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How does the new Epson L570U laser projector compare to the alternative BenQ laser projectors?

Is the new Epson L570U with its 4K Enhancement the same as BenQ’s true 4K UHD projector when you are looking for high brightness laser projector? 

This year at TCEA, both Epson and BenQ showcased new laser projectors for classroom, auditorium, or meeting rooms. The new Epson L570U is a high brightness laser projector designed to compete with the latest BenQ laser projector that won Best of Show at InfoComm.  So how does the Epson latest new model with “4K Enhancement” and 5200 lumens compare to the BenQ alternatives?  This article will look at these questions: 

  • How does the Epson L570U compare in resolution? 

  • How color-accurate is the L570U compared to other BenQ models. 

  • How much maintenance is required for the Epson L570U? 

  • Other differences to consider. 

Resolution: Epson 4K Enhancement vs. BenQ 4K UHD

Today, practically every TV sold has 4K UHD resolution or higher.  This 4K UHD specification requires over 8 million pixels to ensure that you can see every detail on the screen from your Macbook, ZenBook, or Dell notebook.  While the Epson markets “4K Enhancement” the description comes with a small footnote that explains that the projector only produces about half the number of pixels needed for a true 4K UHD display.  This makes a big difference in pixel density – and readability.  Let’s compare the Epson L570U to a true 4K projector on when it comes to how many pixels are on the screen.

The BenQ LK936ST projector complies with the industry standard 4K requirement for 8.3 million pixels, so every pixel can be properly address by a computer or media player.   Since the Epson L570U resolution doesn’t comply with the UHD industry standard, the projector must “enhance” the image from the lower resolution WUXGA panels.  So, while it can be confusing when you see “4K Enhancement,” the bottom line is that the projector has only half the pixels needed to produce a true 4K UHD image like what you would see on a 4K TV.

Color accuracy at high brightness levels

According to Futuresource, both BenQ and Epson are two of the most popular brands of home theater projectors in North America – and both have multiple models of high brightness projectors in the 5000-lumen range.   So how color accurate are the high brightness models?

Every BenQ home theater and high brightness laser projector specifies its color accuracy to the HDTV standard Rec. 709.  This ensures that difficult colors – like John Deere Green and L’Oréal Champagne Blonde look correct in a meeting room.  While Epson provides color accuracy specifications on their home theater projectors, there are no color accuracy specifications on the L570U, so there may be some colors that might not look right on the screen.   Here is a table that shows various models of projectors from BenQ and Epson – and their color accuracy specs.

What are the maintenance requirements for the Epson L570U?

Certified IP5X Dustproof Design vs. Filters

Laser projectors are unique in that the laser beam can vaporize a dust particle inside a projector, creating “molten goo” can end up on critical components over time and reduce the life span of the projector.  After trying many different options (including filters), BenQ created the first completely dustproof laser projector.  All models of BenQ laser projectors are tested under the same industry standard IP5X dust test that is used on other products such as the Apple Watch.   

The Epson L570U uses a dust filter to try and keep dust out of the projector.   Besides the fact that the filter needs to be regularly cleaned in order to maintain warranty protection,  the user manual indicates the projector should be cleaned on a regular basis – before the “clean filter” warning comes on.

If regular maintenance is not performed, your Epson projector will notify you when the temperature inside the projector has reached a high level. Do not wait until this warning appears to maintain your projector filter as prolonged exposure to high temperatures may reduce the life of your projector or laser.

There are other restrictions that are in the warranty that should be considered.  For example, the projector cannot have “excessive use” and the warranty does not cover damage resulting from operation in areas with dust. 

Other differences between the Epson and BenQ laser projectors

According to Futuresource, BenQ has been making laser projectors much longer than Epson, so are there any other substantial differences that you should consider?   Here are a few to think about:

Imaging technology and color shifting

Lasers produce a massive amount of heat on the projector’s imaging device – and some brands like Sanyo, Hitachi, and Maxell have left the projector market despite their market leadership in lamp-based projectors.  Many non-DLP technologies have struggled with the projector losing color accuracy over time, the latest instance being when the projector industry was rocked by Sony discontinuing its high brightness liquid crystal on silicon laser-powered cinema projectors due to losing color over time.  By contrast, BenQ uses only DLP imaging technology – which has been used for over a decade in laser-powered commercial cinema projectors without any color fading or shifting issues.   Each BenQ laser projector has a 100,000 warranty on the DLP chip.   

Single-Chip Design for sharp images throughout the life of the projector

With 8.3 million pixels, making sure each pixel is sharp is an important part of the overall immersive effect of a true 4K projector.  The BenQ projectors use a single chip design, which means that you will never have a misaligned image that creates a blurry pixel, which was a key goal in Texas Instruments' development of the technology.  The Epson projector requires that all three panels be perfectly aligned for the best picture and may need service if the panels become misaligned over time.

Summary

High brightness laser projectors offer an excellent alterative to flat panel displays when you need a large detailed image to communicate to your group.  Both Epson and BenQ projectors are market leaders,  and both have excellent service and support.  The BenQ models may be more expensive than the Epson but consider the following advantages.

  • True 4K resolution for a perfect UHD picture without upscaling

  • Incredible color accuracy specified to the Rec. 709 standard for perfect logo’s every time.

  • Sealed IP5X Certified laser engine 

  • No filter cleaning or worry about color shifting and panel misalignment over the life of the projector.

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