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Epson Powerlite S5 Portable LCD Projector Review

Posted on September 19, 2007 by Art Feierman

Specs Preview

Epson PowerLite S5 Specs
Price 599
Technology 3LCD
Native Resolution SVGA (800x600)
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 2000
Contrast 400:1
Zoom Lens Ratio
Lens Shift No
Lamp Life 3000
Weight 5.7 lbs.
Warranty 2 years Parts and Labor, with overnight replacement program, both years

Incredibly affordable, incredibly bright, and well featured, the Powerlite S5, Epson's least expensive projector, is all about value and performance (and a great warranty). Quite honestly, it was a slam dunk for receiving our Hot Product Award, and may well be the best projector value in the low end of the market.

Epson Powerlite S5 Key Points

  • Extremely bright
  • Rich saturated, accurate colors
  • Great warranty
  • Very good, overall design
  • Lacks zoom lens
  • Aggressively priced at under $600

Ahh, it must be another year, for here we go again, with another review of Epson's entry level S series. This year we are up to the Powerlite S5 version. Previous models included the S1, S1+, S3, and S4. In each case Epson has produced a solid performing portable, SVGA projector.

The Epson S5 is no exception. Although it looks the same as the Epson S4, it is about a pound lighter than the last generation. Most notably, it is significantly brighter.

Once more, Epson has produced an affordable projector that actually, dramatically exceeds its brightness specifications. This, in a world, where most projectors tested, typically come up short of their claims when tested.

Epson has introduced a new smaller remote control for the Powerlite S5. If you like compact, you may like this remote, but personally, I think this time Epson replaced a very nice remote, with one not quite as user friendly, but more on that later. Picture quality, is excellent, and I will go over that in-depth a little later.

With almost all computers except many in schools (K-12), having XGA resolution or higher, the Epson S5's SVGA resolution is going to be a little lower than your source. The Epson S5 will compress data to handle it, but, of course, smaller type and objects will suffer from the compression. This will be discussed more in the Image Quality section. The point I want to make, though, is that, the S5 is entry level. As such most potential buyers out there should be looking to spend a bit more on a higher resolution projector, with XGA resolution, or perhaps a widescreen projector if you are using widescreen laptops, etc.

On the other hand, for those on a really limited budget, the Epson will do about as good a job as any SVGA projector around when working with the typical higher resolution sources. Still, the bulk of the S5's sold will go into schools, and small businesses on really tight budgets. Consider that it's been at least 5 years since anyone has bothered to build a mainstream SVGA computer.

Before we get started with a tour of the Epson Powerlite S5, here are some basic specs: For additional specs, and a downloadable brochure, click here.

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