The Epson Pro EX9240 3LCD Full HD 1080p Wireless Projector with Miracast ($849.99) is the lighter cousin of the flagship Epson Pro EX10000 ($1,299.99) in Epson’s line of business-oriented portable projectors. But though it’s a half-step behind in some features, it’s a half-step ahead in others, and the $450 price difference makes it well worth a look. Its 4,000-lumen brightness rating is only slightly lower than the EX10000’s 4,500 lumens, and it has sharper focus, thanks to offering a true native 1080p (1,920-by-1,080) resolution instead of a pixel-shifted equivalent. It’s far from perfect and doesn’t have the advantages of the EX10000’s laser light source, but as long as you don’t mind having to occasionally replace the lamp, it’s the better option of the two in many ways.
Native 1080p and 3LCD
The EX9240 uses three LCDs, which guarantees it won’t show the rainbow artifacts that single-chip models do, and also ensures that color images will be as bright as you would expect from the white brightness rating. A key difference from the EX10000 is that the EX9240’s imaging chips are native 1080p, so it doesn’t produce the scaling artifacts with 1080p input that I saw with the EX10000 in images with repeating patterns of fine lines.
The EX9240 has a slightly better claim to portability than the EX10000. Both are a size and weight that most often winds up permanently installed, but either is light enough to carry easily from room to room, and Epson ships a soft carrying case with both. The EX9240 is sufficiently small and light, at 6.8 pounds and 4.1 by 12.2 by 11.2 inches (HWD), to bring on a business trip, or to carry comfortably down the hall or up a flight or two of stairs if you’re moving it around within a school or office building.
The 4,000-lumen rating is close enough to the EX10000’s rating that the difference would be hard to see without a side-by-side comparison. More important is the different type of light source. Lasers are generally meant to last for the full projector life. Lamps aren’t. The EX9240’s lamp is rated at 5,500 hours in full power mode or 12,000 hours in Eco mode. Replacements are $59 on Epson’s website.
All the Common Connections
As its full name indicates, the EX9240 is a “wireless projector with Miracast,” which translates to supporting screen mirroring from phones and tablets by using Wi-Fi to connect to a shared network or directly to the device. Other connection choices include two HDMI ports, a VGA port that also supports component video, and a USB Type-A connector for reading files from a USB key. The EX10000 has even more options, but these will suffice for most purposes.
Setup is standard. Point the EX9240 at a screen, connect a source, and adjust the manual focus and 1.6x zoom. Power settings are limited to Normal (full power) and Eco.
You can easily set up a two-way split showing two different sources, which can be a useful extra. The settings menu lets you select the sources, pick which source shows on each side of the screen, and decide which source’s audio to use. Unlike the EX10000, the EX9240 doesn’t support four-way splitting.
Sharp Focus for Text, Vibrant Color for Graphics
The five color modes all deliver crisp images for highly readable text or other detail along with vibrant, eye-catching color. Most people will consider any of them more than acceptable for text and graphics. If you include photorealistic images in your presentations, however, they differ in color accuracy by enough to matter.
The brightest mode, Dynamic, has a slight green tint. It’s minor enough that most people will find it acceptable when the combination of screen size and ambient light level demands the highest brightness the projector offers. But for some photorealistic images in our test suite, a few colors wandered outside the realm of reality. For slightly less demanding conditions, Presentation has somewhat better color accuracy at slightly lower brightness, but colors were still skewed in some images.
Blackboard, Cinema, and sRGB modes all offered better color accuracy. If you’re including photos or video clips in a presentation, these modes are the best choices, as long as they’re bright enough for the screen size and ambient light level.
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None of the modes did well on contrast in my tests, even with the lights on. (Ambient light tends to hide differences between good and middling contrast.) Black backgrounds in slides and black areas in darker photos and film clips were significantly brighter than the white screen alone. For photorealistic images, the poor contrast gave darker images a murky or foggy look. The EX9240 handles images well enough for presentations that include a few photos or film clips, and it can even serve nicely for uniformly bright video (such as in a newscast), which is better than many business projectors can manage. However, it’s not suitable for watching movies, which typically include dark scenes, or for lengthy videos.
As a point of reference, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommendations peg 4,000 lumens as bright enough for a 290-inch diagonal, 1.0 gain, 16:9 screen in a dark room. In moderate ambient light, the suitable size drops to about 165 inches. On the 90-inch screen I use in my tests, even the lower-brightness Cinema mode was uncomfortably bright for viewing in a dark room, but it was usable with room lights on, and suitably bright even with one light aimed at the screen to simulate an unshaded window in a conference room.
If you need the Epson Pro EX9240’s high brightness level primarily for business presentations and education use, but also need it to handle photorealistic images well enough to watch a full-length movie, consider the Epson Pro EX10000, which is a touch brighter, or the InFocus Genesis IN118BB, which isn’t as bright but does the best job of the three with photos, video, and movies. If you’re looking at the EX9240 because Epson calls it portable, there are plenty of options, including the AAXA P6X Pico Projector, that are much lighter and small enough for a briefcase or backpack. But they’re nowhere near as bright.
The Epson Pro EX9240 does work for a fairly specific set of circumstances: projecting presentations (but not movies) that need crisp focus and true 1080p resolution for fine details, in a brightly lit midsize to large room. The price is reasonable for the features you get, and the projector can handle photorealistic images well enough to use photos and short video clips in a presentation. For business and educational purposes, that may be all you need.