As more PCs get wider and higher-resolution screens, business users who do presentations regularly are also looking for projectors capable of showing off their content better than what’s possible on more traditional WXGA (1,280 x 800) projectors.
The EB-U42 is one of Epson’s more recent business projectors with a native, “more than full HD” WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200 pixels) resolution. It uses the company’s 3LCD tech, which means it boasts the same maximum light output - 3,600 lumens - for both white and color light.
It’s also equipped with two HDMI video inputs (one of which is MHL enabled) and built-in wireless LAN connectivity. With the latter and Epson’s iProjector app, you can easily project images from your phone to the big screen wirelessly. Connecting the two devices couldn’t be simpler too: just use your mobile device to scan the QR code the projector beams on the screen, and you’re in. If you need to show content from multiple sources, the projector is also capable of more advanced tricks, such as a split screen mode that puts two images from two different sources side by side.
While both zoom and focus adjustments (the lens has a 1.2x optical zoom ratio) have to be done manually, you’re aided by the projector’s automatic vertical keystone adjustment and a smooth horizontal keystone slider for correcting distortions. Like most other projectors in this class, the EB-U42 can cycle through the sources to look for the signal automatically; and if it’s hooked up via a VGA or USB cable, it will display the image automatically when a signal is detected.
At 3,600 lumens, the Epson EB-U42 is a very bright projector and is thus well suited for larger boardrooms and in situations where the presenter wants to keep the room lights on. In my tests, colors looked extremely vibrant and Arial at 7 points looked sharp even in a 120-inch projection. However, at this brightness, the lamp is rated to last at most 6,000 hours. If you're okay with a reduced brightness of 2,200 lumens, you can switch to the Eco mode, which will prolong the lamp life up to 10,000 hours.
Thanks to the aforementioned high white and color light outputs and native WUXGA resolution, the EB-U42 also offers a meaningful difference in image quality when presented with HD videos and Blu-ray content. You simply get more details on-screen, which is not possible if you're using a WXGA projector. My only gripe is that the built-in 2W mono speaker is nothing to shout about; you could probably get better audio from your laptop's own speakers.
What really seals the deal for the EB-U42 is its price tag. At S$1,329, it offers the best balance of price and performance among projectors in the sub-S$1,500 range. Yes, there are other projectors that can go as bright and are priced cheaper, but you'd be hard pressed to find one that also offers full HD resolution and built-in wireless LAN support.