Epson VS350W WXGA 3LCD Projector review

The Epson VS350W provides very good data image quality for a moderately priced, high-brightness WXGA projector.
Photo of Epson VS350W WXGA 3LCD Projector

If you’re looking for high brightness in a WXGA data projector for a moderate price, the Epson VS350W WXGA 3LCD Projector is worth a close look. It’s bright enough for use in a mid-sized or even larger conference room or classroom, even with some ambient light, and has very good data image quality.

The VS350W has native WXGA (1,280 by 800 pixel) resolution, a 16:10 widescreen aspect ratio compatible with many laptops. The projector employs a light engine that uses 3LCD technology, which Epson helped develop. It has a rated brightness of 3,700 lumens, for both color and white brightness. (Our testing has demonstrated that LCD projectors may have a significant brightness advantage in displaying colors, even when their white-light brightness is equal.)

The white and black projector measures 4.2 by 10.4 by 13.6 inches (HWD) and weighs 7.2 pounds. Although you could take it on the occasional trip, it’s most suitable for placement on a cart or even permanent installation. Behind the lens are a focus wheel, and a zoom wheel with a generous 1.6x zoom, which should make it easy to correctly size the image when you can’t move the projector.

The VS350W’s port selection is modest, its highlight being the USB type B port that supports USB Plug ‘n Play, which can be used to either let you send data images over a USB connection or control your PC’s mouse pointer from the projector’s remote.. There’s also a VGA port, S-Video, Composite Audio/Video, and a serial port.

Data Testing
The VS350W’s image filled our 60-inch-diagonal test screen from about 8 feet away. The image was bright enough to show up well with an abundance of ambient light. In our DisplayMate test ing, the VS350W’s data image quality proved above average. Type was readable down to the smallest size. Colors were bright and reasonably true. There was mild greenish tinting in some images with white or gray backgrounds, and mild pixel jitter was visible over a VGA connection in some images that tend to bring it out, but this projector’s image quality should be fine for most any presentation.

Video
On the plus side, as an LCD projector, the VS350W is immune from the rainbow effect that we often see in video from DLP-based projectors. Otherwise, posterization (the tendency for abrupt changes in color where they should be gradual) was a little more apparent than usual in video from a data projector, and I noticed some motion artifacts (occasional jaggedness at the border of light and dark zones in action scenes). Though I wouldn’t want to watch a full-length movie with the VS350W, its video quality was suitable for short to medium-length clips as part of a presentation.

Audio from the 5-watt speaker is suitably loud for use in the mid-sized to larger conference rooms this projector is intended for, and of decent quality.

This projector is a tad brighter and of higher resolution than the Editors’ Choice Epson PowerLite 1835 WXGA Data Projector, which is rated at 3,500 lumens. (In practice the brightness difference may not be discernible, as perception of brightness is logarithmic, meaning that it takes considerably more than doubling a projector’s rated brightness for it to appear twice as bright.) However, it lacks two of the Epson 1835′s most notable ports: HDMI, and USB type A. The latter lets you project images stored on a USB thumb drive. They both have very good data image quality and the 1.6x zoom. The Epson 1835′s video quality was somewhat better in our testing.

If resolution, and the ability to project very fine detail in data presentations, is paramount, the VS350W could well be your preferred projector of the two. For many, though, the 1835′s HDMI port, USB thumb drive, and slightly better video quality may make it a better choice.

Another relatively bright projector, the ViewSonic PJD6553W, is rated at 3,500 lumens and has XGA resolution. At 5.7 pounds it’s reasonably portable, while the V350W is best placed on a cart or permanently installed. In our testing, the PJD6553W showed very good data image quality and passable video. Unlike the VS350W, it has an HDMI port.

If you need a bright, high-resolution data projector, the Epson VS350W WXGA 3LCD Projector is well worth considering. It comes at a budget price, and although not lightweight, it is transportable enough for occasional trips if need be. Its data image quality is above par. If you can live with so-so video quality and the absence of an HDMI port, it’s a lot of projector for a good price.

Specifications
Native Resolution 1280 x 800
Video Inputs Component, Composite, S-Video
Computer Interfaces Analog VGA
Wireless Connectivity No
Weight 7.2 lb
Rated Contrast Ratio 3000
Engine Type LCD
Type Business
Aspect Ratio 16
Rated Brightness 3700 ANSI lumens

Verdict
The Epson VS350W provides very good data image quality for a moderately priced, high-brightness WXGA projector.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc