Epson Powerlite 1735W LCD Projector - Performance
2-8-09 -Mike Rollett
While the overall image quality of the Epson 1735W places it in the upper echelon of multimedia projectors, its real strength lies in the flexibility it offers the business person for their presentation needs. Let’s examine these features further.
The 1735W is rated at 3000 lumens. As we’ve found to be typical of Epson projectors, it did achieve its rated spec. In Game mode (the brightest), we measured 2958 lumens at mid-zoom range. At full wide zoom, this increased to 3042 lumens. However, using Presentation mode (which would probably be the most often used mode), we only measured 2357 lumens. Photo mode, another mode that might often be used, drops slightly to 2281 lumens. Other lesser used modes would be Theater – 2231 lumens, sRGB – 2281 lumens (same as Photo) and Blackboard (specifically designed with a color balance to work with school blackboards) bringing up the rear at 1880 lumens. As the 1735W is designed to be portable, the lumen output is more than sufficient for normal presentation rooms.
To put this all in perspective, a less powerful 2000 lumen projector can fill a 100" diagonal screen with enough light to do a good, though not perfect job in a well lit conference room. Take that to 3000 lumens, and it's downright impressive. That makes the Epson Powerlite 1735W very suitable for small to medium sized rooms with audiences of up to, say 100 people, even with a fair amount of lighting. If you need to present to larger groups still, say 400 people, on a 25 foot diagonal screen, this Epson can tackle that as well, but you will need to keep the room lighting to moderately low levels.
If video is your thing, those dark scenes wash out quickly (which is why home theater is done in the dark), so you won't be able to handle as large a screen with content that isn't always fairly bright. Still for business presentation type videos, a 10 foot diagonal screen isn't unreasonable, with some control over the room lighting required.
To put this all in perspective, 7-8 years ago, 2000 lumen, 20+ pound projectors (some up to 40+) were the "standard" for large room presentations (150-400 people) on large screens up to 25 foot diagonal, and many cost $5,000 - $10,000+. Back then, most companies would rent those huge projectors for their presentations at conferences and hotel ballrooms. It's almost amazing to realize this tiny Epson is noticeably brighter, and less than 1/10th the size of those old "monsters".
We just about filled one of our 100" 16:9 diagonal screens with the image from the Epson. With two bright ceiling recessed lights just about 10 feet from the screen, the room is moderately bright, yet the image doesn't wash out at all (Presentation mode) when viewing things like spreadsheets, websites, and Powerpoint presentations.
These couple of images show the room lighting (the screen in the second one is not the one used for the Epson (it is, in this case, the back wall).
This small, cropped image (as were all the screen images) was taken with the lighting shown above. The image is bright and easy to read. Larger images are below in the sharpness section.
My laptop happens to be the same resolution (1280 x 800) as the 1735W. Very small (8 pt.) text was fairly sharp and easily readable on a 90” diagonal projected image. This was true of white text-on-black and yellow text-on-dark blue backgrounds as well. Keep in mind that even emails and spreadsheets are normally at least 10 pt. type. Most formal presentations (Powerpoint, etc.) are primarily large type, with Titles of 40 pt. or larger, and "body text" typically 24 - 36 point, though sometimes 18 points. Small type around charts and graphs typically are 14 to 18 points.
The image above on the left shows (click for larger version) very small type down to 8 points black on white, up to large type. Further down is white text on a black background. Click on the second image for further down on the page, where you can see yellow type on a dark blue background (tougher to do well). Nicely done.
I should note here that there is an auto keystone feature that is enabled by default. While this is useful for a quick setup, it has (like most keystoning) a detrimental effect on the image quality. While keystone correction can be acceptable, and basically unnoticeable on large type presentations (Powerpoint, etc.), it can make reading small text more difficult. If doing typical "in-house" working presentations (spreadsheets, emails, Word docs, or even graphic presentations with fine lines, it’s best to turn this feature off, and suffer a slightly non-rectangular image, rather than a perfect rectangular image that is harder to read, and broken fine lines. If you must use keystoning, you should still align the projector as much as possible to minimize its effect. Keep in mind though, that the detrimental effects of keystone correction differ depending on the amount of keystone correction used, but the loss of sharpness and precision is about equally apparent, whether you use a lot, or a little.
Switching to XGA (1024 x 768) resolution to test the 1735W’s video processing, the image quality remained quite good. While some of the smaller text was not as sharp as it was at the native resolution and subject to edge distortion, it should be noted that it is unlikely that anyone would use text this small for a presentation, as you’d have to very, very, close to the screen to read it.
Powerlite 1735W: Bottom Line Sharpness
This Epson provides a crisper looking than most image. Certainly the DLP competiton looks a touch softer, in general. Thanks to good compression technology (for non-native resolutions), and sharp performance in native resolution, this Epson has to be considered a very good performer in terms of sharpness.
The 1735W allows for simple wireless connection to any desktop or laptop with 802.11 a/b/g capability. There are two ways to connect wirelessly to the 1735W. The first, and easiest, is to plug the supplied USB key into the rear USB port of the 1735W to record the network information. Then plug the key into any available USB port on your computer and follow the installation screens that appear. This only takes a few minutes and when done the computer image will project on the screen.
The second way to set up a wireless connection is to install the software from the CD provided with the 1735W. Your computer will see the 1735W as an available wireless network and you can connect to it.
Note: Some of the main networking menu features are shown in the Menu section of the Physical Tour page.
So, why would you bother with the second way to create a wireless connection? Well, the answer is that if you need to display videos over the wireless connection, you can’t do it using the wireless key. Even then, you’ll want to use the software’s video player to display videos over the wireless connection. Using another player, like Windows Media Player, results in choppy playback with any video.
Using the Epson software will give you clean, smooth playback, but you are limited to certain file types and resolutions (only .mpg, .wmv and .asf files will work) and they can’t be greater than a 30 fps frame rate or 720 x 576 resolution). Basically, if you display high quality video (from formats other than those listed above) and/or full screen video on a regular basis, plan on using a wired connection.
Not surprisingly, this Epson is not particularly quiet. It's not easy to cram 3000 lumens in a tiny box, and cool it properly without a moderately loud fan. Still, the noise level is such that while noticeable, there's no need to shout over it when presenting. In a conference room, you won't have to talk any louder because of the projector, than you normally would while presenting. Officially, the 1735W's audio noise is at 39db when at full lamp power, but drops to a very quiet 30db in low lamp power setting. To put that in perspective, 30db is fairly typical for home theater projectors running at full power, and of course, audible fan noise is shunned by home theater enthusiasts. Bottom line, could be a bit quieter at full power, but the noise level is not likely to be an issue in almost all presenting environments, and certainly not when presenting in the larger rooms that the 1735W's 3000 lumens allows.