Projector Reviews

Epson PowerLite 5520W Business/Education Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality

Epson PowerLite 5520W Business/Education Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality: Color Modes, Video Image Quality, Text and Presentation Image Quality, Audio Quality

Color Modes

The Epson PowerLite 5520W has six color modes: Dynamic, Presentation, Cinema, sRGB, DICOM SIM. and Multi-Projector. Nearly all of these had truly stellar color, save for the obvious green/yellow hue of Dynamic and the high-contrast look of DICOM SIM. This is to be expected, as it is characteristic of these types of modes. Though, in a pinch, Dynamic will do just fine when you need to cut through some awful ambient light. With some tweaking, you can get rid of some of the greens and yellows that make these brightest modes so sickly, but you’ll never fully eradicate these overzealous hues from Dynamic mode.

Good news, though – color improves drastically with Presentation mode. Sure, there’s still a touch of green/yellow, but not so much that it distracts from the image. Again, with some tweaking, you can neutralize these hues and come out with better color than Presentation has out of the box. Overall, Presentation mode has cooler tones than any of the other modes, and I favored this mode for taking photos of my presentation slides.

Cinema is the best mode for video content. I felt it has the most natural looking color, and it does incredibly well on skin tones. sRGB is barely any different from Cinema, so I’d put that as the next best mode. Both of these modes measured high in terms of brightness, but more on that on the next page. DICOM SIM. is never pretty, but it’s not meant to be. It’s specifically designed for reading high contrast films such as X-Rays and MRI results. Multi-Projector mode also has some pretty decent color, which you’ll enjoy if hooking up two or more of these projectors to use in tandem.

Video Image Quality

The Epson PowerLite 5520W has WXGA resolution, which you can consider to be the business and education world’s 720p. The difference between 720p HD and 1080p HD has to do with pixel size, and the amount of pixels. 720p has less pixels, and those pixels are larger than 1080p’s pixels. So it is with WXGA resolution (1280 x 800) and WUXGA resolution (1920 x 1200). Though it is lower resolution than WUXGA, it costs significantly less and is suitable for nearly all business and education applications.

That said, I was sufficiently impressed with the video image quality of the Epson PowerLite 5520W. In fact, I was on the phone with a friend when I fired it up for the first time, and I exclaimed, “Wow! This is a great projector.” I would expect no less from Epson, but it was nice to find that this business and education projector had good enough image quality to use in a home environment. Not that you would – these days you can get an incredible home theater projector that accepts 4K content for the same price, or less.

But I digress. All of the photos in the slider above were taken in Cinema mode, the projector’s best color mode. The image is sharp, and the color, excellent. My new favorite shot is of the primate from Explained. I think it does a really good job on showing how well a projector performs in terms of both color and sharpness. Skin tones are natural looking, and the colors are deep. Nice job, Epson!

Text and Presentation Quality

Text and presentation quality on the Epson PowerLite 5520W is super readable, at all sizes! With some projectors, the smaller font’s pixels kind of mesh together to create a fuzzy look to them. With the PowerLite 5520W, even 8-point font is clear. 10-point font is even clearer, and 12-point looks excellent. In addition to our normal test image for text, you can see that 12-point font is readable on a variety of websites.

As for presentation slides, the projector performs admirably. Images are nicely sharp and completely readable, even on that small font on infographics. All photos in the slider above were taken in Presentation mode, which is the mode I would suggest for content of this type. It’s vibrant and bright, and does a pretty good job on color! It has plenty of power to blast through ambient light, which you will see on the next page.

Audio Quality

The Epson PowerLite 5520W has a 10-watt speaker built into the unit. I didn’t need to have the volume turned all the way up, and I would say that the speaker can handle medium to large sized K-12 classrooms, conference rooms, and board rooms. For larger venues, you’ll almost always have an external sound system to work with, which I definitely suggest if you’re planning on using the projector in these types of environments.

That does it for our discussion of the picture and sound quality! It’s time to talk performance. See you on the next page!

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