The Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD is an all-in-one projector with a twist: it comes with a dock specifically designed for Apple iOS devices, as well as built-in speakers. The Apple dock allows for a level of flexibility not found in other projectors, while the integrated speakers allows business users to easily share a range of multimedia presentations such as slideshows with sound effects -- or even movies -- without having to fumble with separate sound systems and assorted audio and power cables.
Epson Projector Hardware
The MegaPlex MG-850HD ($799) incorporates 3LCD technology for clear and vibrant images, and it emits 2,800 lumens of color light output and white light output for startlingly bright projection. Its native resolution of 1280 x 800 means it is capable of 720p HD output, and makes it right at home in even the largest board rooms or meeting rooms. Moreover, the MG-850HD supports both front and rear projection, which allows for alternative deployment scenarios, where placing the projector in front of the screen is not an option.
Figure 1: The Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD Projector
The retractable Apple dock accommodates all current iPod devices, including an iPod Nano and iPod Touch, as well as the all models of iPhone smartphones and iPad tablets. Integrated into the side that faces the Apple dock are two 10 Watts stereo speakers tastefully hidden behind perforated metal grills and positioned such that they are not affected by an iPhone or iPad that may be currently docked.
Aside from the Apple dock, the MG-850HD also comes with a large number of connectivity options including an HDMI input, composite video inputs, and audio and component video on the side panel. You'll also find a 3.5mm microphone jack, which lets you plug in a microphone when addressing a large crowd. You can remove a panel located on the side facing the Apple dock to show a traditional VGA input, as well as two USB ports, which consist of a "Type A" port and a "Type B" port.
The Type A USB port lets you plug a USB flash memory device directly into the MG-850HD, while the Type B port can be wired directly to a PC to serve as an extended display for a PC or Mac. Finally, a carrying handle at the side is positioned so that it can be moved around easily.
Projector Setup and Performance
Setting up the MG-850HD is a relatively straight-forward affair, and involves plugging in a power cord and propping the projector on its front extension leg. If presenting from an iOS device, the next step is to retract the Apple dock; alternatively, connect the MG-850HD to a laptop or media player using a VGA or HDMI cable as you would a standard projector.
Images are very bright and crisp even in a moderately lit room, with pertinent controls for tweaking the projection to my satisfaction easily accessible. I really like the physical keystone correction control that makes it possible to quickly affect horizontal changes of up to 30 degrees either way using a physical slider bar.
Moreover, other controls are clustered together near the lens, including a couple of other physical sliders to adjust the focus and projection size. Yet another slider located right at the front of the projector is connected to a louver that lets you blank out the projection when necessary.