Projector Reviews

Optoma W460 Business and Education Projector Review – Summary

Optoma W460 Business and Education Projector Review – Summary: Summary, The Competition, Pros, Cons

Summary

The Optoma W460 is a WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution projector priced at $849. It has DLP technology, and a lamp life of 2,500 hours in Bright mode (full power), 3,500 in ECO and 4,500 in Education Cycle, another power saving mode. It is light weight and portable, weighing just 6.75 pounds. It is a small projector that packs a big punch for presentations and video content alike, and is ideal for situations where the projector will be passed around from room to room, or being taken on the road for presentations and training.

It has a manufacturer claim of 4,600 lumens, which it did not meet, but came in relatively close with its brightest mode, Bright, measuring 3,736 lumens. This is not a pretty mode in terms of color, and should only be used in the most dire of circumstances. Presentation mode is the next brightest mode and should be your top choice when combatting a lot of ambient light, as it measured a bright 2,887 lumens. Cinema Mode, the best mode, measured at 1,889 – still respectable – while the next best mode, sRGB, came in at 1,486. The final two modes are specialty modes – Blackboard, which is intended to be used on blackboards, go figure, measured 2,759, and DICOM SIM., a high contrast mode intended for use with X-Ray films, which came in at 2,887 lumens.

It has a white case with the lens mounted to the right side of the projector. Its recessed lens has a 1.2:1 zoom, with its manual controls located on the top behind the lens, also recessed. The control panel is also on top, toward the back, and is nicely laid out. On the left side of the projector, we have the hot air exhaust vents, and on the right, the cool air intake vents. The inputs and connectors panel is on the back, and the 16-watt speaker is on the bottom of the projector.

Optoma W460 Inputs and Connectors
The Optoma W460 has all the inputs and connectors needed for presentations and other such business and education applications.

The inputs and connectors panel is rather simple, but has all the ports necessary for a K-12 classroom or conference room setup. Starting from the left, there are two HDMI inputs – one with MHL for streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon FireTV, and Chromecast, to name a few. Next to those is the obligatory RS-232C connector for old school command and control.

Two VGA inputs are stacked to the right, with the VGA-In for connecting a computer on the top, and a VGA-Out for connecting a monitor. Two Audio inputs, also stacked, are next to the VGAs. Those are the Audio In and Audio Out ports. The LAN port is next to that, then a 12V Out input next to two USBs.

The USBs are labeled differently – the top one is labeled “USB,” while the bottom is “USB Reader / Display.” There is a Micro USB next to that for connecting a Mouse, and the input also doubles as a Service Port. The power receptacle is on the far left at the bottom. That’s it! As you can see from the photo, the inputs and connectors are nicely laid out and should be easily accessible no matter your mounting style.

The Optoma W460 did a great job on skin tones when projecting in its best mode, Cinema. The color temperature leans a bit toward the warmer side, while sRGB, the second best mode, leans toward the cooler side of the spectrum. All the colors look pretty natural in Cinema mode, though there is a slight yellow tinge that is only noticeable in some situations, such as when scenes are color corrected yellow, or in certain slides that are meant to be true blue but come out slightly aqua. All of these photos look pretty good, but keep in mind that whatever you see in these photos is bound to look better in person.

The Competition

The Optoma W460’s direct competitor from this year’s report is the Sony VPL-EW435, which is $100 less than the Optoma at $749. Now, that projector doesn’t include a wireless module – you have to buy one separate – and the W460 does. So the $849 price works out the same when you consider that. Both are lamp based projectors, but with very different hours. The Sony has 4,000 to 10,000 hours, while the Optoma has a lamp life of 2,500 to 4,500 hours. Lamps are inexpensive these days, however, so this is barely an issue.

The two projectors have different technology. The Optoma, as you know by now, has DLP technology, which uses a color wheel to produce the colors you see on the screen. The Sony has 3LCD, which uses three panels (red, green, and blue) to produce the full spectrum of color. DLP produces the full spectrum, too, but I find that 3LCD projectors generally have a more beautiful image in terms of color. They’re vibrant, even in the face of ambient light – this is because 3LCD projectors produce as many color lumens as they do white ones, so I favor the Sony in regards to color.

They both have WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution, but that doesn’t mean they have the same level of sharpness. Text on the Sony is sharper than the Optoma, if only by a smidge. Both are portable, with the Optoma W460 being a few pounds lighter and slightly smaller, which makes it ideal for road warriors or those who will be passing the projector from room to room. The Sony VPL-EW435 has slightly more placement flexibility, with a 1.3:1 zoom lens, as opposed to the Optoma W460’s 1.2:1. The Sony also has a louder speaker at 16-watts rather than 10-watts – important if you’ve got a larger classroom or conference room. 10-watts is enough for a medium to small sized classroom.

The Sony’s special features include PC-Free Presenting, a feature shared by the Optoma W460, a Remote Control App for iOS and Android, and Advanced Networking. The Optoma has both PC-Free Presenting and Advanced Networking, as well as 3D capabilities. Both have excellent warranties, with the Optoma slightly beating out the Sony in this regard. Three years parts and labor on both, with 90 days on the lamp for the Sony, and 1 year on the lamp for the Optoma, with 3 Years of Optoma Express Service. Check out this year’s report to see if either one when it gets published this month.

Pros

  • 4,600 Lumen Claim – 3,736 measured in Bright mode
  • WXGA Resolution (1280 x 800)
  • DLP Technology
  • 20,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 1.2:1 Zoom Lens
  • Wireless Capability – Using the included USB module, HDCast Pro can project Android, Mac OS, and Windows devices
  • PC-Free Presentation – An on-board media player allows for presenting via USB, without the need for a computer
  • Crestron RoomView Ready – Allows remote controlling of multiple projectors in a setup from a web browser
  • 3D Ready – Play 3D content, viewable using 3D DLP Link glasses
  • 10-Watt Mono Speaker – Loud enough for a small to medium sized classroom or conference room
  • Excellent Warranty – 3 years parts and labor, with 1 year on the lamp, and 3 years of Optoma Express Service

Cons

  • Did not meet claim
  • Low lamp life of 2,500 to 4,500 hours means lamp will have to be replaced more often
  • Color could be a little better
  • No backlight on the remote – typical of these projectors, but it would be a nice feature for darkened classrooms

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