Projector Reviews

Epson PowerLite 990U Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality

Epson PowerLite 990U Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality: Color Modes, Video Image Quality, Text and Presentation Quality, Audio Quality

Color Modes

Out of the Box Picture Quality
In the color department, the Epson 990U performs superbly..   Epson has regularly earned compliments on its color performance out of the box.  Most modes provided well balanced color, and one mode rather accurate color.  Even the brightest mode: Dynamic mode, is decent – too much yellow/greens, but far less of that than most projectors.  In fact this Epson’s brightest mode, in terms of the reality that bright modes traditionally having bad color”, actually is respectable.  This is thanks to Epson’s ability to bring 3 times higher color brightness than that of typical single chip DLP.  Epson’s 3LCD technology track record here speaks for itself.  There is no other way to describe the Epson’s color performance in their brightest setting, than to say it is simply outstanding for a bright mode, although you still aren’t likely to use that mode unless you need every last lumen because of too much ambient light!

As you enter Presentation mode, your brightness will not suffer much, a 19% reduction, but colors will become even more accurate as you can see comparing modes on our test image by looking at the color pie chart and bars, in Epson’s other mode.  On Cinema as expected, you’ll get your truest colors, and generally a great picture.  It’s obviously not home theater projector quality, but at $1,000 and intended for the classroom, the 990U should give you everything you need and more.  It’s a 29% reduction in lumens from Dynamic mode and I was very impressed with the color performance and detail in some of the darker movie scenes I photographed.  Even though I’ve come to be spoiled with my Epson 5020UB home theater projector, I’d find this 990U to be perfectly acceptable to keep in my home all on its own.  In other words, if you want this as your own home theater projector, it can do the job!  As long as you realize it’s not going to match the performance of a true home theater projector.

That said, the reds were bold and vivid, yellows were bright and glossy.  The woman’s face in cinema mode is extremely well defined.  Dynamic is certainly missing some more of the accurate color detail but in general, it’s hard to argue with the 990U’s picture at all on most modes!

Video Image Quality

Each of the above pictures is taken with the 990U in Cinema mode and on Normal Lamp setting.  Thanks to Epson’s 3LCD technology, the projector is able to produce beautiful and accurate colors while still maintaining the brightness necessary to allow comfortable viewing with your eyes.  By delivering just as many lumens for your whites as it does for colors, you get the truest representation of the colors and depth within the pictures.

Text and Presentation Quality

In terms of image quality, with its native WUXGA 1920 x1200 Full HD resolution in 16:10 format, the Epson 990U delivers.  The images are sharp, not loosing any noticeable sharpness as one compares the corners to the center of the image.    8 point text gets pretty soft but it’s  a size so small and it’s almost never used in presentations, documents, etc. The 10 point text was still a little soft but you could read it clear as day, which is what matters most, especially for spreadsheets and other documents.  To my eye, the text starts to look really sharp by the time I’m using 12 point, and continues to get sharper as the size increases.

All in all, between the performance of the colors and the sharpness on text, I would say Epson has done a solid job here giving teachers a bright, sharp projector that will accurately transmit the colors in their presentations, while making it easy to read for students and bringing any images to life with all their details.

Audio Quality


The Epson 990U comes with a powerful 16 watt speaker located on the back right side of the projector.  The first time I heard the speaker in action I became extremely impressed.  My only experience with speakers on $400-$1000 projectors was, to put it lightly, not good.  But the speaker on this 990U, (which are also present on the other Epson models in the PowerLite 9xx series) delivers a powerful, quality sound that caught me completely off guard.

It delivers exactly what you need for any classroom without the need for external speakers.  Of course, if you want even better sound or you need the ability for your sound to reach everyone in a lecture hall, the audio out provides you the option to include those external speakers.

Bottom line, if you have nothing else, this speaker should get the job done in most instances and provide a powerful sound (though obviously lacking some bass) enabling you to have no worries about your presentation sound in the majority of situations!