No business meeting attendee escapes without passing through the harrowing "Death by PowerPoint" valley of boredom. The unindicted co-conspirator? A projector, sometimes hidden out of sight, and sometimes just invisible as it fades into the furniture. But you can't blame boredom on the projector itself, especially a projector like the Epson EX7220 WXGA 3LCD model that does lots of fun things.
Epson's EX family of projectors starts with the EX3220SVGA 3LCD, and ends at the EX7220. In between are the EX5220 XGA 3LCD, the EX5230 XGA 3LCD, the EX6210 WXGA 3LCD, and the EX6220 WXGA 3LCD. They all shine brightly at 3,000 lumens. From the base EX3220, model EX5220 adds wireless support to project from smartphones and tablets, the EX5230 adds HDMI support, the EX6210 adds Simple Setup Suite, and finally, the EX7220 adds all the features altogether. The EX3220 starts at $399 MSRP, and each unit adds a few dollars until you reach $649 for the EX7220 (street price is around $600).
Out of the Box and Setup
When first opened, the EX7220 looks like a projector, period. Done in all black (the better to become invisible), the EX7220 comes with a USB cable, DVI cable, power cord, and a remote with batteries included. The remote turned out to be remarkably handy during setup, but the infrared receiver is on the back of the projector. Wireless support came in the form of a thumb-drive-style wireless USB adapter. A CD includes manuals, a registration app, and some download links for extra utilities.
Setting up for typical projection, using either a VGA or HDMI cable to link to a computer to drive the projector, worked easily and quickly. In our case, a Dell Vostro V130 laptop in the lab had an HDMI port, so we decided to use that in place of the VGA port.
It worked great. We plugged in the HDMI cable, turned on the projector, let it discover on its own that the HDMI cable was the source, and hit the Fn-8 key on the Dell to engage projector mode. We decided to use the dual-screen method in which both the laptop and projector show the same information, and it started up immediately.
Image management tools include focus and wide-tele rings on the lens, an adjustment to handle slightly skewed images like when the projector isn't exactly square with the screen, and extra keystone image correction. Color was great, and the projector's 1,280 x 800 screen size handled the laptop's 1,366 x 768 dimensions without a hitch.
Not only does the EX7220 have the expected adjustment foot in front but also two smaller adjustment feet at the back of the device. You can compensate for a platform that leans one way or the other, but not too much.
If you want to project images from a video device like a DVD player, the EX7220 includes all the required connections like S-Video and RCA audio ports. There is no included cable for this connection option, however.
Getting Wi-Fi with It
One big advantage of the EX5220 and EX7220 (our tested unit) is the ability to project content wirelessly from smartphones and tablets. It took some time to get it configured, but afterward we were able to project photos from our Samsung Android phone quickly and easily.
It would have taken less time if either the user interface for the projector setup screens had been better, or the Quick Setup and CD-based manual had been clearer. Everything we needed to know is in one of the two locations, but overview and workflow of the setup process needs improvement. Since it's easier to change documentation than embedded firmware, we suggest Epson add a single page of instructions that are clearer and more helpful. Until then, add an hour or two of playtime to get the wireless working correctly.
The Quick Setup pamphlet does include a QR code to download the correct iOS or Android app, which helps. Once everything is configured, the project app does work pretty well. The app lets you connect to the projector, then choose the photos, documents, or a Web page to project. Since this is the Internet, we projected cats.
Notice the pencil at the top right of the Android screen? That lets you mark up the image with a black or red line. Actually a nice touch, and pretty handy.
Projectors should be invisible so as not to distract meeting attendees from the immense value of the PowerPoint slides, one after the other, that appear magically out of the darkness. Once the wireless details are configured, the Epson EX7220 projector can make it easy and reliable to bore people into submission with the content of choice, all displayed brightly and crisply.
Pricing and Availability:
- MSRP: $649
- Street: $600
- Availability: Now
Product features courtesy of Epson:
- 3x Brighter Colors
- Color Brightness: 3000 lumens
- White Brightness: 3000 lumens
- Wireless — projects from tablets and smartphones
- Simple Setup Suite — intuitive controls for flexible positioning
- Wirelessly projects from iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile devices with the Epson iProjection App