Don't be afraid. The Epson EB-1945W (let's just call it 'Fred') has a lot of buttons. It looks complicated. It looks like you've just stolen a crucial piece of tech from the Rebel Alliance's secret war chamber, and that without Fred, R2D2's strong but silent cousin twice removed, Darth Vader will certainly seize control of the galaxy.
But this is all a figment of your over-active imagination. Fred is no Star Wars droid, he is an office projector. And while he cannot destroy the Death Star with a single blink of its 245 watt lamp, he can project a darn fine image.
First of all, despite the density of features packed into this mighty machine, it's entirely compact: great when you need to cart the thing from meeting room to meeting room. However, at a reassuringly sturdy 3.9kg, this isn't the kind of gadget you sling into a briefcase.
Set up is fairly straightforward. MT is a Mac user and used to a world of plug and play. Fred did not disappoint. After plugging the Epson EB-1945W into our Macbook (Fred has a usefully named 'Computer 1' port) using an HDMI cable, we simply had to hit the 'Find Source' button for the projector to register the new input. A few little tweaks in the Macbook's Display settings, and hey presto! The dazzling colours of MT's desktop background were visible.
Now to mess around with the image. With most projectors, you have to fiddle around endlessly with piles of books and awkward angles to get the picture to appear just so. Not with Fred. Fred has the usual little jack at the front that lets you hoist up the front of the projector so that you don't catch the top of that mohican in the back row, but it also has a host of buttons that help you to turn your projected image from a wonky trapezium into a perfect square or rectangle. In technical terms, MT believes this is called "adjusting the keystone". However, to MT, that just sounds like some movie starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.
If you're projecting onto a whiteboard or other defined space, Fred can automatically detect its borders and project the image within those boundaries. See, we told you it was artificially intelligent.
As for focussing the thing. It was a doddle. The Focus Help button did exactly what it promised to do - it helped to focus! When you push the button, it suggests an optimum focus and you just adjust the lens until it matches the figure. Voila! A crisp clear image. Moreover, this projector boasts a serious punch in the pellucidity department. I.e. It has a very bright bulb. Even when the sun's rays are lashing across your presentation, the image remains clear.
So, how far can this thing project, we hear you cry. MT had a lot of fun dragging the projector further and further back and attempting to detect a change in clarity. Truth is, we gave up. The image getsa little smaller, sure, but the focus remains crisp. According to the technical specs, the Epson EB-1945W's maximum image size is 280 inches (fwoar), and this baby is just as suited to a small break-out room as it is to a larger conference hall.
Also, given that this is an Epson offering, you shouldn't be surprised to hear that the colour quality of the EB-1945W is really exquisite. MT made the mistake of watching the whole of Reanimator on the thing recently, and every gory, blood-and-brain splattered scene is indelibly stampted on its brain in dazzling technicolour.
You don't have to hook Fred up to a laptop either. Like R2D2, Fred is pretty flexible with those ports of his. Use DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA, Composite and USB 2.0. Or try out Fred's networking options through gigabit ethernet and Wi-Fi. You can even jam in a USB stick to play PDFs. For smartphone toters, download the Epson iProjection app for wireless streaming from your Android or iPhone.
Have we forgotten anything? Oh yes. There's a remote control too, so you don't have to hover over the thing like MT's second-year geography teacher. The only downside? Well, it's hardly the sexiest bit of kit we've every pulled out of the box. It's not the projector 'as the Ferrari', imagined by the genius of Philippe Starck. But, as MT may have mentioned, we're Star Wars fans, so that curved, sterile functionality with occasional blinking lights and alluring visible ports actually makes our inner nerd squeak with happiness. But that's just us.
To find stockists for the Epson EB-1945W Projector, visit the Epson website. RRP (incl. VAT): £1,568.09.