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Epson BrightLink 696Ui Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality

Posted on July 26, 2017 by Art Feierman

The Color Modes

The Epson Brightlink 696Ui has five color modes, all of which have excellent color – largely due to that 3LCD projection technology. The first of the color modes is Dynamic, which is its bright mode. Dynamic Mode has some rather excellent color for a brightest mode. Normally, we see strong greens and yellows, sometimes to the point where whites are projected as greens. In the first photo in the slider above, you can see the white background of our test image is a very soft green-yellow and the greens and yellows of the color wheels are only slightly oversaturated.

Presentation Mode is another of the brightest modes, but has better color than Dynamic. Its whites have a bluish hue, giving the whites a crisp, clean look. The colors on the color wheel aren’t quite true to color, though they are pretty close with only a minor blue hue. Presentation Mode does well with presentations and projecting websites or other documents, as the name would have you believe. It’s a really bright mode that can be used in situations with a lot of ambient light without losing a lot of detail.

 

Cinema Mode is this projector’s best mode. With an attractive magenta hue that is just enough to make skin tones look rosy and healthy, films, TV shows and videos look phenomenal. The whites on this mode lean toward that magenta hue, though its colors are almost spot on. This is still a really bright mode – bright enough so that it did not require a fully darkened room for excellent color. I still favored Dynamic and Presentation for use during the day, and did not need to close the curtains for those, but when the sun moved behind the house – Cinema Mode was on.

sRGB Mode is highly similar to Cinema in terms color. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the same settings, only a bit desaturated and slightly darker. The whole left side of the color wheel – from that middle-green to magenta – is significantly darker than they are in Cinema Mode, though they appear to be relatively the same color. I liked this mode for presentations and displaying web content in a semi-darkened room, as I found it translated the colors of the images well.

Blackboard Mode is really typical of what I’ve seen on other projectors. There is a definite magenta hue when projected on a matte white screen. That magenta hue makes it so they colors turn out right on a blackboard surface, and I imagine this projector would have very good color on a blackboard – basing my opinion on the fact that its other modes performed so well.

Video Picture Quality

The video quality of the Brightlink 696Ui is superb. The projector features WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution - the business and education worlds' HD. The image quality of the 696Ui is so good, in fact, that if it weren't for the projector's interactivity, I would say it could double as a home entertainment projector. I ran this guy through the whole gambit - films, TV shows, and internet videos all had a stellar image that was super sharp and clear. The high lumen count of each mode really added to the overall appearance of the image and picture quality - good job, Epson.

The photos in the slider above were all taken in Cinema Mode, which has that nice magenta hue. The first two photos are from one of our Projector Reviews videos, and the next three were taken from one of our Smarter Home Automation videos. Those are streaming from YouTube, in 1080p HD, and look really sharp. The next four photos are from The Hunger Games, showing how the 696Ui performs on various skin tones. The next three photos are from Ender's Game, which demonstrate how the projector performs when faced with skin tones in different lighting situations. The final two photos were taken from Casino Royale, which show how the projector handles Bond's outdoor scene with the plane during the day, and the interior scene of the Casino at night.

Text and Presentation Quality

Text is truly sharp as well. The slider above shows many photos featuring text including presentations, web content, and two screenshots from films. Across the board, the text is all very readable and should be just as crisp in the front row of the classroom as it is when viewing from the back. The sharpness was particularly noticeable in films, during scenes with hologram-esque images displayed on tablets or screens.

The first five photos in the slider feature slides from text-heavy presentations, depicting a variety of different font styles and sizes - note that all of these are readable. The next four photos are of websites - ours, of course, and two news sites. Here, you also see a number of font styles and sizes which differ from one another and effectively show how this projector performs on both large and small type. The last three images show photos from Casino Royale and Ender's Game - both heavy on that bright hologram text, and all noticeably sharp. All in all, images are sharp no matter what you're looking at.

Audio Quality

The speaker output on the Brightlink 696Ui is 16 watt mono. Usually, that means I will not enjoy the speakers whatsoever. In the case of the 696Ui, however, I was pleasantly surprised. That 16 watt mono speaker has crisp audio with a decent amount of bass. I’ll be the first to groan about bad speakers on a business/education projector not having any bass, even though that is typical. I have no disgruntled comments about the 696Ui’s audio quality.

I had mentioned that I thought this projector could double as a home entertainment projector, due in part to its exceptional picture and great color, but also to that speaker. I didn’t cringe once when watching my favorite TV shows (which are often heavy on sound design), and that’s really saying something.

We did have our external speakers plugged in when watching films, but it is unlikely that you’ll feel you need to do that in a classroom setting. Loud enough to reach the back corners of a large classroom, the speakers truly impressed.

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