Supplementing its line of video projectors for the boardroom, classroom and home media room, Epson last summer unveiled its PowerLite 4000 series of industrial-grade projectors for auditoriums, large conference rooms and other high-usage settings that also call for high resolution. For testing, Epson sent the CRN Test Center the PowerLite 4855WU, the high-end model that puts out 4,000 lumens with a native resolution of 1,920-x-1,200 pixels (WUXGA, hence the model number).
The 4855WU is a relatively large unit, at about 18 inches x 14 inches x 6 inches, including its three retractable (threaded) feet. Yet it weighs just 14.3 pounds. The unit can be set on, or affixed to, a table or cart, mounted upside down on a ceiling and used to project from the front or rear of the screen. The lamp and dust filter can be serviced regardless of the mounting method. There's also a Kensington lock port, and an RJ-45 port for network remote control, content delivery, monitoring and maintenance with health alerts via email.
The rear panel is home to a small group of projector menu controls and a wide variety of inputs. There are one each for HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, component (BNC) and composite (RCA), the latter three with accompanying audio. There's also an S-video input and a VGA output. Once all the connections are in place, a cover hides the clutter of cables. A split-screen function permits two digital video sources to be displayed at once in any of three layouts. A small, 10-watt speaker puts out adequate sound.
A wireless remote has lighted keys and operates all projector menu functions. It also adds dedicated buttons for all inputs, plus volume, split screen, digital zoom up to 4X plus three user-programmable functions. A help button displays a menu of common ills, such as "the image is small" and "there is no audio." The remote works from a variety of angles to a distance of about 50 feet. The projector can be set to accept remote input from the front, rear, both or neither. The 4855 also can display images on mobile devices using iProjection, Epson's app for Android and for iOS.
On power-up, the 4855 achieves full brightness after about 10 seconds. It's rated to consume a maximum of 387 watts during normal operation and 311 watts in eco mode. During normal-mode tests, it drew 342 watts and 264 watts in eco mode. As rated, it drew less than one watt in standby mode with communications off, and two watts with communications enabled, less than half its 4.3-watt rating.
Inside is Epson's tried-and-true 3LCD projection system, and a poly-silicon TFT active matrix and three 2.3-megapixel panels, one each for red, green and blue. The picture is further enhanced with Faroudja DCDi processing for film-to-video deinterlacing and noise reduction. There's also a DICOM simulation mode for better gray-scales display, such as for medical imaging. The center-lens design offers manual controls for size and focus, and adjusters for horizontal and vertical picture position.
The PowerLite 4855WU puts out crisp, clear images. Colors on this full-HD projector pop with amazing realism without oversaturation or over-modulation. We first used the projector's built-in test patterns and saw perfect fine lines, grids and color bars. Next, we brought up the CRN Test Center's standard test images and found no issues with bleeding, banding or distortion. White and black saturation were well within normal parameters.
For professional installations that require a high-resolution projector that's full-featured and remotely manageable, the CRN Test Center recommends the $2,999-list Epson PowerLite 4855WU. It uses model 260 W UHE lamp, which is rated to deliver about 4,000 hours of normal operation or 5,000 hours in eco mode. Replacement cost is around $200.
PUBLISHED MARCH 28, 2014