Epson puts the PowerLite 1965 XGA 3LCD Projector ($1,899 direct), on its list of projectors for small rooms. Given its 5,000 lumen rating however—enough to throw a 185-inch diagonal XGA image in a room with moderate ambient light—it’s much more appropriate for a mid- to large-size conference room or classroom. Factor in the near-excellent data image quality and above par video quality for a data projector, and it can be an excellent fit. All this makes it an Editors’ Choice for XGA projectors.
In many ways, the 1965 is similar to two other Epson projectors, which are also both built around an LCD-based, XGA (1024 by 768) engine and are also both Editors’ Choices: the Epson PowerLite 1835 XGA 3LCD Projector
($1,099 direct, 4 stars) and the Epson PowerLite 1880 MultiMedia Projector. In fact, the most significant difference between the three is their brightness, with the 1835 rated at 3,500 lumens and the 1880 rated at 4,000 lumens.
Connections, Setup, and Brightness
The PowerLite 1965 is reasonably light at 8.5 pounds, but it’s a little too big to carry around easily, which means it’s best limited to permanent installation or room-to-room portability on a cart. Setup is absolutely typical, with a manual focus, a manual 1.6x zoom lens, and a back panel that offers a wide variety of ports.
The connection choices include HDMI 1.3; the usual VGA and composite video inputs; a USB Type B connector for sending data over a USB connection or controlling your PC’s mouse pointer from the projector’s remote, and a LAN port as well as Wi-Fi for both controlling the projector and sending data.
There are also two USB A connectors, with one for a document camera and the other for reading files directly from a USB memory key. Somewhat surprisingly, there’s no connector for S-video, but there is one for DisplayPort.
For my tests, I set up the projector with a 78-inch wide (98-inch diagonal) image. As you might expect from the high brightness rating, the image was easily bright enough to stand up to the ambient light in a typical classroom or conference room. As one point of reference, the SMPTE (The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) recommendations peg 5000 lumens as appropriate for roughly a 300-inch diagonal screen size in theater dark lighting.
Data and Video Image Quality
The PowerLite 1965′s data image quality is just short of excellent, with bright, vibrant colors in all modes. However, our standard suite of DisplayMate tests turned up some minor color balance issues. With most of the presets, most shades of gray where suitably neutral, but the brightest shades approaching white were just a touch yellow or yellow green. No modes were fully neutral at all levels from black to white, including the Dicom Sim mode, which is meant to simulate the standards defined for medical images. Unless you have a critical need for color to be just so, however, these issues shouldn’t be problems.
Far more important for most data images is that the PowerLite 1965 does an excellent job with detail. Both black text on white and white text on black were crisp, clean, and highly readable at sizes as small as 6.8 points. In addition, images that tend to cause pixel jitter were rock solid even with an analog connection.
The video quality is also notable for being above par for a data projector, with image quality that’s good enough to be watchable for a full length movie. With XGA (1024 by 768) resolution, high definition video loses detail when it’s scaled to fit in the 1965′s available pixels, but in my tests the projector delivered reasonably good color for video and did a good job with skin tones. And because it’s an LCD projector, it can’t show rainbow artifacts, which are always a potential problem for DLP projectors.
I saw a hint of posterization (shading changing suddenly where it should change gradually) and a slight loss of shadow detail (details based on shading in dark areas), but to a much lesser extent than with most data projectors and only in scenes that tend to cause these problems.
Also worth mention is the 1965′s sound system, with a 10-watt mono speaker that’s loud enough to easily fill a mid-size room. I heard a slight bottom-of-the-barrel echo effect, but it was noticeable only with quietly spoken dialog. Unless you need stereo or top tier audio quality you shouldn’t need an external sound system.
As should be obvious, the Epson PowerLite 1965 XGA 3LCD Projector offers lots of strong points and no real weaknesses. It delivers near excellent data image quality, above par video for a data projector, all the connectors you’re likely to need, and an audio system with reasonably good sound quality and enough volume to be useful. If you’re looking for an XGA projector that’s bright enough to throw a big image in large conference room or classroom, the Epson PowerLite 1965 XGA 3LCD Projector is easily up to the task, and an easy pick for Editors’ Choice.
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Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc