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Epson BrightLink 696Ui Projector Review – Performance

Posted on July 26, 2017 by Art Feierman

Brightlink 696Ui Brightness

Epson Brightlink 696Ui Brightness
Color Mode Lumens
Dynamic Mode 3,963
Presentation Mode 3,758
 Cinema Mode 3,697
 sRGB Mode 3,390
 Blackboard Mode 3,047

To quote Art Feierman from his review of the Epson Brightlink 585Wi, “We still haven’t figured out a good way to accurately measure the brightness of an ultra short throw projector like this Epson.” The statement rings true for this Epson as well. With an ultra short throw projector, the angle of the light can vary from slight to steep, and with the distance being so short, it truly is a challenge. Tilt the light meter at too sharp an angle, and you get readings all over the place. I found the sweet spot with the 696Ui, though, so these readings will be close to accurate, though will likely differ from other reviewers’ measurements, even if they are using identical light meters.

That said, the Epson Brightlink 696Ui measured over claim! This is rare with projectors, though not so much with Epson - if anyone tends to measure in over claim, it's them. Dynamic Mode, the brightest mode, came in at 3,963 lumens - that's 163 lumens over its 3,800 lumen claim. Nice. If you don't have a framework for how bright that is, just know it's quite overwhelming in a fully darkened room. This mode is designed to cut through harsh ambient light, and it does a stellar job of doing so. As you learned on the previous page, you don't even have to sacrifice good color for high brightness.

The second brightest mode, Presentation Mode, measured just under claim at 3,758 lumens. How about that? It's second brightest mode is nearly as bright as Epson claimed the brightest mode to be. Pretty neat, I think. This is another mode that is excellent for classroom use, and is even good enough to use when viewing films in a high-ambient-light setting without losing out on good color. I actually used this for watching TV and playing video games in the day time (curtains open) to test out its performance, and it was more than satisfactory. By the way - games were enjoyable on this projector with no detectable input lag (that is, the amount of input lag that this projector has would be a number within the acceptable range).

Cinema Mode is the 696Ui's best mode and third brightest, coming in at 3,697 lumens. This is my favorite mode because it has the best color and is still bright enough to be used during the day without the curtains drawn. Now, I like myself, so I darken the room as much as I can when watching anything, but I was still pleased to see I could make out details of a projected image in this mode with the curtains open.

sRGB Mode, as mentioned earlier, is similar to Cinema in color but is also noticeably darker. That's because of the 307 lumen drop between the two. This mode can also deal with a fair amount of ambient light without losing too much. Blackboard Mode, the mode you're least likely to use, has the lowest brightness of the five modes at 3,047 lumens. That's still really bright. Overall, no matter what your lighting conditions in the classroom are, you're likely to find a mode that perfectly fits your situation and color preferences.


The Epson Brightlink has a 16,000:1 contrast ratio - better than some, sub-par to others in the same projector class. It's not really important to talk about contrast on a classroom projector like this, but I will say this - black levels are not so good. This is to be expected on most business/education projectors, as there's no real need for good black levels outside of home entertainment. The black bars seen on a widescreen movie are a dark gray.

Perhaps on a competing DLP projector, you would find better black levels, as DLPs tend to have this strength over projectors using LCD technology. Still, I'd rather have the brilliant color performance of a 3LCD and sacrifice some black levels because man, do those colors look good. Blacks are still recognizable as black, even when ambient light is present, which wins this Epson some brownie points as you will not be likely to use it in a fully darkened room.

Audible Noise

This projector does have an audible hum, though it is unlikely that you or students in the front row will notice. The projector will be in the front of the room, mounted to the wall above the whiteboard, hybrid whiteboard/screen, or wall - too far away for the noise to make any real impression. When the teacher is speaking, you shouldn't hear anything, nor should you hear any fan noise when music or other audio is playing. That said, the rated audible noise level is 37db in normal mode, and 30db in Eco. That's a significant decrease in fan noise, and get this - you're not going to lose much brightness if you switch over to Eco mode. So if that fan noise really bothers you - there's always Eco.

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