4000 Lumens for under $1,000
Connections: The connector array on the rear of the VS400 is straightforward: one each VGA, composite video, S-video, and USB connection. Component video can be handled with a cable adapter via the VGA connector, and the USB can be connected to a PC once Epson's USB software is installed (it is automatic on initial connection). There is also an RS-232 connector for network management, but no audio input or output connections.
Note for Mac users: you will not be able to connect component video and your Mac simultaneously because while the USB input is PC compatible, it is not compatible with a Mac, and both sources need to connect via the single VGA input.
Fan noise: When a projector puts out 4,000 lumens, it generates a fair amount of heat that has to be evacuated. As a result, fan noise of the VS400 is relatively high at 37dB in normal mode although it drops to 29dB in Eco mode. Fortunately, the pitch of the fan noise is moderately low, so it is not as intrusive as it might be. That said, you might want to place the projector behind your audience if possible and use the zoom feature to minimize impact of the heat exhaust and fan noise. Alternatively, Eco mode is bright enough for many applications, and it reduces both heat and fan noise enough to make it a desirable alternative when you don't need maximum light output.
No Audio: It is unusual for a small-to-medium sized business projector to lack audio capability, but Epson presumes that laptops or other sources connected to the VS400 will have built-in speakers or that the presentation room will have an audio amplification system.
No Digital Input: The VS400 has no digital input, so 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.
Maintenance: Unlike most DLP projectors, LCD projectors have air filters that need occasional cleaning and eventual replacement. The good news is that it is a quick and easy task on the VS400 because the air filter is mounted under a hinged cover on the left side of the projector. The lamp is also conveniently accessed through the top of the projector, so even a ceiling mount does not require de-mounting the projector.
Sometimes, a niche projector is the best choice if its features match your criteria. A 4,000-lumen XGA projector can provide a very bright image in a lights-on presentation room, or it can fill a 300" diagonal screen in a darkened auditorium if you need that size image. Delivering that kind of firepower for under $1,000 is what the VS400 is all about. It doesn't have some of the common features found on other XGA models in its weight and brightness class, but if you don't need onboard audio, or a digital input, why pay for them? The VS400 will be the perfect solution for many of those who want a brilliant image at a very low price.