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Epson Brightlink 585Wi Projector Review - Picture Quality

Posted on May 15, 2014 by Art Feierman
BRIGHTLINK 585WI PROJECTOR - PICTURE QUALITY:  Color Modes, Overall Color Performance, Contrast, Quick note about Sharpness

Brightlink 585Wi Projector Color Modes

The Brightlink 585Wi offers a selection of six preset color modes.  Impressively, five of the six modes can claim to offer a range from pretty good to downright great color.

Not even Dynamic - the brightest, shows the usual tendency of projectors' brightest modes, which is to favor strong greens.  Dynamic, like Presentation mode (the two brightest modes) are not the least "over the top"  unlike most projectors.  In fact the Dynamic mode is very usable, although not the first choice if you want maximum color accuracy.  That would still be the Theatre and sRGB modes, which are less bright, but as you can see, all the modes except Blackboard (which has intentional color shift) sport good color!

The image player here shows the same test image of kids, in each of the modes, to give you a good idea of the Brightlink 585Wi's color capabilities.  These photos were taken without any adjustments at all to the default settings of their respective modes.

Picture Quality - Color

The Brightlink 585Wi has claims 3300 lumens, and measured close enough (within 1%, in Dynamic mode).  We measure the traditional white lumens.  Epson also claims 3300 color lumens.  We did not measure the color lumens this time.  However in the last two years a Color Lumens industry standard was also developed.  We've experimented, measured, and even created an in-depth video showing the differences in color (especially in the brighter modes) between projectors claiming high color lumens (the same number of lumens as they claim white lumens), against other projectors that measure relatively low color lumens.

From a marketing standpoint today, projectors with the same color lumens as white tend to point that out, while projectors that have much lower color lumen counts tend to ignore the topic.  Typically 3LCD and LCoS projectors tend to have high color lumens, while non-home theater DLP projectors tend to have low color lumens, in part due to their color wheel designs including a large clear "slice" in addition to R, G, and B.

The point of all this, is that the Brightlink 585Wi offers up very good color even at maximum brightness, whereas some competitors really have to surrender about half of their measured brightness before color quality becomes comparable.  That makes a real difference in the value proposition of these projectors, as well as meaning that a projector with high color lumens can cut through more ambient light while still preserving color.

The image collection above include some browser images, Powerpoint, and more to give you a good idea of what real world images look like.  I would simply say:  Nicely done.   These images were taken using Presentation mode.  Rear down facing lights are on, but those don't throw much light at the screen.

Epson has done a really nice job with their color modes for the Brightlink 585Wi projector.  I think, for example, it has the best (least green, etc.) Dynamic mode of any of the five Epson commercial projectors we'rve e viewed in the last year, and that's saying something.  Lots of bright modes with at least good color, and great color with more than half of full brightness in modes like Theatre.  Nicely done!

Brightlink 585Wi Contrast

While this Epson may do a great job on color, it shares with other LCD projectors the basic limitation of having lower native contrast than other technologies.  That means that blacks aren't as black, more dark gray, than say, a typical DLP projector.   When critically watching a movie in a fully darkened room - theater, that difference is rather dramatic.  In the real world of classrooms and conference rooms though, all lights out is a real rarity in this day and age.  Noting that even a small amount of ambient light wipes out a lot of contrast, the Brightlink 585Wi works well enough in terms of contrast and black levels for the situations it's designed for.  Yes you can get higher contrast, and no matter how much ambient light a projector with higher contrast will remain higher, but the difference, with a fair amount of ambient light vs none, goes from big difference to barely noticeable difference.  Few would trade Epson's really good color for a touch blacker blacks in a classroom with some lighting on.

Epson does provide a dynamic iris to help out with the black levels.  That also improves the contrast numbers they publish.  The bottom line though is the Brightlink 585Wi has reasonable contrast and  black level performance for almost all  uses.  Contrast is definitely not a strength of the Brightlink 585Wi projector, but nor is it a significant weakness, as it could be if the projector was used in a fully darkened room and on content where contrast is extremely important.

Comment about Sharpness

Sharpness is primarily dealt with in the Performance section, with plenty of images, but one can't really have a complete discussion of overall picture quality without sharpness deserving some commentary.

This Epson produces a very nicely sharp image.  Now there's nothing normally unusual about that, except that it is an ultra short throw projector, and many of the competing ultra short throw projectors qualify as being anywhere from fair to poor in terms of sharpness.  (There are other good ones, but, really sharp, ultra short throw projectors are really the exception at this time.)

Click Image to Enlarge

Bottom Line on Picture Quality

Overall, the Brightlink 585Wi deserves an A for picture quality.  While we do not calibrate commercial projectors for color accuracy, there are multiple good to great modes, and menu features to adjust color further.  Few, if any will find the 585Wi lacking in terms of picture.  Oh, there are higher resolution projectors out there, and some with significantly better contrast, but in the real world this Epson basically nails picture quality in the areas that count, for a classroom or board room projector.


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