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Epson BrightLink 696Ui Projector Review – Hardware 2

Posted on July 25, 2017 by Art Feierman

The Control Panel

Control panels are quite useful when within reach, though the 696Ui’s probably won’t be within yours. Since it will likely be wall mounted, you’ll be using the remote most often. Luckily, that remote control is well endowed – we’ll get into that in the next section. The control panel is located directly to the right of the lens when facing the back of the projector, and sitting on a table. In this position, the control panel will be upside down. We’ll take a look at the control panel as it was meant to be looked at – as it would look when the projector is wall mounted.

Epson Brightlink 696Ui Control Panel

The control panel is typical of most projectors, and has multi-functional arrow keys.

Starting at the top left, we have the Kensington Lock for security. To its right are a trio of buttons: Power, Home and Source Search. The Power button functions like those of most other projectors – tap once for on, twice for off. The Home button brings you to the projector’s home screen, which shows all sources, four useful functions (Power Consumption, Closed Caption, Split Screen and Auto Calibration), and some information on the projector like its IP address and projector name. Press that Home button again to exit the screen. Source Search allows you to manually choose the inputs, or it will seek out a live input and stop on the first one it finds.

Next are the navigational controls, which have the four traditional Arrow Keys and an Enter button in the center. Those Arrow Keys serve other functions as well. The up and down arrows control Keystone Correction, while the Left and Right Arrow Keys affect the lens for that digital Wide Angle to Telephoto Zoom. On the left side of the Up Arrow Key, we have our Menu button and on the right, the Escape button. That button lets you go backward in the menus one step, then out of the menus.

The Remote Control

Epson BrightLink 696Ui Remote Control

Epson has used this same remote across multiple models, including the Epson Brightlink 696Ui's predecessor, the 595Ui.

The remote control is one used across multiple Epson projectors. I recently reviewed the Epson PowerLite 680, an XGA business and education projector, that had the same remote. I found it to be well laid out. It is not backlit, which is not a problem as the 696Ui is bright enough to light up those buttons on its own. It can even be used over 20 feet back, and off-angle. The remote has 37 buttons on it, with some of those buttons having multiple functions.

The remote can be broken down into sections, the first of which includes the Power button, Source Search and multiple buttons to change between popular inputs. The Power button is a pleasing shade of blue, located at the top left. Source Search, a function mentioned in the above section, is opposite the Power button. Now, those Source Input buttons, of which there are four: Computer, HDMI/Video, USB, and LAN. They make switching between the modes fast.

Below that is a section which includes the 0-9 Number Pad, the Number button and ID button. Several of the number buttons serve a dual function. Number 3 is also the Link Menu button, 4 is Auto (for syncing a computer, if needed), Aspect Ratio, Color Mode (this button allows you to toggle through the choices), and Pen Mode. Pen Mode on the PowerLite 680 didn’t do much of anything at all, but with the interactive 696Ui, Pen Mode gives you two options: PC Free Annotation and PC Interactive.

The next section consists of four directional Arrow Keys surrounding an Enter button, and the Menu, Escape, User and Pointer buttons. The Enter button can double as a right mouse click – a useful feature. The Menu button is to the left of the Up Arrow Key. The Escape button’s function was discussed in The Control Panel section of this page, and is located opposite to the Menu button. The User button, which lives to the left of the Down Arrow Key, can be programmed to trigger a desired function. Directly across from it is the Pointer button that brings up one of three pointers used to draw attention to a specific area of the projected image.

Underneath, there is a section that has three functions with paired buttons. Those are: Page Up and Page Down, E-Zoom In and E-Zoom Out, and Volume Up and Volume Down. That E-Zoom is different than the digital Wide Angle and Telephoto Zoom feature, as it doesn’t affect the “optics,” but rather, allows one to zoom into the picture, keeping the size of the image the same. That means that when you zoom in, you’re losing the outside edges of the image.

The bottom section of the remote consists of four buttons: A/V Mute, Split Screen, Freeze (freezes whatever is on the screen) and Home. That’s it for the BrightLink 696Ui’s remote control, except that it does come with batteries – a pair of AA’s. Our next section explores the Menus, which are loaded with adjustable parameters.

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