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Video Review: Epson PowerLite Pro G5350NL

Jan 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Jeff Sauer

An installation-oriented projector that combines networking with quality features.


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It's those last three ports that set the G5350NL apart and cater to digital-savvy installations. Admittedly, none is all that foreign; indeed, USB inputs are fairly common these days, and SD cards are starting to appear a little more often. Yet Epson has been including digital inputs in projectors since 2000, and that's made the Ethernet port and wireless options in the G5350NL mature. Ethernet functionality isn't all that rare, but for most other manufacturers, it still has been limited to remote monitoring and administrative functions. Indeed, that type of administrative oversight has obvious appeal for targeted, high-volume users, and the G5350NL supports it. The G5350NL, however, goes beyond remote administration to afford projecting images over a wired or wireless network as well using Epson's EasyMP software. You can set up the optional wireless card to function in Ad Hoc point-to-point mode or Access Point mode to allow broader network access to the projector.

A PRETTY PICTURE TOO

I measured every bit of Epson's claim of 5000 lumens of brightness and even a little more (5032 ANSI lumens) in Presentation mode. Brightness goes down in different color modes (about 20 percent in sRGB, 25 percent in theater, etc.), but that is certainly to be expected. The 3LCD consortium has also been pushing a new measure called “color brightness,” which is the sum of brightness measurements on individual red, green, and blue screens. Ideally that sum should be the same as white-screen brightness, and LCD technology certainly gets closer than single-chip DLP. For the G5350NL, Epson claims the same 5000 lumens, but I measured it at a still very respectable 4658 ANSI lumens.

The rest of the G5350NL's fundamentals are equally impressive. I measured a contrast ratio of 830:1. That's a little shy of Epson's 1000:1 mark, but mine was measured straight in Presentation without any brightness or contrast alterations. Epson also achieved an extremely good 93.9-percent brightness uniformity and very consistent color temperature across a range of grayscale values in sRGB mode. I did see a drop of about 500K near the top of the white range, but only in Presentation mode.

Epson's color reproduction was also extremely good. It's the most consistent boast of 3LCD technology over DLP, which isn't always the case. With the G5350NL, Epson backs it up with very solid, if slightly oversaturated, primaries (only red hinted away from center, a bit toward green) and near-rock-solid secondaries.

Picture quality is also very good. With XGA sources, even test patterns were crisp and sharp. Higher-resolution sources forced some minor moiré effects and some softness around sharp text, but that's almost inevitable, and the G5350NL rates very high compared to similar projectors.

Overall, Epson has cut very few corners (aside from the manual lens shift) with the G5350NL. Image quality is extremely good, as are the connectivity options, so it's easy to like the G5350NL as a straight high-brightness installation projector — especially given the excellent contrast and good color. Yet, with the addition of the Epson's integration of IT features, the G5350NL also offers considerable advantages in remote administration and wireless and wired networking that would make it a workhorse in business and educational environments.



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