Projector Reviews

Epson PowerLite 680 Projector Review – Hardware 2

Epson PowerLite 680 Projector Review – Hardware 2: Control Panel, Remote Control, Menus

The Control Panel

Epson PowerLite 680 Control Panel
The Epson PowerLite 680’s control panel as well equipped as the remote, with many features accessible directly from the control panel.

The control panel of the Epson PowerLite 680 has a typical layout, with the exception of one weird design choice. On the left, there is a Power button, surrounded by the indicator lights. In and of itself, that’s not strange – it’s even ordinary. There are four indicator lights – Power on the top, above the button, Status to its left and both the Lamp and Temp lights are located under the Power button.

Alright, so there’s the four lights, but instead of being evenly laid out with two above the Power button and two below, the empty space to the right of the Power light just seems… empty. Not a big deal, but to someone who has experience in design, it’s cringe-worthy. Tiny, seemingly insignificant things like that often mean the difference between a design that is extraordinary and one that is merely “okay.”

That said, it’s still fully functional and most would not have noticed had I not mentioned it. I’m sure none of you are particularly picky about the placement of your indicator lights.

To the right of the Power button and its LED friends live the Home button (top) and the Source button (bottom). The Home button displays the Epson home screen, and the Source Search does exactly what you would expect of the name.

The Menu button is to the top left of the arrow keypad, and the Esc button is to the keypad’s right. The keypad itself is normal, with the standard up, right, down, and left buttons to navigate the menus, with an enter button to select options in the center. The images on the buttons, however, are not arrows. The up and down buttons also adjust the keystone correction (manual) and the left and right ones adjust the zoom from wide to telephoto. This is a digital zoom, but it actually makes the projected image bigger or smaller, rather than just digitally zooming in to the image (in which case you would lose some information on the top, bottom and sides).

All in all, this is an easy-to-use control panel with more features and control than some of its competition. Great for when you have misplaced your remote control and need to get going now. Speaking of that remote…

The Remote Control

Epson PowerLite 680 Remote Control
The remote control is well laid out, with plenty of “hot keys” to give you quick access to some of the most useful functions.

The PowerLite 680’s remote control is a bit thick, but is very well laid out with a lot of “stuff.” The remote is separated into sections, with the top one featuring a black background, a Power and Source Search, as the basic “hot keys” for Computer, HDMI/Video, USB and LAN inputs to switch between them quickly.

The section below is a basic number pad (1-9 and 0) and a Num(ber) button to the left of the 0 and an ID button to its right. The ID button is for choosing which projector to control for multi-projector set ups. The Num button changes the keypad exclusively to a number keypad, which is useful because many of these buttons serve a dual function.

The number 3 is also the Link Menu button, which displays the main menu of the connected HDMI device. The 4 button – Auto – automatically adjusts position, tracking and sync settings. The number 5 adjusts the aspect ratio, 6 is your shortcut to shifting through Color Modes, and 8 activates Pen Mode.

Below the number pad is a standard arrow keypad. The classic up, down, left and right buttons surround the enter key, with a Menu button on the top left, the Esc button on the top right – just like the control panel. Below, to the left of the down key, is the User button, which is customizable with multiple functions.

On the opposite side there is a Pointer button, which makes a pointer arrow magically appear on the screen, that you can move to point at a specific area of interest using the arrow keys on the remote. This function works beautifully.

Under the arrow keypad are the buttons for Page, E-Zoom and Volume. Each of these functions have two buttons – up and down for Page, and +/– for E-Zoom and Volume. Below those are several buttons, including A/V mute for muting audio, Split, which splits the screen between two projected images (awesome), Freeze for stopping video action, and a Home button. That’s it for the remote.

PowerLite 680 Menus

The Epson PowerLite 680’s menus consist of eight main categories – Image, Signal, Settings, Extended, Network, ECO, Info and Reset. The menu is well laid out, with plenty of settings to customize this projector to your liking and, more importantly, your needs.

That’s it for the hardware and menus. Let’s hop on over to the next page, where we will explore picture and audio quality.