The Epson EMP-400W is an impressive projector with sci-fi looks.
The Epson EMP-400W certainly looks distinctive. Some effort has been spent on the styling, which is curvy in light and mid-tone beige. But its most obvious feature is the gigantic lens, which looks like it would be more comfortable in a sci-fi movie than a meeting room.
If you can tear your gaze away from the Epson EMP-400W's glassy stare, at the rear you’ll find a modest collection of connectors – two VGAs, a pass-through, composite and S-video, and an ethernet connector. There’s no component video and no HDMI. There’s no mention of supported video modes in the specifications, but the native 1,280 x 800 resolution should have no problems with 720p or 1080i HD, and the 16:10 widescreen format automatic switches to the more usual 4:3 and 16:9 formats.
The menu system is straightforward. It’s not quite crystal clear, but an Escape button on the Epson EMP-400W's supplied remote makes navigation easier, and the horizontal format is easier to work with than some of the more exotic onscreen display (OSD) layouts offered by the competition.
The Epson EMP-400W's remote is tiny and slightly underwhelming. The buttons mostly just duplicate the top panel. The only added features are freeze and AV sound on/off.
Setup options include the usual selection of modes, which includes sRGB for colour accuracy, with a good selection of customisation options. There’s no support for coloured wallscreens, although you can try to create a custom compensation yourself using the Epson EMP-400W's colour controls.
The Epson EMP-400W's lens isn’t just cosmetic – this is a very short throw projector, designed to go close to the screen or wall. The diagonal-to-distance ratio is roughly 1.5:1, so when the projector is around 1m from the screen the projected image has a diagonal of around 1.5m. This makes it ideal for smaller rooms, and it’s also a more convenient format than the traditional short-throw models because presenters can leave it behind them – they don’t have to look into the light, and they won’t cast shadows.
The limited 1,800 lumen brightness will struggle in ambient sunlight, but the Epson EMP-400W is bright enough for most typically British ambient weather and lighting.