Posted on April 5, 2018 By Lyle Silverman
Epson PowerLite 108 Projector Review – Hardware: Overview, Inputs and Connectors, Lens and Interactive Camera, Interactive Module and Pens
The Epson PowerLite 108 projector is a typically sized portable projector that can be transported with minimal issue, and can also easily be used as a permanently mounted projector, or placed on a cart or other for going room to room. Ideally, if you’re using it at school, you’d have it mounted, making things as easy as possible for teachers. The PowerLite 108 weighs in at 6.17 lbs and is about 11.6 inches wide by 9.7 inches long, and it is 3.5 inches tall, the same size weight for the rest of the projectors in the 1xx series, and smaller, and thus a little more easily transportable than the slightly larger, more expensive 9xx series.
In the front center of the projector, you have your typical Epson foot release lever to shift your screen height up as needed. Moving backward from there, the lens has a sliding lens cover, which doubles to your device in A/V Mute when closed, as happens on a number of Epson projector models. Both the focus and zoom knobs are located right behind the lens cover. For those using this portably, you will appreciate that this Epson projector will maintain its sharpness when zooming in and out, always a good thing. Many portable projectors routinely lose focus when zooming. Of course if ceiling mounting, you only need to set the zoom and focus one time, so no worries! Right behind the focus knobs you have a horizontal keystone slider.
The Epson PowerLite 108’s control panel and power button are located atop the projector, behind the lens and in the back center of the projector. It is a typical control panel as you can see pictured, save for the Home button, which brings the user to the Epson Homescreen, which allows you to see all your sources, what may be connected, shows a couple other options and access to the main menu, and also displays your projector’s networking information and provides assistance to get connected. We’ll discuss the home screen below more when we get to the Menu & Setup.
Switching over to the back of the PowerLite 108, you will find your input panel where there is no shortage of necessary inputs. Starting at the top left, you have one USB-A, one USB-B, and a LAN port. Moving across to the right is your first VGA input followed by the 2 HDMI inputs, one of which also supports MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link). The power cord input is located on the back all the way to the left. Next you have Audio Left & Right, and Video inputs with a Mic input underneath, and followed by a single 3.5mm Stereo Audio in. Next you have your second VGA input with another 3.5mm Stereo Audio in right beneath it. Finally, we have an RS-232C port, a Monitor out, and lastly a 3.5 mm Stereo Audio out. The 16 watt speaker is located to the right of the input panel on the back of the projector.
As stated up above, Epson has a Home screen you can use if you want more than just a blank screen when on standby. To me, while the Epson Home screen looks sleek, with quick buttons to get to Sources, Keystone, and Split Screen that are permanent, and two customizable buttons, I just didn’t think the screen was particularly useful. But it looks nice and it’s not a typically boring blank screen! (read on for a cooler background feature) With the two customizable buttons, you can choose from Color Mode, Power Consumption (Normal or Eco mode), an Epson provided test pattern, Network Settings, Eco Settings, and lastly Closed Caption. You can go ahead and choose two of those options in the Home Screen settings under the Extended menu. You can also access the Menu, a Help screen, the projector’s IP address, and a connection guide showing the user how to connect your mobile device using iProjection, Epson’s wireless App. I’m not sure how long iProjection has been around, but its been many years, and per Art, iProjection is stable, and works well.
In your regular onscreen menu, Epson provides their typical menu style and options. This unfortunately does not include the ability to move the menu to a particular part of the screen, a feature found on most more expensive business and education projectors That said, you have a sleep timer for energy savings in addition to an entire Eco menu providing different means of saving power and lamp life. There is also a menu for setting up your Networking, in addition to a spot to assign projector ID numbers when using multiple projectors on one centrally controlled system.
Lastly, you can also add your company’s logo as the default background for the projector, a handy tool for displaying your brand.
The PowerLite 108 remote is the same remote that appears to be used throughout the entire new PowerLite series, from the 39s, 1xx’s, and 9xx’s. It is both intuitive and enables you to handle every task you could possibly need on the projector save for the Zoom and Focus knobs for the lens. Unfortunately it’s not backlit but being that you’ll likely be using it in a fairly bright classroom (or conference, or multi-purpose room), it is not a huge deal. Still, it would be better to have a backlight.
You can do a smart search to connect to a source or there are buttons to simply connect with the source of your choosing. I found smart search to work pretty well and quickly, certainly improved upon my experience in the past on my old classroom projectors from over four years ago. You have quick button access to color mode switching, ratios, split screen, a customizable user button, and you can of course adjust your volume. If you utilize PC-free projection, you can also control aspects of the presentation with the remote.
Lastly, you have digital zoom capability which you can access on the remote, and you won’t sacrifice much quality while you’re zooming in and moving around the screen as needed. The image remains clear and sharp and makes for a convenient feature to enhance your presentation when needed. Finally, the remote had a range of about 30’.
Any of the features in the menu system that you can’t access directly from buttons on the remote itself, become accessible, of course, by hitting the Menu button on the 990U’s remote and navigating from there.
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