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Epson PowerLite 680 Projector Review – Hardware 1

Posted on May 31, 2017 by Nikki Zelinger

Hardware Overview

The Epson PowerLite 680 measures approximately 14.5 inches wide, 15.8 inches in diameter, and 5.9 inches tall. It’s lighter than I expected for the size, but wouldn’t be considered portable. It’s definitely more of an install projector. It has a healthy number of inputs and connectors – discussed in the Inputs and Connectors section below.

This projector looks similar to the Casio XJ-UT351W I reviewed in shape, size and color. There’s nothing really special about the design, aside from the strange layout. The focus lever is not where I expected, nor was it easy to find. More on that in the Lens section of this page.

The inputs and connectors are on the left side, under a cable cover I could barely get my hand through. The cable cover is removable, of course – I just wasn’t prepared with a screwdriver at that moment. The lens is positioned closest to that side of the projector, recessed. A wireless LAN light is located to the left of the lens. The control panel and indicator lights are on the top of the projector, behind the lens, toward the back. They are: Light, Temp, Status, and Power.

The hot exhaust vent is located next to the cable cover on the left side of the projector, when facing it from behind. On the other side are the air filters and air intake vents. Also on that side is the Kensington lock for security. There are two RF receivers for the remote control – one on the back and one in front of the control panel. The 16-watt speaker is located on the back of the projector, under the control panel.

Input and Connector Panel

Epson PowerLite 680 Wireless Module Input

This photo features the Wireless Module Input, accessible after the cable cover has been removed.

Tucked away in the far left is the Wireless Module slot. The inputs and connectors are divided into three levels, and we will start on the bottom, to the left side next to that Wireless Module slot. First, there are two Audio ports – Audio 1 and Audio 2. Next to those are the USB-B and LAN ports, then the three HDMI’s (one of which is MHL).

In the second tier, starting from the right, we have an RS-232C port for old-school command and control, a Monitor Out/Computer 2 input, and a Computer 1 connector. At the top, starting from the left, is a Mic input, an Audio Out and Audio port, Video input, and a USB-A port.

Epson PowerLite 680 Inputs Connectors Panel

The Epson PowerLite 680 is equipped with all the inputs and connectors necessary for business and education applications.

The input and connector panel is concealed by a cable cover, which is attractive and awesome for those installing the projector and leaving it there forever (or a very long time). As a reviewer, the cable cover was more of a hindrance because I, unlike you, am constantly moving HDMI cables, USB cords and other cables in and out of the projector and this particular cable cover is not easy to take off – it requires a Philip’s head screwdriver.

Not a big deal for you, as you’ll take this cover off while installing and then replace it once you’ve hooked up your cables to the projector. Or not – the cable cover is really just to hide the cables for a more attractive look. If you don’t want to bother with it, you needn’t concern yourself. That’ll be according to your preference.

The Lens

Epson PowerLite 680 Lens

The Epson PowerLite 680's has a recessed, ultra-short throw lens.

The Epson PowerLite 680 has a standard ultra-short throw lens, meaning that it is recessed and looks like the photo you see here. The lens (F = 1.6) has a focal length of 3.7 mm. There’s no manual zoom option, but if you have the misfortune of installing the projector too far back or too close to the screen, there is a nice Digital Zoom option for your convenience. This is accessed via the control panel on the projector, and allows you to go from “Wide” to “Telephoto” – digitally.

Epson PowerLite 680 Focus Lever

The focus lever is hidden inside of the projector, next to the air filters, and is accessible via a door with a small sliding latch.

The focus lever is well-hidden. I spent a few moments looking around the projector before I finally resigned myself to consult the manual. It’s in the same area as the air filter, to the right of the lens if you are looking at the projector from behind. There’s a door that opens by pulling a small, sliding release, and the focus lever is the tiny thing you see to the left of the air filters. A small note – when you close that door again, you’ll need to pull back on that release and shut the door for it to catch.

Moving on to the next page, we will continue our tour of the hardware.

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