So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
- Good quality images, low noise, LAN features
- Some haloing issues, minor colour problems
A solid business projector, the EMP-822's size means it isn't suitable for those regularly on the road, but it provides good quality images and backs them up with LAN support.
Price$ 2,199.00 (AUD)
Epson's EMP-822 projector is a strong all around display device. While its primary purpose is for business projection, it performed relatively well in our home entertainment tests as well, meaning it is a good choice for professional users who also want to watch the occasional film or television program. It also has built in networking support, which is a handy addition for larger offices.
Measuring 245mm x 327mm x 108mm and weighing 2.9kg, the EMP-822 isn't designed as a portable display solution. It's far heftier than many business projectors, making it more suitable as permanent installation device for use in a board or conference room. That said, it isn't as gigantic as many home entertainment units, so moving it around once in a while isn't out of the question.
It projects in a standard 4:3 resolution, producing an image that measures 1024 x 768 pixels. This is fairly typical for a business projector and will suit a wide variety of input devices such as DVD players and both notebook and desktop PCs.
We found the image quality to be quite good, with a few small errors, but no major issues. We hooked the EML-822 up to a notebook and ran our DisplayMate suite of tests, which runs the unit through a whole variety of different types of pictures to help reveal any flaws on a basic level.
The most impressive aspect of the EMP-822 is the low noise levels. Typically, most display devices will show some signs of noise in our grayscale amplitude charts and full screen colour block tests, but nothing was visible on the EMP-822. There was the tiniest hint of flickering in our intensity ramp tests, but it was only noticeable when sitting very close to the screen and won't be a problem during normal use.
Contrast ratios are also very impressive, with rich blacks and great separation between shades on our intensity ramp charts. The only exception to this is the blue ramp, which shows a little blending between shades; but even this wasn't all that serious. Icons and text are clean and sharp and the PC desktop looks great. However, we did notice some colour bleeding in our block colour tests.
It was during our colour tests we noticed one of the only issues this projector has; it has very strongly saturated colours. They weren't ridiculously overpowering, but they were brighter and more vivid than normal. This may be partially to do with the rather high 2600 ANSI lumen brightness rating that Epson quote for this model. Of course, as is the case with most modern projectors, we had a play around with the calibration options, and by switching from one colour mode to another, we were able to correct the issue. Depending on how you like your display, the EMP-822 should have a colour setting to suit you.
The other issue we found was a haloing problem in areas of high contrast. This was most notable on the DisplayMate white line box charts, which are simple pictures of grids drawn in white lines on a black background. Here, we could clearly see blue shadowing along the bottom of many of the white lines, which became a little distracting at times. It wasn't a problem during most regular desktop activities, but will be noticeable on most charts and graphs if they are made up of lots of lines.
We also ran the EMP-822 through a DVD test, to check how it handled motion video. We played our copy of Swordfish and were pleasantly surprised. The strong contrast performance continued here, with good blacks, and the high brightness level helped produce a clear, sharp picture. There was only a little noise visible in some background areas and no motion blur to speak of. The one problem was with colour reproduction. The EMP-822 struggled to accurately recreate colours, with flesh tones often coming out green and most shades looking a little warmer than normal. Again, we managed to correct this to some degree by altering the colour mode, but the problem never completely disappeared.
As this is a business projector, the connectivity options are geared mostly towards computers. There are two VGA ports with audio support for your desktops and notebooks, and a set of RCA connections for other sorts of devices. Also present is an S-Video connection, and a monitor output to pump the signal from your input device to another display. We were a little disappointed, but not surprised, that DVI wasn't included. Many notebooks still stick with VGA as their preferred output option, but it would be nice to see DVI support for future proofing.
One other notable connection option is the LAN port, which allows the EMP-822 to be accessed remotely. You can assign it an IP address and a name, and then using the provided software, access it externally and broadcast from another machine all together, which is a great feature. You are also able to configure email alerts that will send an email to a designated address when a fault or issue is detected within the projector.
Security features are also present on this model, most notably a password system, to stop unauthorised users accessing the device. This is backed up by support for a security lock. This needs to be bought separately, but can easily be used to secure the projector in one place to help thwart thieves.
The EMP-822 is a relatively big projector. It is constructed mostly of white and grey plastic and looks good, if not particularly outstanding. It should fit in nicely with regular office decor. Most of the controls are spread out along the top, and are relatively intuitive. There is also an included remote, however we found it a little confusing and preferred the onboard controls for any serious navigation.
The menu offers a variety of options, including sharpness, brightness and colour adjustment, as well as keystone correction and image position. We had no major issues with heat output or noise; there was a noticeable burst of warm air being ejected from the side ventilation panel, but this is the be expected, and considering the size of this model we were more than satisfied with its heat output.
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