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Epson Brightlink Pro 1430Wi Projector Review - Summary

Posted on February 4, 2015 by Art Feierman
BRIGHTLINK PRO 1430Wi INTERACTIVE PROJECTOR – Summary

Overall, the Brightlink Pro 1430Wi proved to perform similar to the now discontinued Brightlink Pro 1410Wi, that we previously reviewed, while upping the interactive capabilities by adding finger touch sensing.  The 1430Wi excelled in virtually every area we consider important when reviewing a business projector.  We did not test wired networking and only verified that wireless networking was working with the 1430Wi, but  Epson's wireless networking was already tested and reviewed with the similar Brightlink 585Wi.  That said, as this Epson and its siblings are certified as compatible with Crestron control systems, that pretty much guarantees that these Epson projectors will work well in sophisticated networking environments with advanced features.  That is ideal for a business, where dozens, or even hundreds of these projectors might be installed.

Key areas we consider important, and summaries below:  Picture Quality, Performance – including brightness and sharpness, Feature set, Ease of operation (remote control, menus and navigation), Warranty and support, and the Value Proposition.

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Picture Quality

The first two images in the above photo gallery were taken using Epson’s Theater Color Mode – one of the projector’s best modes and with a still bright 2800+ lumens.  The colors are excellent (actually better than they appear in the photos) in theater mode.

This Epson doesn’t have a single color mode that doesn’t look at least acceptable.  This means that you can have very good color even when fighting a healthy amount of ambient light, when competitors either compromise on color or on brightness.  Even skin tones, though they vary from mode to mode, still look at least acceptable in every mode and excellent in the best modes

The projected images are very sharp, limited only by the projector native 1280 x 800 native resolution.  As seen in the 3rd gallery photo, text is displayed very clear.

Contrast, on the other hand, is typical for a 3LCD projector, which means not as good as DLP or LCoS designs.  More to the point, in a conference room, this projector will likely never be used in full darkness, which is the only time a big difference in contrast ratios makes a real difference.  Call contrast a weakness, but not much of one.  Certainly not a deal breaker.

 

Feature Set

Interactive Whiteboard

Interactive Whiteboard

Well endowed would be a good description to start, but there are a few things missing.  Let’s get those out of the way first.  This Epson does not offer 3D capabilities.  While there may be an interest in the classroom for 3D, use is still very limited.  Still, if 3D is in your future, Epson does not have an ultra short throw projector for you.  Epson, I should mention, does offer their passive 3D W16SK projector, which would be worth a close look if 3D is something you need/want.

There’s also no zoom lens, but, ultra short throw projectors don’t have zoom lenses.  However, the optional Epson wall mount allows the projector to be easily moved in and out from the wall over a few inches of range and that few inches change in throw distance lets you change the image size from 60 inches up to 100 inches (diagonal, 16 x 10).  So that gives you a viable alternative to a  zoom for getting the image size where you need it during the initial setup of the projector.   Epson gives this projector a digital zoom that can be used to enlarge a portion of the image to fill the full screen and this may be useful in some situations.

What else doesn’t it have?  Well, it runs on conventional lamps, not a 20,000 hour plus solid state light source such as led projectors or laser projectors.   For most, though, that’s just fine.  With the relatively low cost Epson lamps lasting a claimed 4000 to 6000 hours, depending on full or Eco mode, the cost to keep in lamps is modest.

This projector is really big on interactive features.  In addition to the two included pens, there is a IR touch unit that allows finger touch sensing (up to 6 finger at one time) that makes the conference room whiteboard into a something along the lines of a giant interactive tablet computer.  The projector also comes with a remote control that includes the basic functions to allow it to be used as simple “mouse”.  Related features and strengths include a healthy range of supporting software to enhance interactive functions.    Smart, TeamBoard and RM all offer interactive software that is compatible with the Epson interactive projectors.

Close-up of Connector Panel

Close-up of Connector Panel

This projector is built to interface – with the world.  there are iOS and Android iPresentation apps from Epson to allow you to use your iPad or favorite other mobile device to present or to interact (Mimio also offers up an App).  And the projector can present off of USB or Wifi, as well as HDMI, component video, composite, and analog computer inputs.  Of note is that one of the two HDMI ports supports MHL (discussed in special features section). With MHL you can interface with a variety of mobile devices including certain Android tablets, some cameras and a lot more coming.

The projector can project info two sources in a split screen mode which makes it well suited for a video conference application.

The 1430Wi’s are well equipped for collaboration between multiple users/sites.  The 1430Wi allows 16 devices to interface with it simultaneously, that could be other 1430Wi’s, tablets, smart phones, and computers.

This Projector is Bright

The measured brightness was 3500+ white, and color lumens in the brightest mode.  Best still, there are some very bright modes (i.e., with 2800+ lumens) that offer impressive color, so no need to sacrifice 1/3 or 1/2 of brightness just to have a good looking picture.  Choose your mode, modify it if you feel you need to, but mostly they should all be useable. Drop into Eco mode to increase the claimed lamp life from 4000 to 6000 hours.  It will reduce the projector noise at the same time, but the Epson at full power is still reasonably quiet for a business/education projector.

The Bottom Line

Here we have here a well endowed projector that performs extremely well, bright, great picture, lots of networking, comprehensive interactivity, and more.

What about the value proposition?  That too, is very good.  You always pay a hefty premium for ultra short throw, but that comes with benefits, especially for an interactive projector.

Now mind you. we gave this Epson’s similar classroom projector, model Brightlink 595Wi, a Hot Product Award for being an exceptional ultra-short throw classroom interactive projector and the Brightlink Pro 1430Wi reviewed here also earns that same award for being a great business-class interactive projector.  Love the 1430Wi, but tight on budget, you can save a couple hundred dollars by going with the Brightlink Pro 1420Wi instead and lose the touch capability.

Bottom line:  I don’t think there’s an feature rich interactive ultra short throw business-class projector that can hold its own with the Brightlink Pro 1430Wi.  There may be equally impressive interactivity elsewhere, but not part of an ultra short throw business projector, and one that comes even close in color, sharpness or some other key areas that this Epson model excels at.

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