The Epson Pro EX10000 3LCD Full HD 1080p Wireless Laser Projector with Miracast ($1,299.99) is Epson’s flagship business-oriented portable projector. At a rated 4,500 lumens, it can throw a sufficiently big and bright image for viewing in a large room. Epson bills it as designed for social distancing, but once we go back to crowding lots of people into conference rooms and classrooms, the projector will still work just as well. Unfortunately, it will also have all the same flaws, including artifacts in some 1080p images, poor contrast, and a heavy weight for a supposed portable. For $450 less, the smaller lamp-based Epson Pro EX9240 is a better buy, with many of the same features and even a few advantages.
Portability Is in the Arm Strength of the Holder
At 4.1 by 12.8 by 11.8 inches (HWD) and 9.1 pounds, the EX10000 is a size and weight most often used in permanent setups. It’s nowhere near as portable as true lightweights such as the AAXA P6X Pico Projector ($350), but its 4,500-lumen rating means it’s substantially brighter. It’s also brighter than most larger semi-portable projectors, including the InFocus Genesis IN118BB ($699) and the Epson Pro EX9240. You might not love lugging it through an airport, but it comes with a soft carrying case if you need to, and it can be easily moved from room to room within a school or office building.
The EX10000 is built around a laser-phosphor light source and three LCD chips. The light source is meant to last the life of the projector. Be sure to factor that into any price comparison you make with lamp-based projectors with lower initial prices but additional costs and hassle for replacing lamps. Epson rates the light source at 20,000 hours in both Normal (full power) and Quiet (eco) modes.
The three LCD chips guarantee an image free of rainbow artifacts. However, despite the Full HD resolution rating for the projector, they are not 1080p (1,920-by-1,080) chips. Instead, Epson uses 1,366-by-768 chips combined with pixel shifting. This approach is standard for keeping costs down in 4K projectors, but it’s rare for 1080p projectors.
Pixel shifting splits frames into smaller subsets of pixels, then shifts the pixel position for each subset to put more pixels on screen for each frame than are in the chip itself. Compared with images using chips that don’t need pixel shifting for the same resolution, this tends to produce slightly less detail and sharpness, because the individual pixels are actually a bit larger. The difference doesn’t matter much for 4K, because few people can see it at a typical seating distance from the screen. In this case, however, I noticed a slightly soft focus. (I’ll touch on this again when discussing image quality.)
Straightforward Setup and Lots of Connection Options
Setting up the EX10000 consists of little more than finding the right spot for the projector, plugging in a power cord, and adjusting the manual focus and 1.6x zoom. As with most laser projectors, you can fine-tune the brightness to get just as much as you need for your screen size and ambient light level. The Custom setting lets you set the brightness level from 70% to 100% in 1% increments. You can also set the projector to maintain a consistent brightness over its lifetime, automatically increasing the power as the light source ages and dims.
Among the projector’s strong points are the variety of connection options. In addition to two HDMI ports and a VGA port that doubles for component video, there’s a USB Type-B port for plug-and-play display, an Ethernet port, and a USB Type-A port for reading files from a USB key. Wi-Fi lets you connect to a local network and use Miracast screen mirroring from a phone or tablet. There’s even a composite video port with RCA phono plug connectors.
It’s easy to set up a two-way or four-way split to see images from up to four sources at once. A simple setup screen lets you select which source to show in each area of the screen and which source’s audio to use.
Great-Looking Business Graphics (Mostly)
Most people will consider any of the EX10000’s five color modes acceptable for presentations, even for those that include photos or video, but some are better than others. My preferred mode is Cinema. In my tests, it had the most accurate color; the best contrast and shadow detail, which are key requirements for photorealistic images; and the best overall balance of color accuracy and image brightness. This combination translates to excellent image quality for most presentations.
The exception is for presentations that include images with fine, repeating details, such as narrow stripes. The EX10000 added scaling artifacts to some images with repeating detail in my tests. These artifacts are caused by the need to add or drop pixels to make an image fit in the number of pixels available in the display when there isn’t an exact match between the two. You may never see these glitches, but they can be a potential issue if you use patterned fills or similar images. I also confirmed with Epson that the need to scale images is at least partly responsible for the slight soft-focus effect I mentioned earlier, which can make smaller text and other fine details look a little blurry.
The EX10000’s image quality for film and video isn’t a match for even a low-end home theater projector; this is not a projector you’re going to take home on the weekends for movie-watching. Its poor contrast is particularly noticeable in dimly lit scenes. However, it still produces highly watchable video as long as the image isn’t too dark, which makes it far more capable on this score than many business and education projectors.
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Brightness is a key strength. According to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommendations, 4,500 lumens is bright enough for a 300-inch, 1.0 gain, 16:9 screen in a dark room. In moderate ambient light, it’s enough for a 175-inch image. In my tests using a 90-inch screen, even the lower-brightness Cinema mode was too bright at full power for comfortable viewing in a dark room. With lights on, including one pointed directly at the screen to simulate an unshaded window in a conference room, the image was still bright enough to hold up nicely.
High Brightness, Vibrant Color, and Light Weight
The Epson Pro EX10000 is one of the brightest available projectors that can still claim to be portable. As already mentioned, there are plenty of much lighter models, including the AAXA P6X Pico Projector, which can fit in a briefcase or backpack, but they don’t offer anything like the EX10000’s 4,500 lumens. Even the InFocus IN118BB, which is a bit more than half the weight of EX10000, delivers noticeably lower brightness.
The EX10000’s high brightness, vibrant color, and good color accuracy make it well suited to business and educational presentations in midsize to large rooms with ambient light. If you frequently need to show photos, video clips, or full-length movies as well as typical presentation text and graphics, its better-than-typical handling of photorealistic images for a business projector make it a reasonable choice. But if your presentations are more likely to be filled with small text, fine detail, or repeating patterns—or if the $1,300 price tag is hard to swallow—a better option is the Epson Pro EX9240, which uses native 1080p imaging chips for crisp images, has a more genuinely portable weight, and leaves $450 in your bank account.