Published on February 24th, 2012 | by Greg0
Epson VS350W: 3700 Lumens For Under $1000
It’s Oscar week- and this Sunday, we’ll be enjoying the big show on a giant screen. And we can’t help but suggest a change in your audiovisual equipment, though we don’t mean that you need another TV. But if you’re tired of being limited to a tiny screen, less than five feet across, we’ve got the perfect solution (and it’ll save you some money).
Epson was nice enough to send one of their latest projectors our way, which came in handy during the Superbowl last month and for many presentations in the meantime. We set up the VS350W Multimedia Projector, and compared it to a previous Epson model, the EX7200. The VS350W offers plenty more brightness, at 3700 lumens versus 2600, though runs at the same native resolution (WXGA or 1280×800). As always, Epson went with 3LCD instead of DLP technology, which are now more or less equal in our opinion. And the 16:10 aspect ratio is a more natural fit than 4:3 for many cases.
As we said in the previous review, projectors do have some downsides, requiring a fair bit of throw
distance, a dark room, and that you place the unit carefully to avoid blocking the image. But the brightness of the VS350W meant that we could play Dance Central during the daytime without worrying about having the shades completely closed. We loved the instant on/off feature, which removes one of the most annoying things about most projectors- the warm-up and cool-down time. The lamp is built to last over 4000 hours, and we’re still using the original bulb on the EX7200 despite a cross-country trip and several moves. We’ll definitely trust the build quality of Epson’s projectors, and there is a two-year warranty in place as well. We didn’t need it, but they also include PrivateLine toll-free support for immediate assistance.
The remote is similar, decent if unexceptional, and runs on two AA batteries which are included in the box. As before, we liked the addition of a carrying case. The built-in speaker won’t be of much use for movies or gaming, but can handle some sound effects for presentations. This is a powerful system that is excellent for stationary business or classroom use and pretty good for road warriors and home users; the only downsides are the fairly large footprint and seven pound weight, as well as a lack of digital input. We’re used to HDMI, and were a bit sad that the inputs here are composite, S-video, and VGA.
The VS350W balances brightness and price, leaving most competitors in the dust. Blacks were rich and dark, and we noticed no artifact or contrast issues, regardless of source. It’s not ultra-quiet- they list it at 35-40 dB, which seemed accurate when using a clean air filter. And the dust filtration system does require some maintenance, but it’s simple. Overall, this is a great projector, and easy to recommend to anyone upgrading an older model or in need of an extremely bright and reasonably priced unit. Available online and in stores for around $920.