Epson 450Wi WXGA 3LCD Projector
Projector Central Highly Recommended Award

Highly Recommended Award

Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$2,199 MSRP Discontinued

Introduction

The Epson BrightLink 450Wi offers two key features that distinguish it from most other projectors: It's interactive, and it has an ultra short throw. The interactivity lets you effectively turn any screen, blackboard, or blank wall space into an interactive whiteboard without the extra cost of an actual whiteboard. The ultra short throw lets it project large images at just a few inches from the screen, so you can interact with the image without having to worry about casting shadows.

In most other ways, the 450Wi delivers a fairly garden variety set of features, as an LCD-based WXGA (1280x800) projector rated at 2500 lumens. Meant for permanent installation, it is designed primarily as a data projector suitable for both business and educational use. In either context, if you compare it to buying an ultra short throw projector and an interactive whiteboard separately, you might consider it a bargain at $2,199 estimated street price, or $1,799 with an education discount.

Advantages

Excellent image quality for data sources. The 450Wi did an excellent job with data images on our tests, with no problems worth mention. It also makes up somewhat for the lack of a digital connection with nearly rock solid images, with little to no pixel jitter, even on images that tend to bring out pixel jitter in analog connections.

Ultra short throw. By definition, any ultra short throw projector should be able to project a big image with the projector right next to the screen. Even more important for an interactive projector, the distance between the screen and projector should be little enough so you can stand in front of the screen and interact with the image -- pointing, drawing, and entering mouse clicks by touching the screen with the interactive pen -- without worrying about casting a shadow.

The 450Wi easily delivers on both of these promises. Using the native 1280x800 resolution with its 16:10 aspect ratio, it can project a 59" diagonal (50" wide) image from just 2.7" -- that's inches, not feet. More precisely, that would be 2.7" from the front of the projector, although the image emerges from a window of sorts near the back, about 14" farther from the screen. For the maximum 96" diagonal (81.4" wide) image at 16:10, the projector needs only 14.5".

With short distances like these, you have to work hard to create shadows that actually cause a problem. You'll cast a small shadow when you interact with the image -- writing, drawing a highlight, or giving a command -- but it won't be much larger than your arm, which will effectively cover the shadow in any case. Even standing right in front of the screen, you won't cast more of a shadow than that, and you won't hide any more of the image than you would if you were standing in front of a standard whiteboard.

Nothing else to buy. Aside from the obvious savings of not having to buy an interactive whiteboard to use with the 450Wi, the package comes with everything else you need as well, except for a surface to project the image on. Included in the box are a complete wall mounting kit and two interactive pens -- in the U.S. and Canada, at least. (In some countries, the package includes only one pen.) Should you lose a pen, replacements are available from Epson for $70 street, or $54.75 with the education discount. Epson will ship the pen for overnight delivery for an additional charge.

Sturdy wall mount with excellent installation instructions: It's worth mention that Epson doesn't stint on the wall mount. You can adjust the projector's pitch, roll, and yaw separately using dials to aim the image properly, and then lock each adjustment into place by tightening the screw on that adjustment's dial. You can also adjust the projector's distance from the screen to vary the image size, with a range of 2.7" to 14.5" from the screen to allow the full range of images sizes already mentioned.

The installation instructions for the wall mount and projector are particularly impressive, with step by step instructions as well as image-size charts and worksheets to help determine the right positioning for the wall mount. The worksheets and charts let you calculate critical details, like the right height for the wall plate to ensure that the bottom of the image will be sufficiently high off the floor to be fully visible throughout the room. The instructions even include three sets of measurement charts depending on what aspect ratio you plan to project -- 16:10, 4:3, or 16:9.

Includes interactive software. The projector also comes with a driver for the interactive pens. Epson says the driver should work with any interactive whiteboard software, as well as let the pen function as a pointing device. In case you don't have other software, however, Epson also provides its own Easy Interactive Tools to let you draw on the screen, highlight areas, save your annotations, and toggle between pen and mouse modes.

Bright image with wide brightness range. We measured the 450Wi at 2615 lumens. That's about 5% brighter than its 2500 lumen rating, which is particularly noteworthy since most projectors deliver somewhat less brightness than they're rated for. The 2615 lumens is more than enough to project an image large enough for a classroom or conference room in typical lighting conditions.

Various additional preset modes also offer brightness suitable for lower light levels, with a low of 1465 lumens for the least bright mode in our tests. The projector also offers an Eco mode that we measured at 1676 lumens using the brightest preset mode, or about 36 percent lower than the same preset in Normal mode. Epson says that Eco mode boosts lamp life from 2500 to 3500 hours, which is a notably modest gain for the relatively large percentage drop in brightness.

Good brightness uniformity. The projector also scores well on brightness uniformity. We measured it at 75%. Just as important, the brightest and least bright areas are separated enough, and the brightness changes gradually enough, so the difference isn't noticeable even on a solid white screen.

Good connectivity. The 450Wi has neither an HDMI nor a DVI connector, which means it can't accept a digital connection, but it otherwise offers a suitably large range of connectors for either an educational or business environment. There are two VGA ports that can each connect to either a computer or a component video source. Also included are an S-Video port and a composite video jack. Each of these is paired with its own stereo audio input, with a miniplug input for each VGA port and one set of two RCA phono plugs shared by the S-Video and composite video ports. Plug in three sources, and when you switch between images, you'll automatically switch to the right audio input as well.

The connection panel also offers a pass-through monitor connector, a microphone input, a miniplug stereo audio output, two USB ports, an RS-232 port, and a LAN connection. One USB port is meant primarily for a document camera, which you can get from Epson or elsewhere. The other lets you connect to a computer so you can use the projector's interactive feature. In addition, the Ethernet port lets you manage the projector from a computer over a network. The RS-232 port lets you run diagnostics as well as turn the projector on or off though a third party controller. Note too that you can send data to the projector over a LAN or over the USB port, but Epson says the response time for the interactive feature will be a little sluggish in both cases. For our tests, we used the VGA connection, as Epson recommends.

Limitations

Relatively poor image quality for video. Video image quality, in sharp contrast to data image quality, is best described as usable but unimpressive. In our tests, we saw motion artifacts in the form of tearing on the edges of moving objects, slight posterization in skin tones (with colors changing suddenly where they should change gradually), and a hazy look overall that's usually associated with low contrast ratio. The quality is suitable for showing video in a classroom or conference room, but the 450Wi is in no danger of being mistaken for a home theater projector.

Potentially inadequate volume. The 450Wi's 10 watt mono speaker offers reasonably good sound quality, and is easily loud enough for a conference room or a small to mid-size classroom, but it's at least arguably not quite loud enough to reach the back rows in a large classroom. If you need audio, you may well need to take advantage of the audio out port to plug into an external sound system.

Warranty. There is a 2-year warranty for non-education buyers, but a third year comes standard with the education price. In all cases the lamp warranty is 90 days. You can extend the warranty with a service plan, but, of course, that adds to the price.

Conclusion

The 450Wi is an impressive representative of a rare breed of projector -- interactive, with an ultra short throw. It delivers a bright, high quality image for data, good connectivity, and it even comes with its own interactive software. Given the choice between the 450Wi and another ultra short throw projector paired with a separate interactive whiteboard, the 450Wi is unquestionably the more elegant choice, and it belongs high on your short list.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Epson BrightLink 450Wi projector page.

Comments (7) Post a Comment
Gil Anspacher Posted May 12, 2010 9:38 AM PST
Be careful with a short ceiling height. It is best to have 9' or more. Use the GREAT Epson calculator: http://www.epson.com/images/landing/calculator/index.html

and pay close attention of the height of the projected image. We have an 8' ceiling and with a 68" diagonal, the image will be 5'9" off the floor at top and 2'9" at bottom... and going down to 59" diagonal it is 6' and 3'2".

Another point: You can use Promethean ActivInspie with this projector,,, very cool!
Jacque LaFleur Posted May 18, 2010 11:29 PM PST
Wow this(ultra short throw) could be the future of giant screens in the home. Just a few mods such as film quality picture and an optimized setup for an 8' average height ceiling. Personally I want a screen height of 5-7ft all aspect ratios inclusive at a reasonable cost comparable to entry level 1080p projectors, but without all the annoyances of a front mounted projector or the cost of a costume rear projector room/cabinet. Throw in some 3D glasses for early adopters then 3D in the home would really take off!
Bill Posted Jun 2, 2010 5:53 AM PST
The Epson Brightlink 450wi and 450w/460, which are the same form factor without interactive capabilities, have a 2000:1 contrast ratio http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Product/Specifications.do?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&sku=V11H318020 so I've been happy with the video image quality. However, I would like to see an HDMI or display port connection on the next version. Another nice point is the replacement lamps are only $169 with a lamp life of 2,500-3,500 hours. I also do some content over network IP and message broadcast using the RJ45.
Jason Chung Posted Aug 24, 2010 8:40 AM PST
I had the opportunity to try out both the Epson BrightLink 450Wi and the Dell S300wi Interactive Projector...if you don't mind the short throw lens of Dell (it sits an extra 8 inches away from the screen compared to the 450Wi) it is by far a better value projector especially with its low price.

Software is education ready (Dell comes with eInstructions Interactive Workspace - Epson only gives you basic tools), comes with digital HDMI ports, and I had to see it for myself but the DLP of Dell provided much better colors and sharpness of the screen compared to the BrightLink.

Bottom line: the BrightLink is a good interactive projector, but for the money Dell's way better.
Jonathan Posted Oct 14, 2010 1:30 PM PST
See the review on the Dell S300wi Interactive Projector in this website. It has some limitations, and isn't really apples-to-apples with the Epson. OK for a classroom, but for business use, I'd go w/ the Epson.
David Fountain Posted Oct 29, 2011 8:11 AM PST
Pens are expensive,so we made our own.
David Posted Aug 23, 2017 8:34 AM PST
We run project that places projectors in classrooms in poor schools.

Epson's interactive projectors are fine, but their support stinks. It isn't possible to determine, on their website, which model of pen works with the 450wi, which one works with the 455wi, etc. No, they're not interchangeable. The result is that we've purchased Epson interactive pens that won't work with our projectors. Dell is no better. Dell's website won't tell you what part number of OEM Dell lamp fits their S500wi projector. My emailed request for the information has gone unanswered for a week now.

Neither of these giant companies seem to understand the cost of fostering customer ire. I'm sadly disappointed in both. We currently own more than a dozen Dell projectors and more than two-dozen Epsons.

Incidentally, our very best and most reliable source of information is always ProjectorCentral.com

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