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Epson EMP-810

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  • Editors' rating
    7.5 Very good

Pros

  • High light output
  • good connectivity.

Cons

  • Neither cheap nor ultraportable.

Epson's latest bright new thing is the EMP-810 video projector. It's neither lightweight nor cheap, but its high light output means it can be used in a normally lit room and still be seen very clearly.

The EMP-810 is an LCD projector with a native XGA (1,024 x 768) resolution. Other resolutions are interpolated to fit this - for example, we were able to feed a 1,600 by 1,200 pixel signal to the projector and still get a reasonable image. Manual focus and optical zoom facilities are provided on the lens, allowing you to adjust the picture size without having to move the projector. There's digital keystone correction, which will square up the picture when you're projecting at an angle. This does lower the quality of the image slightly, but is useful nonetheless.

The EMP-810 has a claimed output of 2,000 ANSI lumens, which is almost double the brightness of mainstream projectors. We used the EMP-810 in an artificially lit room and the image was very clear. Bright sunlight may well reduce the contrast of the image, but there should be no need to turn the lights off in the room to see the projector's output. This is an impressive feat -- just don't look into the light beam.

Plenty of video and audio input options are provided -- VGA, DVI, S-Video and composite inputs are all available, and you can connect audio through a 3.5mm jack or phono socket. There's also a USB sound input option, described below. Cables for all analogue video input options are supplied, plus a USB cable. The composite video cable also includes audio.

The infrared remote control replicates all the front panel functions. It's got an on/off switch on the side, so remember this when you're in front of your audience. You can control the 'E-Zoom' from the remote, which allows you to zoom in on particular parts of the screen. The remote's trackpoint-style direction control can be used to move around the screen while in zoom mode. The projector has IR receivers on both the front and rear of the unit, so you can use the remote from both directions.

The projector's USB port serves a number of purposes. It has USB mouse emulation, making it possible to use the remote control as your PC's mouse -- providing you have an operating system which supports this. It's also a USB sound device, allowing you to use the built-in speakers for your PC's sound output. The built-in speakers aren't particularly loud, so if you're planning to use sound extensively in your presentation you may be advised to use an external speaker system. There's a USB downstream socket in the projector, so you can daisy chain further USB devices from it.

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We were able to use the USB mouse and sound facilities under Windows 2000 without any problems. The OS did detect the projector as a USB device in its own right, for which we had no drivers. However, this didn't appear to affect any of the other functions.

One neat feature allows you to store part of the display as a 'user's logo', which you can choose to display when there's no valid input detected. You simply show the image you want as your logo on screen, and capture it using the remote control. The logo captured is 400 by 300 pixels, but you can choose to display it at 2x or 4x zoom if you want it to fill the screen.

At 4.2kg this is no ultraportable projector, and it's also not small by today's standards. However, it's still compact enough to move between rooms without needing a trolley.

At £4,199 (ex. VAT) , the EMP-810 isn't a cheap projector. However, its high light output makes it suitable for all types of input, whether presentations or live video. The feature set is none too shabby either, so it could well be worth shelling out the extra if you just have to be seen.

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