Epson BrightLink 455Wi Interactive
Ultra-Short Throw Projector
July 26, 2011
Virtually identical in most ways to Epson's earlier generation ultra short-throw projectors,the Epson BrightLink 455Wi adds one key new feature-you can mount it facing down, towards a table top for example, as well as use the more traditional horizontal position to face a screen.
Paired with interactivity, the new freedom of orientation lets you turn almost any table top into an interactive table as well as turn any hard vertical surface into a substitute for an interactive whiteboard. You can even point the projector at the floor to get an interactive floor space. And thanks to the ultra short throw, you can project large images from just a few inches, which means you can interact without worrying about shadows.
Built around an LCD-based 1280x800 engine, the 455Wi is rated at 2500 lumens. Like most interactive, ultra short throw projectors, it's meant primarily for permanent installation for business use or the classroom. At $2,199 estimated street price, or $1,699 with an educational discount, it costs more than some DLP-based competitors, but the price is more than reasonable, and if you prefer LCD over DLP technology, it's well worth the extra cost.
Ultra short throw. The key advantage for any ultra short throw projector is that it lets you project a big image with the projector close to the screen. This is useful in any case, but for an interactive projector, it means you don't have to worry about shadows. Any that you cast will be small and largely blocked from view by your arm or whatever else is casting it.
We measured a 76" diagonal image at 1280x800, with the front of the projector 7 inches from the screen. This is consistent with Epson's stated range of a 59" minimum image size at 2.7" and a 96" maximum size at 14.5". As with other ultra short throw projectors, the 455Wi gains some distance by projecting from close to the rear of the projector, about 14" further from the screen.
It's interactive. Interactivity is a primary advantage of any interactive projector, almost by definition. As you would expect, the 455Wi comes with a driver that lets you use the interactive pen to control your mouse as well as work with virtually any annotation program.
Comes with almost everything you need. Interactive projectors typically come with almost everything you need, including an annotation program and an interactive pen. The 455Wi goes further, supplying a wall mount kit and a second pen. (At least that's true in the U.S. and Canada. Epson says that in some countries, the package includes only one pen.) If you use the wall mount, there's nothing else to buy. If you want to mount the projector vertically, however, you'll need to buy a table top mount separately.