Projector Reviews

Epson PowerLite L400U Installation Laser Projector Review – Hardware 1

Epson PowerLite L400U Projector Review – Hardware 1: Overview, Inputs and Connectors, The Lens

Overview

The Epson PowerLite L400U is an installation projector that measures 5.4 inches tall, by 17.3 inches wide and 12.0 inches deep. It weighs in at a somewhat bulky 17.1 lbs. As such, this projector will likely be mounted to a ceiling bracket rather than be lugged around or even mounted on a table top. It includes a cable cover to keep up appearances – though the unit I received did not. Since it wouldn’t be practical to mount every projector I review to my ceiling, I set them up on a table top or wall unit at the back of my living room. With this projector, I was able to use a shoulder-high shelf (vertical lens shift!) but, for simplicity sake, all descriptions of the unit will be as if it were sitting on a table top, with a viewpoint as if standing in front of the lens.

The front of the L400U houses the lens, with large manual focus and manual zoom rings. An opaque lens cap is included (likely not going to be used when ceiling, though). The grille on the front left is actually an air intake vent, but not the main one. The left side of the projector is where we find the hot air exhaust. The right side is entirely taken up by a filter and main air intake. The filter is easily removable, and is held in place by two thumb screws – no tools required!

The rear of the projector houses a decent amount of connectors and inputs, as well as the power connection, control panel, a Kensington lock port and a metal bar for cable locks for added security. The top of the projector is featureless except for the indicator lights. The bottom is where we find the thumb screws for the filter and the mounting holes, and three adjustable feet. IR sensors for the remote control are found on the front of the projector near the lens, and on the rear of the projector near the upper right corner.

Inputs and Connectors

Epson L400U Inputs and Connectors

While the Epson PowerLite L400U offers only a handful of inputs and connectors, they should be adequate for just about any business or higher education application. What the L400U lacks in connectors, it certainly makes up for with Crestron and Miracast – offering network connectivity to smart Android and iOS devices through Epson’s free iProjection app.

Speaking of networking, now is as good a time as any to state that wireless networking is not built in to the L400U. There is a decent networking menu that supports wireless, but wireless connectivity only comes by way of an optional wireless module. If you prefer to use a wired network connection, the first connector on our tour, in the upper left corner of the input panel, is the RJ-45 network port. To the immediate right, we find two HDMI ports. Though not clearly labeled on the projector itself, the L400U does have one HDMI port that supports MHL – at least, according to Epson’s website specifications for this projector; I couldn’t find any mention of it in the user manual so good luck, there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll get it right the first time. I, unfortunately, didn’t have a way to test it myself.

Next up, we have Computer 1 – a VGA input with its own Audio input. To the immediate right we have something that may confuse some folks – Computer 2 “Monitor Out” and Audio 2.  After digging through the user manual I was able to find that this port can be and input OR an output. Simply change the Monitor Out Port setting in the projector’s Extended menu.

Next we find Audio Out, a 3.5mm MiniJack with an obvious purpose. A USB-A port that supports mass storage devices or that optional wireless module we talked about earlier. A USB type B port for Service, and the obligatory RS-232C port for legacy command and control. We also find the A/C power input in the bottom left corner, a metal locking bar for security and a Kensington lock port on the left, outside of the input panel for added security.

The Lens

Epson L400U Lens
The Epson PowerLite L400U lens has a 1.60:1 zoom ratio, projectors a very sharp image and has large, easy to manipulate focus and zoom controls.

The Epson PowerLite L400U features a lens with oversized manual focus and zoom rings. This makes it extremely easy to adjust focus and zoom in a precise way.  The lens has an optical zoom ratio of 1.60:1; that provides good placement flexibility. This lens, combined with 3LCD technology and a laser light engine does a great job of getting a crisp, clear image on the screen, with sharp and easy to read text for presentations and meetings.

There is a small amount of lens shift, but it’s better than nothing and offers enough flexibility to make a real difference when it comes to placement. Geometric Correction options are available including vertical and horizontal keystone, and my personal favorite – Quick Corner. I love the precise fit I’m able to achieve in no-time-flat. Do keep in mind that when using geometric correction, you are manipulating the image, and therefore the pixels, so you do lose some quality of the projected image – for that reason, install the projector so that it needs minimal correction or none at all.

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