If you're an executive taking your projector onto the road, or a teacher moving between classrooms, you'll know that quickly setting up a projector in a new location can be a minefield. Epson has tried to address this with the Epson EB-1945W, a strong all-round projector kitted out with a few clever tools.
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Arguably, the Epson EB-1945W's prime asset is its 'testcard' approach. Rather than just expecting you to find the right settings yourself, it displays a figure or image, and then invites you to make the appropriate adjustments until the results match what's on the screen.
Take the Focus Help button, for instance. This sits just behind the lens, and a quick tap of it calculates and tells you what the optimum focus should be. You then adjust the focus until it matches the figure precisely, and the result is a steady and cleanly focused image.
Another button is there to assist you in finding the best screen size, and here you're presented with a testcard to compare your results against. Other tools allow for automatic adjustment for both the vertical and horizontal keystone, something of a coup for Epson and yet another touch that makes it simple to create a virtually flawless image in an alien environment.
Not that the Epson EB-1945W's specs don't help here. In particular, 4200 ANSI lumen (2910 ANSI lumen specified in economy mode) adds up to a stunning brightness rating that'll allow this projector to create an impressive image even in full daylight.
If anything, you're likely to have more problems with the image being too bright, and we often found ourselves toning down the Epson's levels.
The Epson EB-1945W is capable of a large image, potentially stretching as high as 280in. It has a zoom factor of 1.6x, and can create an image of 100in from just 3.4-5.5m away. Adding an extra 2m to this distance will increase the size by half as much again. For both small meeting rooms and much larger conference areas, the Epson has the capabilities.
The Epson EB-1945W isn't as attractive as some projectors we've seen. Its off-white casing is pleasing, but lacks the crispness of truly white models, while the styling is a little chunky. A few more rounded lines wouldn't have gone amiss, but the Epson EB-1945W is more about substance than styling. Indeed, it's hardly lacking in weigh, tipping the scales at 3.9kg. That makes it a bit big for carrying over longer distances in your briefcase though.
Connectivity is impressive, including both DisplayPort and HDMI. Other options include VGA, Composite and USB 2.0.
Networking options stretch to gigabit ethernet and Wi-Fi, and you can even play PDFs from USB sticks.
The Epson is quite well kitted out for PC-Free usage, and you can hook it up to an iPad, iPhone or Android smartphone, with the addition of Epson's iProjection app.
A set of built-in speakers aren't the height of audio excellence, but are good enough for adding a soundtrack to a presentation.
We would like to see better instructions included. The main story seems to come only on PDF, and we'd really like to see a physical manual detailing the many clever things possible. It's easy to miss iProjection, or the ability to share the projector across the network and display a signal from several different computers.
Epson EB-1945W: Performance
Epson projectors tend to offer strong colour, and the Epson EB-1945W is very much in the normal show-stopping mould, pushing its 3LCD technology to the full.
The contrast ration is specified at 3000:1. In viewing it had plenty of depth of shade, and we were extremely impressed at the Epson's ability to move from dark crevices to sunny outdoor scenes in the twinkling of a pixel. It's more than sharp enough to display the Windows desktop, but still packs the punchy colour needed for displaying films.
Movie buffs wouldn't buy a model like this, obviously - brightness is too high, resolution too low - but it made a very good job of our Batman test film, for instance.
Pictures fizz with colour, and the Epson EB-1945W made a much better job of bringing out detail on a high-res image than the screen of a cheap Windows laptop we were testing. The Epson is equally much at home with a page of text or a presentation.
The straightforward remote control apes many of the useful onboard controls, adding essentials like pointers. It's a little chunky, but fits securely in the hand.
Acoustic sound levels are high – its 37dB figure in normal mode reveals this as a rather loud model. You can cut this by 8dB by dropping to economy mode, but even 29dB amounts to a more than noticeable thrum. It's worth bearing in mind if you'll be projecting in quiet areas.