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Epson EX31 Projector Epson EX31
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2000:1 Contrast Ratio
2500 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

Epson EX31 Budget Projector for
Business or the Classroom Review

Marc Davidson, April 12, 2010

The Epson EX31 is an LCD-based SVGA (800x600) projector rated at 2500 lumens. At 5.1 lbs, it is portable and good for both business and classroom use (even though Epson doesn't market it as an education projector). Noteworthy features include the option to send data images over a USB cable, the ability to pack up the projector just a second or two after turning it off, and security features to discourage theft. These extras make the EX31 stand out from the rest of the budget-price crowd, at $549.99 direct. (There is no education discount available.)

Advantages

Wide brightness range. The EX31's measured brightness in its brightest mode is lower than its rating, but not as far off as with most projectors. At 2284 lumens -- 91% of the 2500 lumen rating -- it's easily bright enough for a large image that can stand up to the ambient light in most classrooms and offices.

The projector also offers about a half-dozen additional preset modes that deliver a wide range of brightness levels for lower lighting conditions. With the lamp in normal mode, the other presets range from a measured 1386 to 1780 lumens, with several steps in between. In addition, Eco mode dropped brightness by about 20% in our tests, with the brightest setting measured at 1793 lumens. Using Eco mode increases the life of the $199 lamp from 4,000 to 5,000 hours, making it a viable option considering the relatively small loss of brightness.

Still another way to vary the brightness is with the EX31's "zoom" feature, which is labeled as wide angle and telephoto. But this is not achieved with an optical zoom lens as on most other projectors; it is strictly digital. The full wide setting uses all the pixels available on the LCDs. Each step towards full telephoto uses fewer and fewer pixels, scaling the image down at each step. The extreme "telephoto" setting uses only about half the pixels of the full size screen and cuts the brightness down to match. We measured it at 1187 lumens with the projector's brightest setting. Though it is effective as a means of curtailing brightness, it causes a loss of resolution at the same time.

Excellent brightness uniformity. The brightness uniformity is 94%, a level of variance that simply isn't visible to the human eye even with a solid white screen. Rarely do we see projectors deliver such even illumination.

Good basic connectivity. The EX31 lacks a VGA monitor pass-through, but offers a typical set of connectors for a portable projector otherwise: a VGA port for connecting to a computer or a component video source, S-video and composite video ports, a stereo miniplug audio input, a stereo miniplug audio output, and a USB port.

The USB port serves one of three functions, depending on how it's set. By default, it lets you substitute a USB cable for the more common, but bulkier, VGA cable for data signals. Alternatively, you can set the port to let you control the computer's mouse cursor as well as give page up and page down commands through the projector's remote or set it to just let you give page up and page down commands. Unfortunately, you can't use it for both data signals and for controlling the mouse or page up and page down at the same time.

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Review Contents: Advantages Additional Advantages Limitations

Reader Comments(2 comments)

Posted Sep 17, 2011 4:32 PM PST

By Danny castillo

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What is wrong when I get a yellow light on the bottom of the screen everything is fine except the bottom do I needa replace the lamp or what?

Posted Oct 13, 2013 7:45 AM PST

By Brian Sutherland

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Are there mounts available to mount the Epson EX31 on a tripod?

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