging before cooling
  • Estimated 5000 hours of lamp life in standard mode
  • Filter is easily replaced without having to remove from ceiling mount
  • Sharp image even when projecting higher than native resolutions
  • Mic input so you won’t need a seperate sound system in most cases
  • Full featured control panel on the top of the projector
  • Fully networkable with messaging system
  • Priced competitively with a MSRP of $899

Epson PowerLite 85+ Projector: Cons

  • No wireless connectivity built-in (but optional)
  • Lack of digital input (HDMI or DVI)

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