Epson PowerLite 425W WXGA 3LCD Projector review

The Epson PowerLite 425W WXGA 3LCD Projector provides solid data and video image quality and a wide range of connection choices in a short-throw projector.
Photo of Epson PowerLite 425W WXGA 3LCD Projector

The Epson PowerLite 425W WXGA 3LCD Projector is a capable short-throw data projector with a wide range of connection choices. It costs slightly less than several similar projectors we’ve looked at, yet provides a good feature set and solid data and video performance.

The 425W has native WXGA (1,280 by 800 pixel) resolution, a 16:10 widescreen aspect ratio compatible with many laptops. It has a rated brightness of 2,500, not quite as bright as the 3,000-lumen Epson PowerLite 435W. The projector’s light engine uses the 3LCD technology that Epson helped develop. (Our testing has demonstrated that LCD projectors show the same color brightness as white brightness, while single-chip DLP projectors tend to have considerably lower color brightness than white brightness.)

This gray and white projector measures 6.2 by 13.6 by 11.7 inches (HWD) and weighs 8.5 pounds. It lacks a zoom, as is commonly the case with short-throw projectors. The 425W has a generous selection of ports: two VGA ports (which double as component video) with audio jacks; monitor-out (with an audio-out jack); HDMI; 3 RCA plugs for composite video and audio; S-video; a type B USB port for connecting with a PC (USB Plug ‘n Play provides easy connectivity with both Macs and Windows PCs); a USB type A port for a thumb drive or the optional Wi-Fi adapter ($99 direct); RS-232C; an Ethernet port; and a microphone jack.

Testing
The 425W’s image filled our 60-inch-diagonal test screen from about 30 inches away. The image stood up well when I introduced a good amount of ambient light. In our DisplayMate (www.displaymate.com) testing, the 425W’s data image quality proved suitable for typical business or classroom presentations. Some images showed mild tinting, with traces of yellow in whites, and green in grays. Overall type quality was good, with black-on-white text easily readable down to the smallest size, and white-on-black test blurred at the smallest size but otherwise sharp. Colors were bright and reasonably true. Over a VGA connection, pixel jitter was visible in images that tend to bring it out; when I switched to HDMI, the jitter vanished but the tinting was more noticeable.

As an LCD projector, the 425W is immune from the rainbow effect that we often see in video from DLP projectors. Video quality should be fine for shorter clips as part of a presentation. I did notice occasional posterization (abrupt shifts in color in places where they should be gradual). I saw some mild tinting in some scenes (white hospital gowns appearing light blue, for example). I also noticed traces of a textured pattern resembling pixilation in some scenes, though it’s unusual to see any pixilation in a WXGA projector when using our test screen.

The 425W’s audio is loud, as you’d expect from the 16-watt speaker. There was slight distortion at the highest volumes, but even when the volume was turned down enough to eliminate it, the sound was still loud enough to fill a mid-sized room.

The 425W’s lamp lifetime is rated at up to 6,000 hours in Eco mode, and up to 5,000 hours in normal mode. Both are good figures for a projector of this class.

The 425W’s video quality couldn’t quite match that of its brighter cousin, the Epson PowerLite 435W Multimedia Projector, which is otherwise very similar in features and performance. With the 425W, you may save some money and still get a fine short-throw projector.

The 425W isn’t quite as bright as the 3,100-lumen Optoma TW610ST, an Editors’ Choice, doesn’t have quite as good data image quality, and lacks the Optoma’s 3D capability. It is free of the TW610ST’s rainbow effect and has a better port selection, though. Another Editors’ Choice, the 3,000-lumen NEC Display Solutions NP-M300WS, is LCD based like the 425W, but has a better video quality as well as top-notch data image quality, nearly as good a port selection as the Epson, and a thumping sound system.

The Epson PowerLite 425W is a worthy choice as a WXGA short-throw projector, and may save some money over similar models. Both data and video image quality are solid if not spectacular, audio is loud, and it has a wide range of connection ports. It should be a welcome addition to many a classroom and conference room.

Specifications
Native Resolution 1280 x 800
Video Inputs Component, Composite, HDMI, S-Video
Computer Interfaces Analog VGA
Wireless Connectivity No
Weight 8.5 lb
Rated Contrast Ratio 3000
Engine Type LCD
Type Business
Aspect Ratio 16
Rated Brightness 2500 ANSI lumens

Verdict
The Epson PowerLite 425W WXGA 3LCD Projector provides solid data and video image quality and a wide range of connection choices in a short-throw projector.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc