Posted on October 12, 2018 By Chris Kahl
Epson PowerLite 1785W Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise
The Epson PowerLite 1785W is advertised as portable business and education projector with a brightness rating of a 3,200 lumens. Since most business and education projectors measure up to 25% below their brightness claim, I was expecting similar results from this one. Not so! Epson not only lived up to its claim of 3,200 lumens, it exceeded its claim by 3.5%, for a maximum brightness reading of 3,313 lumens in Dynamic Color Mode, operating under Normal Brightness. Epson, it turns out, is known for exceeding their brightness claims.
Presentation mode came in at a strong 2,513 lumens, followed by Cinema at 2,405 lumens. sRGB provides decent color as well but offers slightly warmer images than Cinema, and came in at 2,306 lumens. I have included a series of photos taken of content projected by the Epson PowerLite 1785W in a dark room, and then again with the lights on. These images below are projected using the Cinema color mode, which measures in at 2,405 lumens, just over 900 lumens dimmer than the brightest mode. This projector has no trouble cutting through even heavy ambient light; short of sunlight shinning directly on your screen, the brightness of this projector should satisfy the needs of most conference rooms, board rooms, and classrooms.
A photo from The Last Reef: Cities Beneath the Sea, shown in dark room. Projected by the Epson PowerLite 1785W.
The same photo from The Last Reef: Cities Beneath the Sea, shown in ambient light with the room lights on. Projected by the Epson PowerLite 1785W.
A photo of the SpaceX website, shown in a dark room. Projected by the Epson PowerLite 1785W.
A photo of the SpaceX website, shown in ambient light with the room lights on. Projected by the Epson PowerLite 1785W.
Dynamic color mode in ECO brightness came in at a decent brightness of 2,054 lumens, which in this power saving mode was still brighter than Blackboard. Blackboard mode measured in at 1,936, and again, should only be used to project content directly onto a classroom blackboard due to the way color is presented.
DICOM SIM. was brighter than I expected it to be. DICOM SIM. is an advanced grayscale mode designed to simulate medical equipment for education and training purposes in displaying various medical imaging, such as X-Rays and MRI scans.
My favorite mode for color and brightness was Cinema mode, and it met my needs well. I have a 90” screen and like to leave my windows, blinds and curtains open during the day for lighting and ventilation, and at 2,405 lumens I had no issue with image quality. As with any projector, the larger the image you need to project, the dimmer the image will become; that’s an important fact to keep in mind with choosing your color mode.
Epson barely mentions their claim of a contrast ratio of 10,000:1 for the PowerLite 1785W. At Projector Reviews, we don’t measure contrast. What we are concerned about are black levels. Is black, well, black? The short answer is no, it’s not, but it’s acceptable. We don’t expect business and education projectors to be true black, as that is generally reserved for the best of the best home theater projectors.
Generally speaking, 3LCD projectors don’t have as good of black levels as their DLP cousins, but the trade-off is that DLP projectors don’t have as accurate of color, generally speaking. While I found there was quite a bit of light spilling through into what was supposed to be black, it wasn’t too bright as too take away from the image. In the photo below from Journey to Space, the black outline of my screen is visible along the edges, and while the blacks you see in this image are darker than they appear in reality, they’re a decent representation of what to expect.
What audible noise? Epson lists the PowerLite 1785W as having an audible noise rating of 39.0 dB when in normal operation, and 30.0 dB in ECO mode. I don’t believe it. This projector uses a centrifugal style blower fan to pull the hot air exhaust out through the front of the projector toward the screen. In normal mode, it’s quiet, I notice the noise for a moment and automatically tune it out. In fact, my sister, Nikki, who most of our readers are very familiar with, was visiting and actually commented “Wow! That’s really quiet.”
In high altitude mode, it’s loud enough to not tune out, but it’s not distracting. In ECO mode, I had to lean close because I wasn’t sure if the fan turned off entirely; it didn’t, but it is that quiet. I have reviewed other projectors that claim a lower noise rating, but in actuality were much louder than this Epson. You do not need to be concerned about the fan noise being a distraction during your big presentation or to your students.
That concludes our discussion of the performance of this awesome portable projector. The final page of our review for the Epson PowerLite 1785W portable business and education projector is next, where we will recap this review in a nutshell with a list of pros and cons to help you decide if this 3LCD WXGA portable projector meets your needs for quality, performance and portability.
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