Epson is a name that’s now synonymous with a lot of things, not the least of which are projectors. We here at Gadgets love us a good projector, and while work is of primary importance, we also value the ability to kick back, relax, and enjoy some entertainment every once in a while.
The Epson EB-U32 is a nondescript little white box with rounded edges and black accents. It’s got a very clean, work machine vibe to it that just doesn’t call attention to itself. The top of the projector is home to the various buttons that call up the device’s menu and control the features, and are labelled very clearly. The business end has the lens, behind which are the knobs for image size and focus, and a handy shutter that shuts the image off and turns the audio down. This is also home to the exhaust port, which is a very welcome move, and keeps the projector from blowing hot air where people are likely to be. The back of the projector has all the ports and connectors you’re ever going to need, be it for work or play.
Where do we even start? We could mention Epson’s brightness levels across all colors (not just white), which delivers clear, sharp, saturated images regardless of what you’re projecting. You’ve got 3200 ANSI lumens shooting out the front, which is more than enough, even with room lighting on. Another is the absolute abundance of inputs in the back. RCA, USB, VGA, not one, but two HDMI, and S-Video are all supported. Don’t have the right wire? No problem. The projector even supports wireless video casting via a simple app you just need to install on your device. All the connectivity options you’re ever reasonably going to need are right there, bar none.
User Experience: 4.5/5.0
The Epson EB-U32 is, by definition, a business-oriented device, and as such, it performs exceedingly well. Easy to set-up, with support for both newer and older devices (HDMI and VGA), with a small footprint that’s perfect for placing on the meeting room table when you need it, and stowing away in the supply cabinet when you’re done. The device quite happily throws a very bright image that’s more than sharp enough for even the largest of spreadsheets. On our own office wall, it had no problem giving us a bright image about the size of a 55” TV, even with the office fluorescent lamps all on. Should you need more than one source, a few taps on the (thankfully) easy-to-navigate menu brings up a split-screen option that displays the images from two different sources,
side-by-side. It’s even nice enough to take care of angling the image correctly when the projector isn’t perfectly square in front of the surface being projected on. A remote gives you access to all the projector’s features, and is likewise easy to understand and operate. Really, it’s right at home at the office.
But we aren’t all just office creatures. Once the office review was complete, I took the projector home and proceeded to test my suspicions that this was more than just a data projector. I found the barest wall I had, hooked the device up to the Playstation, and proceeded to immerse myself in Metal Gear Solid V. My suspicions were confirmed: this thing is capable of way more than spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations. It’s superbly bright across all the colors, so the gaming experience is incredibly immersive, even with the room lights on. Since the image was larger than the TV I normally use, I could see details better, none of which were lost, even at the roughly 60 inch “screen” I was throwing. Epson is even nice enough to include speakers in the projector itself, removing the necessity to think of some workaround to get audio from the Playstation. Some might say gaming on a projector is overkill, but I guarantee that those who say that are ones who haven’t actually tried it. It does an even better job at video, as it has more than enough light to throw a large image—larger than is practical for gaming. I didn’t have a wall large enough to produce an image that the ambient lighting could wash out, so dim lights and a movie are going to be a piece of cake.
Now, I know that some of you are thinking that the projector can’t do blacks well, which would make gaming and video-viewing suffer a bit. That’s not the case with the U32. All that brightness plays a nice trick on the eye. When there’s black on the screen, the colors surrounding it are so bright, thanks to all that spare light the projector has to offer, that the blacks are more than satisfactory for gaming purposes. If I didn’t hear the quiet hum of the fan, I would have forgotten I was using a projector at all. Another surprisingly useful feature on the U32 is the Epson IProjection App, which allows you to send content from your smartphone (or laptop via the Easy MP Software) wirelessly, as long as you’re on the same network. It might seem gimmiky, but it’s exceedingly convenient for both work and play. The interface is simple enough, and getting it to work doesn’t require an IT degree.
The EB-U32 is an extremely versatile machine for both work and play. Presentations, gaming, and videos—all of these are tackled easily by the U32. Given the sticker price of PHP 39190, that makes it a real steal.
I’m trying to get the office to score one so I can borrow it on weekends.
Also published in December 2015-January 2016 Issue
Reviewed by Ren Alcantara