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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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Epson Powerlite Pro

Epson has been a leader in integrating projectors into digital infrastructures for almost a decade, with wired and wireless networking capabilities that afford both remote administration and digital-image connectivity. One of Epson's newest PowerLite Pro models, the G5350NL, combines that networking with an affordable, yet feature-laden medium-venue installation model that boasts high brightness, excellent contrast, accurate color, and the flexibility of five lens options.

The native XGA PowerLite Pro G5350NL uses three 0.8in. LCD panels, and it comes in a 15lb. chassis designed for installation. There are no unit-top controls, but rather a small set of only-if-necessary manual controls next to the inputs on the rear of the unit. The clear intent is that installers will set up the projector using the presenters' wireless remote that comes with the projector. The remote includes six dedicated input buttons, full trackball/mouse capabilities, page up/down functions, volume control, freeze frame, AV mute, a laser pointer, and complete menu access and navigation.

As one would expect from an installation-oriented projector, the G5350NL also includes both horizontal and vertical lens shift. To keep the price down, Epson has gone with manual lens-shift knobs that are located on the top of the chassis. Focus and zoom are also manual. I tested the unit with the standard lens option ($1,399), but there are four other lenses that work with the G5350NL: two middle-throw lenses, a long-throw lens, and a rear-projection lens. These lenses range from 0.78:1 for the rear-projection lens up to 7.2:1 for the long-throw.

Epson has also included both horizontal and vertical keystone correction, as well as corner correction for off-angle projection. Epson calls it “Quick Corner,” and it gives the installer the ability to tug at each of the four corners of the image individually should the room not allow for a direct-angle projector. However, as with similar functionality from other makers, there's rarely anything quick about the process of getting an off-angle image just right. Still, it's a valuable tool in situations where it's needed.

The G5350NL has a plethora of color-mode presets to assist with setup. Presentation, sRGB, and Theater modes are common and straightforward. Yet Epson adds a black-and-white Text mode for very high ambient light, an over-saturated color Photo mode, a similarly vivid Sports mode for entertainment installations, a Game mode that prioritizes grayscale range, a Blackboard mode that re-adjusts for projection onto a green chalkboard, and a Custom mode that affords individual color adjustments.

For connectivity, the G5350NL has two computer channels via either two 15-pin D-sub ports (as well as a 15-pin monitor output) or one 15-pin and one 5-BNC RGBHV that also can input YPrPb or YcrCb component video. There's also an S-Video and an RCV and BNC composite input. Interestingly, while there is no DVI input, Epson does include an HDMI input for digital video. A detachable rear-panel cover can hide all ports — including ones for 9-pin RS-232, wired remote, USB, an SD card, and Ethernet — and keep installations clean.

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