Performance and Limitations
Brightness and Uniformity. In its brightest mode (Dynamic preset), our test unit did not quite meet its 3,000-lumen specification, but it came close at 2,710 lumens. Other presets delivered as follows: Presentation - 1,945, Theater - 1,710, and sRGB and Photo at 1,615 each. Brightness uniformity was excellent at 90%.
Lamp life.The X15's E-TORL lamp has an unusually long 4,000-hour life in normal mode at full brightness. Switching to Eco mode produces a small drop in brightness (~22%), but it extends lamp life to 5,000 hours.
Audio Quality. A 2-watt speaker is not going to fill a room with sound, but it is adequate if there is not much ambient noise to contend with. If external amplification is needed, an audio output is available on the X15. The built-in speaker was rattle- and buzz-free over its entire range.
Placement Flexibility.The X15's modest zoom ratio of 1.2:1 leaves little room for adjusting the location of the projector for a desired image size. For example, a 100" image requires that the X15 be between ten and twelve feet from the screen. If that range is not convenient, you will have to settle for a different image size.
The bottom of a 100" image is about 5" below the centerline of the lens, so cart mounting is preferable to tabletop since no elevation of the projector is needed to prevent keystoning.
Fan noise In normal mode, the X15 is a little noisy although most of that noise is heard at the front right and left. Seating your audience behind the projector helps solve this problem, but switching to Eco mode does it even better with noise dropping substantially. Since brightness drops only 22% in Eco mode, this might be a good choice as a default unless ambient light demands full brightness.
No Monitor Loop Through.In classrooms, a monitor loop through can be handy when presenting with your back to the image, but the X15 does not offer this capability.
Not 3-D Ready.There is more 3-D material being prepared for the classroom every day, but the X15, like most LCD projectors, is not 3-D ready.
The Epson PowerLite X15 is a worthy successor to the PowerLite 92 with higher brightness and a lamp with a 4,000-hour life at full brightness. It can connect two computers simultaneously, and it offers many user conveniences like multiple one-button functions on the remote control and a keystone correction package unmatched by projectors in its class. Its data and video performance is excellent, and educators can purchase both the X15 and its accessories at a nice discount. If you are an educator looking for a bright XGA projector that has value and versatility, the X15 should be near the top of your list. It deserves our highest rating for value.