450wi Projector - Performance
Before I get into the brightness performance and other aspects of the Epson BrightLink 450wi I want to get to the part that I am sure most are interested in, and that is how the interactive part of the projector performs. The 450wi comes with two pens and software that allow you to annotate on the surface of the projected image. Both pens are identical. They provide two just in case you lose one or more importantly if you and a colleague are tag-team presenting at the same time. Once calibrated, I found the pen to be extremely responsive and accurate.
It has a nice feel to it and the fact that the tip has a slight dampening to it made movement seem very smooth. The dampening is what initiates the pen to start drawing. Switching between working mode, which makes the pen act like a mouse, and annotation mode was made easy by just clicking the mouse icon in the Epson Interactive Menu and then clicking the pen to get back to Mouse Mode.
For an additional $100 dollars the BrightLink ships with software called EasyTeach that has a whole host of tools and lesson plans designed to give you more tools and more features to further engage the audience. I did find that the simple tools were a great way to introduce new users to interactive projector technology without overwhelming them. After a little use, it should be no problem to move to more feature rich interactive applications. The pictures below represent some of the things you can do with the standard software that ships with the projector.
450wi Projector - Performance
Simple color and pen thickness selector
Advanced color selector and pen thickness
Draw on the desktop or over any software program
Drag and enlarge spotlight over content
Brightness And Video Quality
At 2500 lumens in its brightest mode and 1740 in ECO-mode, the Epson 450wi performed well in an environment with a fair amount of ambient light. 2500 lumens is not considered really high brightness by todays standards, but it certainly means you can project with lights on and still produce a nice vibrant image. If you are displaying photos for clients, or if color and contrast are incredibly important to you, then you will want to control the lighting and dim environment down a bit. However, for most presentations, the brightness level is definitely adequate. Although the specs say 2500 lumens, actual measured lumens in Bright Mode were pretty spot on. ECO-mode brought the brightness down by about 30 percent, but the image was still very bright. If you find that ECO-mode works for you, definitely use it. It will extend the lamp life an estimated 1000 hours.
Video quality, although not this projectors main strong point, was very satisfactory. The 2000:1 contrast ratio was good enough to make out a fair amount of detail in dark scenes. The 450wi was not designed to be a dedicated video projector, but it does come with a Home Theater color mode that although it drops the brightness down, it does create a better overall image for video presentations.
The BrightLink 450wi produced the typical amount of noise that you can expect from any projector. It has a rated 35db in Bright Mode and 28 in ECO Mode. Switching to ECO-mode did reduce the noise slightly since the fan does not have to work as hard. All in all fan noise was not a distraction and would not detract from the presentation.