Epson PowerLite 1945W WXGA 3LCD Projector review

The Epson PowerLite 1945W WXGA 3LCD Projector delivers suitable brightness for a mid- to large-size room, excellent quality for data images, and Wi-Fi.
Photo of Epson PowerLite 1945W WXGA 3LCD Projector

Basically a variation on the Epson PowerLite 1940W WXGA 3LCD Projector, the Epson PowerLite 1945W WXGA 3LCD Projector ($1,699) offers virtually all of the same features. It also throws in a few extras, as it should, given that it’s significantly more expensive. Most notably, the projector adds Wi-Fi, along with some useful setup conveniences. The extras are nice to have if you’re willing to pay for them, but you need to consider whether they fully justify the additional price.

The 1945W offers three key setup features that the Epson 1940W leaves out. First is Focus Help. Press a button, and the projector puts an image on screen, automatically analyzes it, and assigns numbers both for best focus and for current focus. You then move the focus ring until the two numbers match.

Focus Help would be in contention for best setup feature ever, if only Epson had thought to mention it in the Quick Start guide. As it is, you’ll love it once you find it, but it’s far too easy to miss it precisely when it would be most helpful: the first time you set up the projector.

The two other added setup features are an automatic adjustment for horizontal and vertical keystone with a single button press, and Screen Fit, which automatically adjusts the image size to fit on the screen sitting in front of the projector. Both work well enough, but they make digital, not optical, adjustments to the image size and shape. So whether you consider these features useful depends on how you feel about the artifacts that digital keystone correction and digital zoom can introduce with some images.

Aside from these setup features and the Wi-Fi—which includes support for enterprise-level password security and works with a free app for sending images from mobile devices—there’s little difference between the 1945W and the Epson 1940W. Both are close competitors to the NEC NP-P401W, which is our Editors’ Choice for WXGA projector for permanent installation in a mid- to large-size room, and both, along with the NEC projector, are built around a three-chip LCD engine.

The three-chip design gives all three models two advantages over DLP models like the Optoma X401. First,they’re guaranteed not to show the rainbow artifacts (flashes of red, green, and blue) that almost all DLP models show. And second, unlike many DLP projectors, they offer matching results for color and white brightness, so you don’t have to worry about a difference between the two affecting either color quality or the brightness of color images.

One clear disadvantage is that the 1945W lacks 3D, which virtually all recent DLP projectors offer. For most applications, however, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Connections and Setup
Even if you take advantage of the 1945W’s automated setup tools,setup is mostly standard fare, with manual focus and manual zoom.The 1945W’s1.6x zoom offers significant flexibility in how far you can put the projector from the screen for any given size image. However, that’s less than the 1.7x zoom that the NEC P401W offers. The 1945W also lacks the NEC model’s vertical lens shift, which let you adjust the position of the image up or down without moving or tilting the projector.

Connections for image sources on the 1945W’s back panel includethe usual HDMI for a computer or video source, VGA for a computer or component video, and composite video. There’s also a DisplayPort, a USB Type A port for reading both image and video files directly from a USB memory key, a second USB Type A port for a document camera, and a LAN port that lets you send images, as well as control the projector, over a network.

Brightness and Image Quality
Epson rates the 1945W at 4,200 lumens. That makes it easily bright enough to stand up to typical office lighting with a large enough image for a mid- to large-size room. You can also adjust the brightness for a smaller screen size or lower brightness levels by choosing one of the lower brightness preset modes, using the Eco power mode, or both.

Image quality for both data screens and video is a plus. On our standard suite of DisplayMate tests, color was eye-catching and well-saturated in all preset modes, and color balance was excellent in most modes. I saw a slight problem with fine detail, with white on black text a little hard to read at sizes smaller than 7.5 points, and black on white text losing readability at sizes below 9 points. Video was surprisingly good for a data projector, with unusually good color quality.

The audio had just a touch of a bottom-of-the-barrel echo effect, but was still good enough to make out every word in our test clips, with the 10-watt mono speaker delivering enough volume for at least a medium-size conference room.

One last feature that needs mention is a split-screen mode, which lets you show images from two sources at once. You can also easily switch between, showing both images at the same size or showing either one larger than the other.

The NEC P401W’s 1.7x zoom and vertical lens shift, along with slightly better image quality for data than either Epson projector delivers, makes the NEC P401W the preferred choice in most cases, and Editors’ Choice for a WXGA projector for permanent installation in a mid- to large-size room. That said, however, both Epson projectors offer a strong challenge to the NEC P401W, with their 1.6x zoom, nearly as high quality for data images, better video quality, and extras that include DisplayPort in both cases.

Between the two Epson projectors, the Epson 1940W offers more bang for your buck. If you need Wi-Fi as a connection choice, however, or you want the Focus Help, automatic screen sizing, and automatic horizontal and vertical keystone correction—and you don’t mind paying the premium for it—the Epson PowerLite 1945W WXGA 3LCD Projector is a potentially attractive choice.

Native Resolution 1280 x 800
Wireless Connectivity Yes
Computer Interfaces Analog VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort
Weight 8.5 lb
Rated Contrast Ratio 3000
Engine Type LCD
Video Interfaces Component, Composite, HDMI
Type Business
Aspect Ratio 16
Rated Brightness 4200 ANSI lumens

The Epson PowerLite 1945W WXGA 3LCD Projector delivers suitable brightness for a mid- to large-size room, excellent quality for data images, and Wi-Fi.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc