Shhh. If you listen carefully, you can hear an entire category of low-resolution SVGA projectors going extinct. Their low-budget niche has been invaded by the amazing Optoma EP727, which boasts XGA resolution, a highly portable design, and a price tag of just $699.
Good Performance and Features for the Price
If that's not enough, check out the full-featured remote (which includes both a laser pointer and a set of mouse pointer controls) and the relatively wide range of inputs. Not only is there a VGA-out connector for users of obsolete desktops, but there is also a choice of two VGA inputs, using the traditional VGA and the newer DVI connectors (which can be used simultaneously for quick handoffs from one presenter to another). We also like the Velcro straps on the VGA and USB cables for neat and easy stowage.
On our tests, the EP727 presented sharp images and was adequately bright for most applications (1,466 ANSI lumens versus the 2,200 advertised). The contrast ratio was a very impressive 591:1, thanks to its DLP imaging engine. However, like many DLP models, its yellows looked a bit too much like deli mustard. The projector shut down in a sprightly 18 seconds (although it was still warm to the touch) but needed a leisurely 40 seconds to warm up. Even though we had a difficult time doing it, we liked that you can shift EP727 into low-power mode, which for this unit means less noise from the cooling fan and a longer life for the lamp (3,000 hours vs. 2,000 in Bright mode), and a 12 percent decrease in brightness.
A Few Weaknesses
Sure, a couple of aspects of the EP727 could be improved. Although the remote control has an impressive set of features (including numeric keys for inputting a theft-deterring password), most of the buttons are arranged poorly and could easily confuse a nervous presenter. Likewise, the Power button on the top panel of the projector is difficult to identify. Also, the menu structure is a bit more complicated than it needs to be. Finally, the back panel has a surprising omission: an RCA-style video connector, which is usurped by the S-Video connector.
The above are minor quibbles, however, especially for a $700 XGA projector that is sure to kill off an entire species of low-resolution budget models. Yes, there are certainly brighter projectors available, but none has the impressive combination of price and features available in the Optoma EP727.