Epson PowerLite Pro G5450WUNL
WUXGA LCD Presentation Projector
August 5, 2011
Image quality. The G5450 delivers a superb picture with excellent sharpness, depth, and clarity. On our test sample, uniformity measured a solid 85% with the lens at its widest angle and 88% using the opposite end of the zoom range. As far as contrast is concerned, black level is surprisingly good and shadow detail remarkably well-defined during normal use. Color is a strong point, with solid performance out of the box and the controls necessary to calibrate the projector to near-perfection. The picture is sharp and detail is clear with native resolution signals, while lower-resolution signals are up-converted cleanly and without too many artifacts.
While video is not the main application for this projector, we did not see any flaws peculiar to video that would preclude the G5450 from being used in that capacity. In fact, the G5450's sharp picture, good color saturation, and low level of noise make video look quite natural and less digital than it does on many other comparable projectors. Even judder and 3:2 pulldown were well-controlled. If you need a multipurpose projector that can handle data and video, the G5450 is an excellent choice.
Color. The G5450's color performance is impressive in two ways. First of all, its default settings in Photo and sRGB mode are quite good as factory calibrations go, and should suffice for many users who simply want a good-looking picture on the screen without a lot of fuss. Secondly, for those who want the best color performance they can get, the G5450 offers a full suite of color calibration controls for both grayscale and gamut, and an hour spent with a meter yielded a picture very close to established color standards. This feature is more commonly found on home theater projectors than presentation projectors, but its inclusion is a welcome addition.
Light output. In its brightest mode, Dynamic, our test sample of the G5450 produces 3405 lumens with the lamp at its high power setting and the lens at its widest angle. Dynamic mode has a greenish blue color cast, though not excessively so, and it emphasizes brightness over shadow detail. It is best reserved for text documents and other such high-contrast material. The best mode for general display of mixed images and text or slideshows is Presentation, which deepens black level while also improving color performance at the cost of some light output. Presentation mode measures 2782 lumens on our sample. Photo and sRGB modes are quite similar--both offer the best color accuracy available without calibration, and both measure approximately 2400 lumens. Photo has a different gamma setting than sRGB, and color controls are locked in sRGB mode, but otherwise the two modes are nearly identical. Finally, DICOM SIM offers a markedly different gamma profile than other image modes while producing 2377 lumens. This mode is useful in medical training environments. Low lamp reduces output in any mode by 21%, while the 1.8:1 zoom lens causes a reduction of 29%. Using both at once cuts light output in half compared to the maximum, so ambient light control may become important in these situations.
Connectivity. The G5450 has more connections than you can shake a stick at, even by fixed-installation projector standards. For video, the available connections include HDMI, DVI-D, 5-BNC component, VGA, a VGA monitor passthrough, s-video, RCA composite, and BNC composite video. Additionally, a USB thumb drive can be used to display picture slide shows without the use of a computer. For audio, there are three 1/8" audio inputs and a stereo L/R RCA audio input. For data, the G5450 features a USB port, an RJ45 networking port for both presentation and control, and an optional WiFi networking adapter for the same. An RS-232C port and a 1/8" wired remote port round out the connection panel. As this can lead to a cluttered set of connections, Epson includes a cable cover with the projector to help hide some of the mess.
Three year warranty. The G5450WUXNL comes standard with a three-year warranty plus 90 days of lamp coverage. The warranty also includes Epson's Road Service guarantee, wherein any problem with the projector during the warranty period will result in a replacement unit being overnighted to you free of charge, plus a return shipping label for your broken projector. While this warranty is obviously of great benefit to those who use their projectors on the road, it is equally helpful for any business in need of a speedy replacement for their malfunctioning projector.
DICOM simulation mode. DICOM, or Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine, is a set of standards for the storage, transmission, and display of medical images. While the G5450 cannot be used as an actual DICOM monitor, it can simulate one using the "DICOM SIM" mode for use in medical training and educational settings. DICOM SIM mode changes the projector's gamma to more closely resemble that used by medical displays, which increases clarity, especially in black and white images. This opens up another possible application for the G5450 in medical classrooms.
Split screen. The G5450 has a whole suite of tools for group presentations, but one of the most important is the split screen mode. The split screen function is onboard the projector itself and requires no networking or special configuration. You simply attach two sources and tell the projector which ones you'd like to use, and moments later you have two pictures up at once. Only one digital input can be used at a time, so you can't do DVI-D and HDMI for example, but you can do HDMI and component, or DVI-D and VGA, or any other combination. The images can be of equal size or weighted so that the left or right is larger, which can be useful when trying to direct the focus of your audience. Four-way split screen is also available, and can be used with any four PC sources plus up to sixteen networked computers. This capability requires the controlling computer as well as any networked computers to be running Epson's presentation software.
Remote management. While the users might not care about these features, their tech support department certainly will. The G5450 can be controlled over a wired or wireless network using Crestron's RoomView system, which makes it easy for an IT department to keep tabs on all of their deployed projectors from one location. This is helpful when someone forgets to turn off a projector or is having trouble setting it up correctly, since the tech support staff can fix these problems without ever having to touch the projector. In addition, the G5450 even has the ability to send email to up to three addresses upon certain events, such as an air filter or lamp nearing replacement time, a projector overheating, or a general system error. Have that email sent to your smartphone, and all of a sudden the tech support team can manage your projector fleet while working on other projects.
Fan noise. The G5450's fan is certainly audible during operation, with the low-pitched sound of the exhaust always present while the projector is running. However, fan noise is reduced significantly when the lamp is set to Low, and in this setting the G5450 is much quieter. While the projector is never silent, nor could it ever be mistaken for such, it puts out relatively little noise compared to how bright it is and compares favorably to its competition in this regard.