The main features of the Epson EX71, in my opinion, have to be the HD connectivity and the plug-and-play design. Firstly, the HDMI connection allows you to watch movies via your Blu-ray player in full 1080p HD quality. You can also watch 1080i or 720p HD programming via cable, satellite or over-the-air HD channels. The EX71’s supported 1280 x 800 resolution (16:10 aspect ratio) allows for both wide screen and standard 4:3 aspect ratio channels/applications to be displayed correctly without any distortion.
The EX71’s plug-and-play design allows you to quickly and easily connect the projector to any number of sources (i.e., computer, cable box, HD box, etc) and be up and running within a matter of minutes from start to finish. With two types of USB inputs, the EX71 lets you connect to a computer’s USB port for displaying the imagery simultaneously on both the computer screen and on a larger scale via the projector. This feature is great for those who need to conduct PowerPoint presentations on the go; the EX71 will set up quickly and is extremely easy to use. The second USB connector can be used for viewing digital content stored on a USB drive, such as photos, music or videos.
The short-throw lens allows you to maximize picture size in small areas. Epson states that the EX71 can display a 33-320 inch image from between three and 35.7 feet away. If you plan to use the EX71 primarily in a home theater application, you’ll want to make sure to do some measuring before you buy the unit.
The EX71 features Auto Iris technology in which the projector automatically adjusts the overall luminance based on the brightness of the imagery being displayed. This feature is available in both “Game” and “Theater” modes. The 2000:1 contrast ratio offered by the EX71 is a respectable number for business projectors, although it’s not very impressive for movie applications. Changing the size and focus of the image is accomplished through two adjusters on top of the projector near the lens.
Automatic keystone correction ensures that the viewing angle is always set to the ideal setting no matter what angle you have the projector pointed toward the screen. The projector can be table mounted using the built-in height adjuster for raising the angle of the projector, or it can be wall/ceiling/rear mounted for a more permanent installation. It takes just a push of a button in the on-screen menu to change from a rear projection image (projector mounted behind the screen) or a ceiling mounted application (flips the image upside down when the projector is mounted upside down).
The on-screen menu system is very easy to navigate. I was completely familiar with all of the menus and sub-menus within about five minutes of browsing through each. I think most people will find it easy enough to get up and running without even having to consult the manual, although you should keep it handy for some of the more advanced settings adjustments. Navigating through the menus can be done via the five-button navigational control located on top of the projector itself, or you can use the included remote to get the job done.
Here are a few other notes worth pointing out:
· There is a built-in speaker, although as expected with most—if not all—projectors, sound volume/quality isn’t the greatest. I recommend hooking the EX71 up to external speakers for the best performance.
· Epson equipped this projector with their E-TORL lamp technology, which is a cost-effective lamp when it comes to replacing it. It can last up to 5,000 hours in Eco mode.
· Instant on/off allows the EX71 to get started fast. It takes approximately six seconds to display the start-up screen after pushing the “Power” button. Additionally, there is no cooling down period after use, so you can pack up the projector and go.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with the Epson EX71. It is a lightweight, attractive multimedia projector with great image quality and some advanced features not found in competing models. As a projector used primarily for school/business applications, I highly recommend the EX71.
However, I wouldn’t make this projector my first choice when shopping for a home theater projector. While movies and cable programming looked great with this unit, I would still rather opt for a good old plasma TV in this price range. The two technologies just don’t compare in regards to contrast ratio, colors and detail. Nevertheless, Epson has a winner on their hands with the EX71 Multimedia Projector. Visit the Epson website to find out more.
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