Epson BrightLink Pro 1410Wi Meeting Room Productivity Tool review

The Epson BrightLink Pro 1410Wi Meeting Room Productivity Tool lets people in different locations interact with the same image.
Photo of Epson BrightLink Pro 1410Wi Meeting Room Productivity Tool

Depending on your point of view, the Epson BrightLink Pro 1410Wi Meeting Room Productivity Tool is either nearly identical to the Editors’ Choice Epson BrightLink 485Wi with one major feature added, or it’s a completely different kind of projector and potentially the first in an entirely new category. Either way, it’s certainly worth considering.

Physically similar to the 485Wi, the 1410Wi offers essentially the same three-chip LCD engine, the same ultra-short throw (which lets it project a big image from close to the screen), and all the same leading-edge interactive features. It also adds one more: the ability to interact with the same image in up to four locations, each equipped with its own 1410Wi projector. But more on that later. Let’s start with the basics.

Basics
The 1410Wi largely matches the 485Wi point for point, with a WXGA (1,280 by 800) native resolution, a 3,100 lumen rating, and the option to mount it either horizontally or vertically, facing straight down, to create an interactive table top. According to Epson, the cooling system works just as well in either orientation.

For interactivity, the 1410Wi offers the same features as Epson’s other current generation interactive projectors, including the Epson BrightLink 436Wi Interactive WXGA 3LCD Projector as well as the 485Wi. It lets you use two pens at once; it lets you annotate images from any source at all or none, so you can use it as a whiteboard; and although you need to calibrate the pen with the screen, the calibration is fully automatic, making it almost as painless as not needing calibration at all.

Multiple Locations
The multiple-location interactivity, for remote collaboration, differentiates the 1410Wi from other interactive Epson models. It also stands apart from the other advanced interactive features. When you’re using it, you lose the ability to annotate with two pens at once and you’re limited to working with a computer as the image source. What you gain is the ability for people in separate locations to all interact with the same image, although not simultaneously, since only one pen will work at a time.

To use the feature, you need to connect two or more 1410Wis to the same network, with the projector allowing both wired and Wi-Fi connections. Being on the same network in this context includes connections through a VPN according to Epson, so you can connect from literally anywhere.

To connect, you run Epson’s software on a computer that’s also on the same network, let it find all the active 1410Wis, and then pick which projectors you want to include in the meeting. Give the command to start, and the computer’s screen will show on all of the projectors. More significantly, however, you can interact with the image using any projector, and all the other projectors will show your annotations.

I tried this with two 1410Wis, and it worked as promised. However, note that if your computer is old and slow enough, the lag between annotating with the pen and seeing the results can be extreme enough to make the feature nearly useless. For a reasonable level of responsiveness, Epson recommends a minimum of a dual-core CPU and 512 MB RAM.

Setup
Except for the multiple location feature, setting up the 1410Wi is standard for an interactive projector. Given its weight, at 13.0 pounds, and size, at 9.0 by 14.5 by 14.8 inches (HWD), the projector is small enough to put on a cart for room to room portability, but it’s meant primarily for permanent installation. In addition to the LAN connector and Wi-Fi support that I already mentioned, connection options for images include the usual HDMI, VGA, and composite video ports, plus DisplayPort, USB A ports for a USB memory key and document camera, and a USB B port for USB display as well for the interactive feature.

For my tests, I used a 92-inch diagonal image (78-inches wide) with the front of the projector just 11 inches from the screen, and the window in the back, where the image comes from, at just 22 inches. Epson says the full range for the image size is 60 to 100 inches diagonally, with the front of the projector 2.5 to 12.2 inches from the screen.

One potentially annoying complication is that you won’t find any setup instructions in the quick start guide that comes with the projector. Instead, they’re hidden in the PDF file on disc, which, to borrow the old joke about verbal contracts, makes them worth the paper they’re printed on. Epson says this shouldn’t be a problem, because it expects most 1410Wis will be sold by dealers who will also install them. However, the projector is available on Epson’s Web site as well. If you buy it directly, finding the setup instructions can be a challenge.

Brightness, Image Quality, and Sound
The 1410Wi is easily bright enough to stand up to the ambient light in most offices, with a 3,100 lumen rating, which is typical for this class of projector.

As with most Epson projectors, the 1410Wi did well for data image quality. It handled our standard suite of DisplayMate tests swimmingly, with nicely saturated, eye-catching color, excellent color balance, and reasonably crisp, highly readable text even at small font sizes. Video quality was also good for a data projector, despite the obvious limits of the 1,280 by 800 native resolution. You won’t mistake the image for something produced by a home theater projector, but it’s good enough to watch for long sessions.

The audio system earns praise as well, with enough volume to fill a mid to large-size conference room. Even better, the quality is good enough so I could make out every word of some quietly spoken dialog that comes out mangled with most projector sound systems.

A Business Appliance
One last issue that demands mention is the 1410Wi’s status as a potentially different category of projector. As suggested by the phrase Meeting Room Productivity Tool in the projector’s full name, the 1410Wi is meant as a business appliance, the same way a TV is a consumer appliance.

The basic idea is that once the projector is set up, anyone can walk into the conference room and use it without much fuss. You can simply turn it on to use in its PC-free mode as a whiteboard, which Epson says is its primary purpose; or you can connect a PC, iThing, or other device for a presentation, with or without interactivity; or you can fire it up for a multi-location meeting.

The 1410Wi even comes with a control box that you can plug both a USB printer and USB memory key into so you can print your annotations or save them to a PDF or PNG file with the touch of a button. There are also equivalent buttons that you can choose on the whiteboard screen, plus one for sending the current screen by email, with the projector serving as a direct email sender. I didn’t have an appropriate printer to test with, but the other buttons I tested worked as promised.

As should be obvious, the 1410Wi projector, or productivity tool as Epson would have it, is strong on versatility. It starts with all the capabilities that make the Epson BrightLink 485Wi Editors’ Choice, and then goes further, including some tricks that no other projector even tries to do.

Despite a few rough spots, like the hidden setup instructions, it largely succeeds in providing features that you won’t find elsewhere, most notably the multi-location interactivity. If you want those extras, the Epson BrightLink Pro 1410Wi Meeting Room Productivity Tool is more than just a reasonable choice. For the moment, at least, it’s your only choice.

Specifications
Native Resolution 1280 x 800
Video Inputs Component, Composite, HDMI, S-Video
Computer Interfaces Analog VGA, HDMI
Wireless Connectivity Yes
Weight 13 lb
Rated Contrast Ratio 3000
Engine Type LCD
Aspect Ratio 16
Rated Brightness 3100 ANSI lumens

Verdict
The Epson BrightLink Pro 1410Wi Meeting Room Productivity Tool adds a new trick for interactive projectors, allowing the same interactive image at multiple locations.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc