Epson VS200 Portable Projector
for under $450
Placement Flexibility: The VS200 has no optical zoom adjustment, so placing it for a particular image size can get tricky if the room is small or crowded with tables and chairs. There is a digital zoom available, but be aware that if you use it to change image size, brightness and image resolution will be reduced. At full telephoto, image resolution is about 590x400 and brightness is reduced by about 45%. In a light-controlled room, this may not be an issue, but in a bright room, some image washout may occur.
Fan noise: Fan noise from the VS200 is about 34dB in normal mode which is a little distracting within five feet of the VS200. Fortunately, the pitch of the fan noise is moderately low, so it is not as intrusive as it might be. In addition, Eco mode is bright enough for many situations, and it reduces fan noise to 29dB which is quiet enough for those sitting close to the projector.
Audio: The VS200's single one-watt speaker will not be adequate for a large room, but it might do the trick in a small business presentation as long as background noise is low. Our test sample speaker was a bit buzzy at settings above half volume, but clarity was good up to that point.
Connections: With no digital input and only one VGA connector that serves for both computer and component video connection, you will have to use the composite video RCA connector to display video images unless you are prepared to swap cables when you change sources. Of course, you could use the USB input to the VS200, but since the USB type A-to-type B cable is not supplied with the projector, you will have to have one handy to use this alternative. Also, like most sub-$450 projectors, the VS200 has no digital input. You will have to be content with composite or component video . . . you will not be able to accommodate HDMI signals from DVD players, for example.
As long as you do not need to connect many sources simultaneously and ambient light can be controlled, Epson's VS200 is a good choice for those who need a solid, bright picture for under $450. For presenters on the go, the quick start/stop capability can really save time. If you are sensitive to DLP rainbow artifacts, the VS200's LCDs eliminate that problem, and the remote control's presentation features are very handy when wandering away from your computer during your presentation. The VS200 does not cover every base for the small-business presenter, but it performs well in those areas it is designed for.