Projector Reviews

Epson Powerlite 1985WU Projector Review – Summary

POWERLITE 1985WU 3LCD PROJECTOR REVIEW – SUMMARY:  Basic Functionality and Usage, Brightness and Picture Quality, Bottom Line w/ Pros and Cons

Basic Functionality and Usage

The Powerlite 1985WU is Epson’s flagship 1900 series commercial projector,  – and, at $1999 is the  most expensive projector  in the the series.  It won’t be the most popular, of course since similar models with lower resolution and lower cost will outsell it.  Note:  The lower cost 1940W and 1945W have been tracked as the two top selling “High-End” projectors in the US market by Pacific Media Associates (an industry research firm),  in a recent report  The relatively high price of the 1985WU is primarily due to the WUXGA resolution, considering other 1900 models start way down at only $1299.  WXGA projectors are still far more popular than WUXGA because most folks just don’t need the higher resolution – or rather, since it’s a “premium” resolution today.  Of course in another four to five years WUXGA will almost certainly be the new “mainstream”.

The good news is that this Epson should have a usable life that’s far longer than that, and advantage that often comes by having the top of the line, feature laden version of a projector.  Epson’s warranty isn’t the longest at 2 years parts and labor, but both of those years include Epson’s Road Service rapid replacement program that puts a replacement projector in your hands in 2, or at most 3 business days from when you report a warranty problem.  (Epson pays all the freight).  That should provide some good piece of mind.

While this Epson doesn’t offer a choice of expensive lenses, or lens shift, it’s pretty loaded feature wise, and most of those features are very practical.

Start that list with networking – wired and wireless, with support for MHL, MiraCast, Screen Mirroring and more.  And the wired networking supports Crestron RoomView protocols for advanced capabilities including Push notifications, scheduling, and many other abilities that warm the hearts of IT/AV folks responsible for managing large networks (or small ones) of projectors.

Mostly this projector will end up installed in large classrooms and training rooms, board rooms, etc., but, with it’s relatively modest size, and just over 10 pounds of weight, the Powerlite 1985 is also pretty darn mobile for a projector that produces almost 5000 white and color lumens.  This projector will also likely find a lot of usage by rental and staging companies – those guys will still have a fleet of projectors with optional lenses and lens shift, but they will be happy to bring out this low cost alternative whenever its got everything needed!

Brightness and Picture Quality

Brightness is, of course a key strength.  The 1985WU measures a maximum that’s just shy of 5000 lumens.  Hot Product AwardEven in it’s best looking modes the projector produces around 3500 to over 4000 lumens.  That’s a lot of horsepower.  Even 4000 lumens (color and white ones) can do an impressive job on 10 or even 15 foot screens with a fair amount of ambient light, and auditorium sized 2o foot screens in low light conditions.

The projector sports a full set of picture adjustment tools, even allowing for a full color calibration.  Of course very few would need to improve on the default color that the Powerlite 1985WU serves up.  Ultimately the picture looks bright, and nicely dynamic in most modes, the kind of picture that makes a presenter or professor unconcerned with the image, and instead focused on the message not a projection limitation!

Bottom Line, Pros and Cons

You can spend a lot more money – a whole lot more, on a 4500 or 5000 lumen projector with a solid commercial quality picture.  And by that I mean good to great color in the brightest mode, and very good color without a dramatic drop in brightness (which does impact a lot of projectors).  There are a few advanced features that the projector lacks such as edge blending which is popular for use in museums and some digital signage, but not used by probably 99%.  The lack of interchangeable lenses and lens shift, though are the formal missing features that are demanded for a lot of auditorium work, and many other large venue applications.

If you need edge blending or very long throw – or very short throw lenses, the Powerlite 1985WU won’t work for you.  Instead look to Epson’s G series, such as the Powerlite 6900 that we have reviewed.  (Just don’t let the sticker shock get to you.)  But for most applications, the 1985 is the extra bright projector you need.

Let’s wrap up with “Pros” and “Cons.”

Pros

  • Very Bright – Auditorium and larger venue capable, easily able to handle small screens in moderately bright rooms
  • Great Color for a business projector
  • An excellent collection of inputs, including 2 HDMI, wireless, USB Display, computer, more
  • DICOM Simulation mode for scientific teaching
  • WUXGA resolution and a very sharp image
  • Advanced Networking – Wired and Wireless, Crestron RoomView support
  • Good zoom lens flexibility (1.6:1)
  • Support for  Smart Devices, with MHL, Miracast, Screen Mirroring
  • Screen Fit and Focus Help
  • Lens cover (built in) doubles as AV/Mute
  • Reasonably portable for its brightness
  • Can auto adjust image to room lighting
  • Dynamic iris for improved black levels
  • Very good dark shadow detail
  • Plenty of audible inputs and ability to assign to audio out
  • Large sound (for a 10 lb projector), claiming 16 watts
  • Split screen (two of the same size or one larger than the other)
  • Very good menu structure – easy to navigate
  • Good, but small remote control
  • Moderator allows interfacing with dozens of sources, and displaying up to four at once.
  • Very Good Warranty and Support – 2 years, including rapid replacement program.  (Optional extended warranties available)
  • Excellent value proposition

Cons

  • Lacks interchangeable lenses for extremely long and short throw applications
  • No lens shift
  • Remote control is not backlit, has relatively small buttons
  • Lens has manual, not motorized, zoom and focus
  • There is a filter to occasionally clean or change
  • Black levels are not impressive despite a dynamic iris. (Not an issue in most situations)
  • Warranty could be longer (although combination of warranty and replacement program is still better than most at this price point)