A close competitor to the NEC NP-P401W, the Epson PowerLite 1940W WXGA 3LCD Projector ($1,299) offers many of the same strengths, most notably a bright image and excellent quality for data images. It also offers some features that the NEC model lacks, including a DisplayPort connector. The combination isn’t enough to replace the NEC projector as Editors’ Choice for WXGA projector for permanent installation in a mid- to large-size room, but it’s enough to make the 1940W a strong contender.
Like other projectors that take advantage of a three-LCD design, including the NEC NP-P401W and the NEC NP-M311W, the 1940W offers both advantages and disadvantages compared with most DLP models.
One key advantage is that because three-chip LCD models use a different approach to creating colors than DLP models, like the Optoma X401 use, they can’t show the rainbow artifacts (flashes of red, green, and blue) that almost all DLP models show. The three-chip design also ensures matching results for color and white brightness, which isn’t always true for DLP projectors. That means you don’t have to worry whether there’s a difference between the two, which can affect both color quality and the brightness of color images.
The key disadvantage compared with DLP projectors is that the 1940W lacks 3D capability, which you’ll find in virtually all recent DLP models. If you need 3D, that makes the 1940W the wrong choice. For most applications, however, that shouldn’t be an issue.
Connections and Setup
At 8.5 pounds, the 1940W is a half-pound lighter than the NP-P401W, but still heavy enough to make it most appropriate for permanent installation or room-to-room portability on a cart. Setup is standard, with manual focus and manual zoom.
The 1.6x zoom offers significant flexibility in how far you can put the projector from the screen for any given size image, but it’s a bit less than the 1.7x zoom that the NEC P401W offers. The 1940W doesn’t offer any lens shift, which is one of the NEC P401W’s nicer touches. Leaving out this feature isn’t unusual for projectors in this weight class, but it’s a useful convenience. In the NEC P401W’s case, it lets you move the image up and down, without having to tilt the projector and then having to correct for keystone distortion.
The back panel on the 1940W offers all the connecters you’re likely to need, with choices for image input that include the usual HDMI for a computer or video source, VGA for a computer or component video, and composite video. In addition, there’s a DisplayPort, a USB Type A port for reading files directly from a USB memory key or for connecting a document camera, and a LAN port, which lets you send images (but not audio), as well as control the projector, over a network.
Brightness and Image Quality
Epson rates the 1940W at 4,200 lumens. According to the SMPTE (The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) recommendations, that would make it bright enough for roughly a 245- to 335-inch (diagonal) screen size in theater-dark lighting.
For my tests, I used a 78-inch wide (92-inch diagonal) image. As you would expect from the SMPTE recommendations, at the projector’s brightest setting, the image was easily bright enough to stand up to ambient light, and too bright to look at comfortably with the lights out. However, you can adjust the brightness to lower levels by picking one of the lower brightness preset modes, using the Eco power mode, or both.
Image quality is a strong point for the 1940W, with near-excellent quality for data images and better-than-typical quality for video. On our standard suite of DisplayMate tests, color was vibrant and well saturated in all preset modes. However, the projector showed a slight problem with detail. Both black text on white and white text on black, for example, were crisp and easily readable at 7.5 points, but hard to read at 6.8 points. The video was a pleasant surprise, with unusually good color quality for a data projector.
The audio system also counts as a plus, with the 10-watt mono speaker delivering good sound quality and enough volume for a medium-size room. If you need stereo or higher volume, you can connect an external sound system to the stereo output. One other notable feature is a split-screen setting, which lets you show images from two sources at once at the same size, or set either one to be larger than the other.
The NEC P401W’s conveniences, particularly its lens shift, plus slightly better image quality for data than the Epson projector offers, keep it firmly in place as Editors’ Choice for WXGA projector for permanent installation in a mid- to large-size room. However, the Epson PowerLite 1940W WXGA 3LCD Projector comes in a close second, with its 1.6x zoom, near-excellent quality for data images, better video quality than the NEC model offers, and extras, including the DisplayPort. Depending on your particular needs, it could even be the better fit.
|Native Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Computer Interfaces||Analog VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort|
|Rated Contrast Ratio||3000|
|Video Interfaces||Component, Composite, HDMI|
|Rated Brightness||4200 ANSI lumens|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc