For those that do a lot of slideshow presentations in lots of different places, the Epson VS250 is a great deal. It packs a powerful lamp that can easily overpower ambient light into a small, barely more than a 5-pound package that can easily be moved from room to room and building to building. To boot, it does all this with a list price of just $360. The Vs250 does have its limitations, however. The relatively low SVGA resolution means that smaller text is going to look fuzzy. If your presentations have enough text to necessitate a small font size, you're going to want to upgrade to the Epson EX9200. That lower resolution also doesn't translate well to movie watching. Movie viewing on the VS250 is passable, but certainly not a full on home theater experience.
Epson VS250 Review
Pros: Bright lamp, inexpensive
Cons: Fuzzy text, not HD resolution
Bottom line: Great for basic slideshow presentations, but lacks clarity and color quality for much else
Advertised Brightness (ANSI Lumens): 3200
Measured Brightness (Lumens): 2847
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Epson VS250 is quite inexpensive and excels at projecting basic slideshow presentations. It isn't high definition, so small text and movies both look slightly grainy, but for backing up your presentation with large text and graphics it works perfectly.
We would consider the VS250 a fairly specialized model, great for presentations and not much else. Accordingly, it earned an average overall score in our testing. You can see how it compared to the competitions in all of our individual tests below.
The VS250's relatively low SVGA resolution (800x600) lost it a lot of points in our image quality testing. This earned it the lowest score in the field. However, we still feel the VS250 is quite useful in certain applications.
The VS250's bread and butter are slideshow presentations, and that is the one area where it excelled in our testing. This is largely because of its superior brightness, which lets it produce a bright image, even in a room with a lot of ambient light (more about that in the brightness section below). However, due to the low resolution, it struggles to make small text look clear. Therefore The VS250 is best for basic presentations with large text and graphics.
When used in a home theater setting the VS250 is somewhat lackluster. Its lower resolution is very apparent when compared to high definition models. The color accuracy also leaves a lot to be desired, with most things taking on an overly blueish tint. Finally, the 4:3 aspect ratio means you have an area above and below the image that is slightly lit up when wathing 16:9 widescreen movies. This isn't a huge deal, but can be a bit distracting. Bottom line, the VS250 costs about the same as a 40" 4K TV. We think the 4K TV is going to provide a much better movie watching experience.
Ease of Use
The VS250 was an around average performer in our user friendliness testing. It makes adjusting the image easy, but its remote leaves a bit to be desired.
With automatic vertical keystone adjustment and a slider for quick horizontal keystone adjustment, you can easily get your image nice and square in a matter of seconds. It also has a wide 1-1.35 zoom range, so you can get the picture the appropriate size even if the projector isn't an ideal distance from the screen. This zoom is digital, so it is adjusted using buttons instead of a zoom ring. This is a little less convenient than using a zoom ring, but not too bad. We also didn't notice any significant reduction in image quality when using the digital zoom.
One key aspect of the VS250 that we really liked was its leg. To adjust the heigt of the leg (and thus your placement of the image) you just press and hold a button, pull the leg to the height you want, and then release the button. Seeing as the VS250 would often be used on tabletops and be moved around, having this adjustement be quick and painless was a huge plus.
Where the VS250 lost some points was with its remote. Its buttons are small and crowded together, and not in a particularly intuitive layout. It's not too big a deal as the controls on the projector itself are more user friendly, but if you mount the projector out of reach it would certainly be a pain.
This is another one of the VS250's strong points. In our testing it produced 2847 lumens, more than any other model we tested.
This extra brightness allows the VS250 to handle ambient light with aplomb. It kept all images looking bright and full, even with the overhead fluorescents glaring in our conference room. This makes it perfect for those that do a lot of presentions in rooms that may or may not have projector friendly lighting. The only downside is that its resolution is slightly lacking, so small text is going to look fuzzy. You can fix that by upgrading to the Epson EX9200, but it costs more than twice as much.
We would classify the VS250's as noticeable, but not annoying. During our testing we could notice a low buzz that slowly got higher in pitch as the lamp heated up. However, it never got loud enough to really be annoying, and certainly wasn't loud enough to interfere with a presentation given at a conversational volume. If we actually had a movie playing, we only noticed the fan at teh quietest of moments, and even then it didn't really take us out of the movie.
The Epson VS250 lists for just $360, and can often be found on sale for below its list price. If you're looking for a portable presentation machine, this is a steal. However, if you're looking to build a home theater, you're going to either want to spend more on a projector, or get the biggest HD television you an for $360.
The Epson VS250 is a great projector for those that want to take their slideshow presentations on the go. However, if you want to watch movies or need to projects lots of lines of small text, you'd de better to spend a bit more on a model with higher resolution.