I am a teacher and am using two versions of this projector currently in my classrooms, the EX7210 and the EX3210. This review includes both general information about the two projectors and describes the differences between them.
General review of the Epson Multimedia Projector: Applicable to both models
The projector itself is smaller than I expected. It is also reasonably light and comes with a carry case for easy transport. As teacher who moves from room to room the portability is handy. The carry case has a strap long enough to throw it over your shoulder, a real plus when you are juggling stuff between classrooms. The case has a front pocket for the power cord and remote as well. The manual and CD (for extra info) are originally packed inside this front pocket of the case.
The projector is absolutely idiot proof when it comes to inputs. You can push the button that says Source Search and it will find where you are trying to input and start displaying the information.
Light output is strong enough that Powerpoint presentations can be seen with the projector 20 feet away from the screen (this is as far back as I can get it in the room in partially lit room. Partially lit in this case is defined as the overhead lights are off but the three windows do not have blinds. The room is bright enough that the students can easily see their papers and take notes (and I can see the students!). These projectors put out 2800 lumens (a lumen is a unit of visible light emitted by a source). The school has 1500 lumen projectors, which I rarely used because the lights had to be all the way off for the student to see the projections, and that leads to trouble.
It has built in speakers and they are loud enough for use in a room with 50 students but just barely. In the smaller room with 25 kids it is great. If you use it with a laptop I would suggest adding some speakers for sound.
Noise and Heat:
They hum. The fan whirs. Not very loud but it is audible. They get hot, and fast. This is one problem because you need to let them sit for a few minutes after using so the fan can cool the bulb down before you unplug it. That means I have to remember to turn them off a few minutes before class ends. If you are leaving it in one place this is not a problem. If you have to run, it might be.
Want to watch movies? You want the EX7210 with the HDMI input.
I see two main difference between the EX7210 and the EX3210 (besides the color) . The first is the inputs. The EX7210 has HDMI inputs and a higher resolution (1280 X 800 for the EX7210 and 800 X 600 for the E3210). The difference is clearly visible. If you are using the projector for video (or showing movies) the EX7210 definitely provides a clearer picture. Projected on a screen from 10 feet away movies are clear, sharp and very little pixilation is visible.
Just want to use it for presentations?
If you are using the projector for business presentations (Powerpoint and such) the lower end EX3210 is plenty good enough. I have often been using it to project a grid onto the classroom chalkboard for graphing. I can then switch to the next image with the answer and the student can see if their solution was correct. This is a godsend, as it is difficult to graph on a chalkboard with any accuracy without a grid. The projector even has a setting for the chalkboard, which takes into account its greenish grey color and counteracts the color change. It is bright enough to project a clear grid. The only small problem is keeping out of the way so you don't block the image.
And other uses
The projector can also be used in science class to project a clear slide of one color of light to show color absorption and reflection. I know this is not what it was designed for at all, but it works very well for this purpose. I simply made an image of the various colors I want to compare and since the projector uses LCD to make the light the wavelengths are very precise. Although this will probably not be useful for most users it does show you how clear a projection the device yields.
I originally tried to use the projectors with really cheap (think less than a cup of high end coffee) 25 foot long HDMI cables. This caused some problems, with the signal dropping out every once in a while. Digital is either all there, or not. With a slightly better (think two fast food dinners) 25 foot cable I did not have this problem.
The replacement lamp is currently just over 160 dollars on Amazon. Since it is rated for 40,000 hours that is a lot of science and math.
I cannot speak to the price/value for these projectors (as I only have these and the school ones but they are a LOT better than the school provided ones. Everybody wants to borrow them, and since they are easy to move around it is simple to loan them out.
Epson EX3210 Projector
The Epson EX3210 projector is almost an entry-level projector that works well for traveling or casual presentations. The unit is very light weight, and the connectivity options are excellent. The user has the option of using USB (drivers required), VGA, S-Video, and even RCA composite. I chose to use VGA since that is what we typically do at work due to limitations for USB/drivers, and the fact not many modern devices use S-Video or RCA composite. HDMI would have been a nice option, but it is overkill for the 800x600-ish low resolution of the projector. Although, the EX3210 did an outstanding job of replicating widescreen formats without any distortion. There's an option of using the normal mode (worked fine for my Dell Studio laptop) or 4:3 or 16:9.
The resolution isn't too bad for presentations, although I found that beautiful PowerPoint slides containing detailed photographs becomes more blurred on the projector display. YouTube videos feel the same way because we are used to seeing high resolution displays on the laptops/monitors. The color reproduction and adjustability is outstanding, I had no complaints about the color as it matched the laptop very well.
The EX3210 was a breeze to setup and use, although with 5 more minutes of adjustment, I was able to find the ECO mode and color/brightness/contrast settings to improve the display. The lamp runs very warm, and in a small bedroom I could feel the room temperature rise. I'd say it is on-par with most projectors, but the fan doesn't run continuously after you shut off the projector to aid in cool-down. According to the setup guide, the cooldown period is not necessary for the EX3210!
The 3-chip LCD does a fantastic job, the refresh rate is only a tad slower than what I'd like but it is not too bad for slower videos or presentations. I was testing it out with onboard racing videos on YouTube which tend to have more motion, and I could tell the refresh rate was only a tiny bit slower.
The lamp is an ELPLP67, which runs more than half the cost of the projector itself. The lamp is rated at a max of about 5000 hours in ECO mode but it warms up very quickly in under a minute. I'd caution users from utilizing the EX3210 as a projector display for television or casual viewing due to the short lifespan of the bulb and the high replacement cost but even so, it should last a fairly long time. The ECO mode is dimmer than the Normal mode, and the fan runs slower because there's not as much heat. That said, the ECO mode display quality is not that different from Normal mode. I can tell it is slightly dimmer, but it isn't that big of a deal and is probably well worth the extra 1000 hours of lifespan recovered for the bulb.
The EX3210 is lightweight and compact, no larger than a netbook but about as thick as 2 laptops stacked together. I wouldn't hesitate to travel around with the EX3210, although I'd probably invest in a better hard case for air travel thanks to the "careful" hands of TSA and airport baggage handlers. The included soft case has some padding, but it is not energy absorbing and does not have a hard external shell to protect against impacts.
Overall: 4/5 stars, the bulb life isn't too bad at a max of 5000 hours but the replacement is more than half the price of the projector. The included case is not protective enough for air travel. The display quality is acceptable for presentations, and warmup time is under a minute.
Easy to use, comes with lots of plugs and cables.
Plugs into my osx (with my apple cable adapter) and found the projector right away.
Nice menu's for adjusting things like keystoning and such when you aren't in the best situations.
Comes with a nice bag to carry the projector in and holds the attachments.
Picture was bright, even in a room with lots of natural lighting.
I entertained my kids by connecting this straight to their netbook and playing Hulu against the living room wall. Grins.
Resolution is not high res. I could not get it to go over 1024x768 but it did the job.
The case it comes with could use more padding. I will probably get a $20 laptop case to put this in to keep it safe.
The fan is very loud on cooldown, seems louder than others.
This is a good projector for those who need to present to clients and don't want to break the bank. Yes the res wasn't amazing but this isn't meant to hook up to your HDMI output for movie night.
on January 31, 2013
When using a USB device, such as a flash drive, only the following formats are supported: jpg, bmp, gif, and png. It does not support pps powerpoint slideshow files.
Just got projector about an hour ago so far love it. I got it to use with my computer and gaming systems. I love how easy it was to set up. From time of opening box to power on it took me about 8 mins. Initially I thought that the size of this projector would limit it's ability. A couple of trials of Powerpoint presentations and photostreams proved that this unit is capable of great performance in dark and dim settings.
This unit however could not display vivid colors under normal flourescent lighting situations (like most offices) unless they were turned off and ambient lighting was utilized.
Additionally, you should be aware that this is not capable of HDTV display nor does is have a great built in speaker (2 watts only). Expect to have your own external speakers available or plug into existing conference room audio if you need to include sound in your presentation.
I have tested this unit with Macbook Pros and Windows OS and it works fine with either system.
Be aware that the lens focus adjustment slider is VERY fragile and there have been several reports of it breaking off.
All in all, I would recommend this projector for business media presentations. Those looking for home projectors should realize this is not the projector for that segment and is geared toward business (non-video) projections.
on February 11, 2013
Got this today and am very impressed with the image clarity and brightness. I can't wait to look at a movie with it. However, playing a slideshow from a USB drive is a bit spotty. It does not play all JPEG files and I cannot figure out why yet. Otherwise, it starts up quickly, very easy to operate...does not even come with a real manual..just a quick startup guide.. I will be playing movies later but for now I have to get it to play all my jpeg files for a wedding slideshow.
Will update my review.
Exported images from Lightroom and was able to view all of them. My only peeve is that it does not allow you to play the photos randomly...only random effects so you have to put the photos in the order that you need it played.
Looked at a movie and was very impressed by the clarity and color rendition on the screen. Going to really enjoy showing a movie outdoors. You do need an amp/receiver with HDMI or optical for audio hookup to external speakers. Should have included composite audio output as well for easy hookup to older amps.