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| April 3, 2012
Product Review: Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD
A few months ago, we told you about the Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD, a digital video projector that allows playback directly from your iDevice (up to 720p). I've spent a few weeks watching movies, playing video games, and nerding out with the MG-850HD (stressful work, I know) and I'd like to share my thoughts on its performance. The MG-850HD features a bright 2,800 lumen output and built-in 10-watt speakers. Aside from the 30-pin iDevice dock, which can be hidden while not in use, you can also display content through a variety of inputs: HDMI, USB (type A and B), RCA (composite and component), and VGA. When not projecting pictures or video, the MG-850HD can be used as a speaker dock for your music. Weighing about 8.5 pounds, the MG-850HD is fairly portable, even featuring a flip-out handle for easy transport. Like the iDevice it's meant to support, this projector is expected to provide great performance while being simple to use, but does it live up to those expectations? [caption id="attachment_287766" align="aligncenter" width="1616" caption="Inputs galore."][/caption] The Good To put it simply, yes, it does. The projector is dead-simple to use. Simply turn it on, make any necessary angle and focus corrections (the projector features automatic keystone correction, or you can fine-tune it manually) and you're good to go. While docked, any media synced to your iDevice from iTunes can be accessed using the projector's remote, although any other video content (YouTube, Netflix, videos in your camera roll, etc.) must be accessed on the iDevice itself. The projected image is bright, the colors are vibrant, and the quality of the picture is superb. The built-in speakers actually do a fantastic job - easily providing enough sound to fill a moderately sized room (although sounding a bit thin at higher volumes). While the focus of this projector is its easy-to-use iDevice integration, I found that utilizing iTunes Home Sharing was the best way to use it, rather than syncing movies onto my iDevices. Although this option requires manually going to your docked iDevice and selecting your movie content, you're free to keep extra space on your device, while also having your entire movie collection at your disposal. Thankfully, using other devices with the projector is just as easy (and awesome!). [caption id="attachment_287767" align="aligncenter" width="2585" caption="Pixar's UP on my wall, measuring about 77-inches (diagonally) and it looks vibrant, sharp, and as great as ever."][/caption] The Bad An auxiliary line-out would have been a great addition. The built-in speakers are the only way to get sound from your connected devices, unless your connected device features an optical out or you plug external speakers into your docked iDevice's headphone jack. The projector's built-in fan can get pretty loud at times, but you can drown it out with the speakers, or just move away from the projector. Verdict The Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD is an amazing projector that allows you to quickly share content from the device you love with the people you care about. It's light enough to be portable, versatile enough to support your plethora of electronic devices, and as long as there's an iDevice around, you'll have endless entertainment. Although a bit pricey ($799 from the Epson Store, but less expensive on Amazon), you won't find a simpler way to project HD content from your iDevice. Does your iDevice play a major role in your home entertainment system? Would you consider a projector like this? Or, is an Apple TV connected to your big screen enough?