Epson EMP-745 review

Price when reviewed

Take a look at the connections on the back of the Epson EMP-745 and you’d be forgiven for thinking that they’re rather sparse. There are, however, two aces up its sleeve: a PC Card slot and a USB port for accepting flash drives.

Epson EMP-745 review

These offer very tangible benefits – the first being wireless presentation using the bundled 802.11b/g PC Card. With the supplied software installed on a Wi-Fi notebook and the PC Card fitted in the slot at the front of the projector, presentations can be delivered without cables. It’s easy to manage and should take no more than ten minutes to install and set up. Thereafter it’s a simple matter of making the connection via Epson’s EasyMP software. Just be aware that it’s best to stick to simple presentations – don’t expect to play a DVD across the wireless link.

The second benefit is that you can take the notebook out of the equation altogether.

Convert your PowerPoint presentation using Epson’s supplied software, save it to a USB flash drive or portable hard disk, and plug it into the USB port at the back. This can also tackle MPEG2 movies, and still images in a variety of formats. Alternatively, you could use the PC Card slot and an adaptor to read from a CompactFlash memory card or Microdrive.

Standard connections are handled by the usual array of D-SUB, S-Video in, composite video in and a 3.5mm audio input for the 1W mono speaker. A Type B USB port also gives mouse control support.

With a maximum brightness of 2,500 ANSI lumens available, the EMP-745 will handle large and well-lit rooms. The drawback is fan noise, which is too loud for a small meeting room. Drop the brightness down and the fan settles to a moderate level, although in quiet surroundings there’s a noticeable whine to the tone.

On the screen you can expect to see a stable picture, and there was no sign of noise patterns on our DisplayMate tests. Focusing is sharp out to the corners of the image, dropping only in the extreme upper-right corner. Colours are bright, although whites at near 100 per cent show a little creamy yellow. With LCD technology there’s no rainbow effect associated with DLP systems when showing video, but to get a softer colour balance you’ll need to change the colour mode from the default ‘dynamic’ setting.

For protection when travelling, the lens barrel sits safely behind the front fascia. At 276 x 199 x 82mm (WDH), the unit isn’t eminently portable, but the 1.81kg weight is reasonable. Combine that with the smart carry bag and minimum accessories and you’ll be carrying 2.7kg. It may seem a lot, but bear in mind that as long as you don’t need to edit your presentations on-the-fly, you won’t need to lug around your notebook as well.

Epson’s EMP-745 isn’t our first choice for intimate presentations – its high brightness and fan noise make it overbearing in a small room, even in eco mode. But for a larger audience, this is a capable and reasonably priced unit, and the flexibility of the wireless connection is a real asset.

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