March 23, 2006
 

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Posted: 01.27.05

Bright Lights, Small Projector

Nothing if not thorough, I put this little Epson to the test—perhaps more so than the good people at Epson intended. I spent a rainy weekend watching movies (an approximately 7-foot-wide projection being enormously more satisfying than my 13-inch TV), elicited ooo’s and ah’s from friends on New Year’s Eve, and even set it on a platform 15 feet in the air and—via remote—used it to play a documentary at the opening party of an art exhibition in a refurbished factory. Against a high, crude wall, and with lights blazing, the picture was rich and sharp—and a good 9 feet wide. Total success.
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By Michelle Maisto




The 3.9-pound projector, which tucks snugly into an included-with-purchase soft carrying case, boasts the title of best brightness-to-weight ratio of any ultraportable. (It features a brightness of 2500 ANSI lumens, a contrast ratio of 400:1 and a brightness uniformity of 90 percent.) It also sets up quickly, and is easy to focus and run. With some low-quality projectors, the projected image is often lopsided or asymmetrical; the 745c, however, features automatic keying (so it makes itself square), and it was easy to make the image smaller or larger while still crisply focused. And using the USB A port in the back (also on the back are a USB type B port, audio in, video, s-video and a computer-component connection), or the PCMCIA slot on its front, you can project what you’d like without the use of a laptop.

Personally, I thought it would be cool to run presentations—and movies—off a laptop, though wirelessly. The PowerLite includes 802.11g Wi-Fi technology and is Mac and PC compatible. The one complaint I had was that, when I couldn’t figure out how to get the projector and an Averatec laptop to communicate wirelessly and so called the Epson helpline, the person who finally did answer seemed to know as much (or as little) as I did. Granted, it was 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, so perhaps its most crack team wasn’t on duty. (Non sequitur: I also called Averatec’s helpline, and even on a “holiday” its still kept its promise of never keeping anyone on hold for longer than four minutes. Very impressive.) I did eventually get them communicating, and while it would have been a great way to show a PowerPoint or display almost anything else, the connection just couldn’t handle a movie (though the Averatec also features 802.11g), and I had to plug the projector into the laptop.

The possible uses for the PowerLite 745c are obviously numerous and varied. Being someone not big on intense instructions or long setups, I was happy to see it more or less easily perform the handful of tasks I did ask of it.

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