Projector Reviews

Epson PowerLite U50 Projector Review – Performance

Epson PowerLite U50 Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise

Brightness

Color Mode Lumens
Dynamic 3668
Presentation 2841
Cinema 2512
sRGB 2436
Blackboard 2022
Multi-Presenter 2620

Epson claims 3,700 lumens for the PowerLite U50. I measured its brightest mode, Dynamic, at full wide-angle (the iris wide open, so the most amount of light gets through), and beat its claim by 1,000 lumens, coming in at 4,774 lumens. Epson tends to measure above claim on their business/education projectors, and home theater/entertainment projectors, as more of the rule rather than the exception, so I was not surprised.

We measure all of the modes at mid-zoom (the iris is closed halfway), as it is common for projectors to be installed using a bit of zoom. Since zooming closes the iris, letting less light through, the mid-zoom numbers are typically below claim. Dynamic, measured at mid-zoom and full power, hit 3,668 lumens, which is just a handful of lumens less than its claim. The two best modes, Presentation and Cinema, both measured at over 2,500 lumens. That’s more than enough for most classroom and conference room environments, especially those with uncontrollable ambient light.

The Epson PowerLite U50 projecting in a fully darkened room.
The Epson PowerLite U50 projecting in a fully darkened room.

The Epson PowerLite U50 projecting in ambient light.
The Epson PowerLite U50 projecting in ambient light.

I’ve included two photos above – the first shows what the image looks like in a fully darkened and the second, in high ambient light. These photos were taken in Presentation Mode, which is the “best mode” for presentations and graphics, and claims a healthy 2,841 lumens. It performed well! In most cases, you can get by with using Presentation Mode, but Dynamic is there for you if you require more brightness. It’s not half bad looking either, for a brightest mode.

Contrast

The Epson PowerLite U50 has a contrast claim of 16,000:1, with Auto-Iris on. Contrast refers to black level performance, or “how black” the blacks look, and having an Auto-Iris function helps with that. Business and education projectors don’t require great black level performance in the same way a home entertainment or home theater projector does, so they tend to hang out in the medium grey to medium-dark grey spectrum. We don’t expect them to have true black.

That said, the U50 has good black level performance, a touch better than what we’d expect on an entry-level business or education projector. The two photos below are overexposed to show what the blacks look like to the naked eye.

A scene from Journey to Space that shows the projector's black level performance, in color.
A scene from Journey to Space that shows the projector's black level performance, in color.

A scene from Journey to Space that shows the projector's black level performance, in monochrome.
A scene from Journey to Space that shows the projector's black level performance, in monochrome.

Audible Noise

The Epson PowerLite U50 has a rated fan noise of 37db at full power, 28db in ECO Mode. That’s pretty standard for Epson projectors, and business/education projectors in general. At full power, the audible noise wasn’t all that audible.

This projector is meant to be ceiling mounted, so it will be well above the heads of students and teachers, so even those closes to the projector aren’t likely to get distracted. It’s no louder than an AC unit.

That does it for our review of the Epson PowerLite U50 projector! Check out The Summary page for a quick recap of the projector review, as well as pros and cons of this projector.

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