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VINE VOICEon November 20, 2013
Format: Electronics|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I’ve been using this projector for about a month now, and I found both ‘pros and cons,’ the term that applies to any kind of items. So here’s my review.
First, I will begin with the pros. This projector is very bright. It was too bright out of the box, so I had to reduce the brightness. I set this projector up in a small room and approximately 20 feet away from the screen; I could enjoy 60”~70” screen size (big enough for me for now, but I don’t see any problem making this bigger up to 300” considering how powerful the bulb is). The colors were overall accurate out of the box, but I needed to do some calibration (it was a bit saturated with high contrast, in my opinion, and this can be personal preference; I like soft and warm tones). This projector has 5 different input methods (S-Video, VGA, RCA, USB, and HDMI) and having an HDMI port is an excellent option. Using HDMI port, it’s just easy and simple to connect many kinds of devices. I tried Roku, Apple TV, mobile devices, and my computers (Mac, requires thunderbolt to HDMI cable or adapter), and they all worked great without any issues or going through complicated settings. I just plugged it, and it worked.
So I enjoyed TV shows and movies on a huge screen; now my 55” TV screen looks small. I was surprised how quickly human eyes can be spoiled and fooled by the bigger screen sizes.

Now here are some cons that can be, again, personal preferences.
The max resolution of this projector is not 720P. So this is not a ‘HD’ HD projector with 720P or 1080P resolution, but close to it. Because this is not a 720P, that doesn’t mean this is garbage. I actually think the outputted image quality is wonderful considering 800x600. The moving images on screen may not be as sharp as 720P, but I like smooth motion better. Also, this is still higher resolution than what regular DVD movie can produce (by vertical line,) the image quality still looks great on a big screen. And because this isn’t a 720P (or 1080P), that doesn’t mean I can’t connect my Roku box or Apple TV. Both devices work great with this projector, and I am really enjoying movies with the huge screen size.

One thing I really wished this projector had is audio out option. Missing an audio out is not the end of the world, but if it had one, movie watching life could have been easier. Luckily, Roku has audio/video out port; I can connect to an external speaker for better and louder sound, and for the Apple TV, I can airplay audio only to my airplay enabled speaker. Problem solved.
The rest is minor and universal cons for most of the home/office projector that this one is not excluded. The fan noise can be noisy if used in a small quiet room; for a backyard movie night, this not an issue. High power consumption: even though the Amazon description shows energy star, in my opinion, this device consumes too much power. For a regular setting, it was 250 watts/h, and for the eco setting, it was 200 watts/h. For an occasional movie night, it’s fine. But, here’s some numbers for a quick comparison. My 55” LED TV (eco mode) consumes less than 90 watts/h and a CFL bulb in my room consumes 17 watts/h. I personally think 200 watts/h is too much, but then again, my Dell DLP projector in the office consumes the same amount of electricity (it measured 250 watts/h at regular mode).

Overall, this is a great option for a budget home theater. The image quality is unexpectedly better and the overall built quality is solid (except the included carrying bag made with really cheap material). It is easy and simple to use including OSD menus. Having an HDMI port is a blessing because I can connect many different current digital devices. If you think the price of HD projectors doesn’t justify your hard earned money, then this one can be a good choice.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon June 9, 2014
All their useless marketing aside ("colors 3x brighter with Epson!"), you just want to know one thing: is this the best projector for my money? Having tried a number of projectors in this price range, here's a rundown of your best options: (all prices at time of writing)

UPDATED 12/15/2014

$330: The Epson VS230. Amazing for the price. Bright enough for lit rooms. The only thing it lacks is resolution - it handles movies and PowerPoints pretty well, but if you plan on anything else (detailed diagrams, smaller text, etc), you should consider one of the $400 options, which are 1280x800 pixels, vs 800x600 pixels. http://amzn.to/1nf8H9L

This, the $350 Epson PowerLite 500. "Contrast ratios" aside, movies look better on this than on the VS320. On the other hand, it is visibly dimmer. If you want an inexpensive home theater, go for this. If it's meant for presentations, I'd go for the VS320.

NEW $380 Optoma W311. It's a bit better than the old DW326e, and $40 cheaper. If you have the money, this is now my top recommendation: http://amzn.to/1nf8KlS

$350: The ViewSonic PJD5134. It's a bit brighter than the Epson VS320, but that'll almost never matter - either is bright enough for daily use. This sacrifices some of the Epson's image quality for a lot of mostly unnecessary features like 120Hz refresh rate and 3D support (why would you watch a 3D BluRay on a low-res projector?). I recommend the Epson over this. http://amzn.to/1nf8R0Q

$420: The Optoma DW326e. My favorite projector for under $500, it's a tad brighter than the Epson VS230, but WAY sharper. It's basically the difference between SD and HD TV. Highly recommend: http://amzn.to/1nf8OC2

$420: The ViewSonic PJD5533W. Basically the same as the Optoma, but not quite as sharp. However, the prices of the two projectors has varied by up to $100 in the past, so I'd recommend just going for whichever is cheaper: http://amzn.to/1nf8P9d
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Format: Electronics|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This projector does well for its design, just be sure you understand what it actually offers as a "Home Cinema" projector.

It has an 800x600 resolution and is 4:3 native aspect ratio. So, for DVD's its fine, but not all that useful if you're looking for Hi-def. Additionally, since it's 4:3, although it's "widescreen compatible" it's resolution will be cut down and you'll have black bars at the top and bottom. In this day and age, you're hard pressed to find any newer content in "full screen" vs. "widescreen".

Additionally, most laptops and even tablets, phones and camcorders with HDMI out have a higher resolution than this projector. When I hooked up a Windows8 tablet, I couldn't open many of the apps or display content because the resolution was too low. This was a restriction coming from the tablet, but it was caused by the low resolution of the projector.

That said, hooking up a DVD player to it worked flawlessly, and the built in speaker, while not something I'd want to listen to for a whole movie, is a nice feature when you have no other options. I'd definitely plan on having some other source for audio if you plan to have "movie night", especially outside.

The colors are indeed great, owing to the 3LCD system and this also helps with the sharpness. It's very easy to focus, position, correct for vertical keystone and zoom to the correct size. The zoom doesn't appear to be optical - as you zoom the picture down in size, you're still left with the projector having unused area from the original projection size. I haven't really delved into this fully, but this is my initial observation.

For the time being, I got some Roc-lon Budget Blackout material from Joann's fabric store. This is often used for diy screens and is even sold here on Amazon, though it won't be called out by that exact name. My piece is 52" high, and I was able to get 3 yards for under $11 using sales and coupons. It really does make a nice screen for this projector.

In summary, this is a fine projector for non-critical uses such as DVD content and backyard movies, though for a true "home theater" experience, you may want to save and look for an HD projector. For business use, I'd also recommend something of higher resolution and native widescreen as that's how most computers are being designed. For this price, you'll get a fantastic picture with accurate colors, just a bit low on resolution.

Update:
A while back I used this at my son's Pinewood Derby. The event was in a gymnasium and we projected onto the "screen" I mentioned above. It was projecting a pretty good distance away (probably 20 feet or more) and it was sufficiently bright. We hooked it up to a camcorder via HDMI, then zoomed in to the last few feet of track and the finish line. It worked really well for spectators in the rear rows. So while this might not be great in a super bright room, for non critical uses in a gym or other indoor environment it should work fine. The lights from the gym are pretty far away from the screen and that helps prevent wash out.
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on March 5, 2015
It's great. I just set it up today and am very happy with the picture. It is not HD but it is a great picture that is awesome for watching movies on the living room wall. The speaker is absolute junk but its easy to hook up to surround (no optical output unfortunately). im planning on using it to play movies on the house during the holidays too.
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on June 1, 2015
Ok, so I waited a long time to review this. Partially because I was being lazy, but mainly because I wanted to get some use out of it before posting a review. After 10+ months of steady use I can honestly say it was a good purchase. This isn't a high def projector that's going to "wow" you, except maybe by the sheer size of the screen you can have. I currently have it ceiling mounted in a bedroom projecting onto a 105 inch Carl's ProGray screen (4:3). I have Verizon FIOS service which gives me a free SD box with my subscription. Since this is basically an SD projector, it works well. I have it connected using an old fashion S-Video cable. I also have an AppleTV box hooked up in the HDMI port. The video from the AppleTV is set to 720p, but the projector scales it down to somewhere between SD and HD. It still looks good so I don't really care. I think the only real complaint I have is that it's really hard to see detail in dark scenes no matter what adjustments I make (don't try to watch The Walking Dead on it). From what I understand this is something projectors struggle with in general when not in a total theater dark environment. Also, like everyone else before me has said, the internal speaker sucks so I just don't use it (I have the audio going into a BOSE speaker system). The "screen door" effect people also complain about is only visible for me when I'm close to the screen (which isn't a problem since I don't sit that close when I'm watching it). Overall this was a good purchase and I am happy with it. Hope this helps!
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on August 21, 2014
Bought this after a run-in with a cheap-o projector. This was FAR better than that. We used it for an outdoor movie party and were able to start the movie at 8:00 (August in Minnesota- sun set but not yet dark)- at this time you could see the image but it was fairly light. As it got darker the image got much clearer. The only criticism is that speakers on the projector were a little quiet for this setting (would be fine indoors). I hooked up my external speakers to my laptop but (in my limited technical wisdom) I couldn't transfer the sound to the external speakers. The movie night went off without a hitch though and we plan on using this little baby much more. Oh yeah- and the screen can potentially get HUGE! We made a 10'X10' screen and the projector was about 15 feet away. Move it further and it could fill a 25' span!
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on January 20, 2014
I live in a dorm with 5 other people and a common area where we have this set up to watch movies and play video games. This was exactly what we wanted and looks great for the price point. The only thing that holds this back from being a 5 star rating is that the built in speaker is pretty bad and on the side of the projector. The simple solution is to use your own speakers, but the projector lacks a 3.5mm port on the back, which seems like a ridiculous oversight. You can buy an rca-3.5mm adapter for $2 to get around this issue but it's still a bit of a headache if you realize this only after purchasing it.
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on August 1, 2014
We use this for watching movies in the backyard. The picture is great.I connect a Roku to it. I use the Red/White/Yellow cables out of the Roku. The Yellow goes to the projector and I run the red/white audio cables to a set of speakers. I had to use adapter cables for the audio.
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on January 13, 2015
The picture quality is nice, but it's EXTREMELY frustrating that this projector doesn't have audio-out ports. I use this projector with a Google Chromcast, and there's no way for me to listen to audio instead via the really bad internal speaker
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on October 2, 2013
Our wantings were to have a low price projector that could make a huge picture and still have quality picture. This projector has fulfilled all of those( personally I just wanted a low price and a quality picture; gotem).
We actually had bought two projectors at the same time to test which one looked better. We liked the powerlite home cinema much better than the other projector (espon VS220) we bought. So we payed the shipping cost to send the projector we didn't like back to its dealer.
Great projector; use it for every movie, dance youtube videos, any type of broadcasts. Just a big screen with a quality picture- in my personal opinion
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