Epson files the PowerLite multimedia projector under its "Value" line of projectors. With a $399 MSRP, it is certainly affordable for a full-sized projector. However, as with most affordable devices, you have to drop a few features along the way to get that low price point.
The PowerLite S11 is a 3LCD projector. Its dimensions are 11.6 inches wide by 9.0 inches in diameter by 3.1 inches high when the feet are taken into consideration. Lowering the feet drops the height down to an even 3 inches, so it has the same exact dimensions as both the PowerLite X12 and the VS-200. It also weighs in at 5.1 pounds -- again, the same as the X12 and VS-200.
The PowerLite S11 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, with a native SVGA (800 x 600) resolution. The resolution can be resized to the following formats, depending on your needs:
- 640 x 480 (VGA)
- 1024 x 768 (XGA)
- 1152 x 864 (SXGA1)
- 1280 x 800 (WXGA)
- 1280 x 960 (SXGA2)
- 1280 x 1024 (SXGA3)
- 1280 x 768 (WXGA60-1)
- 1360 x 768 (WXGA60-2)
- 1400 x 1050 (SXGA+)
- 1440 x 900 (WXGA+)
The throw ratio range is listed as 1.48 - 1.96. It can project from a distance of 30 inches to 350 inches, which is 50 inches more than the X12.
Light output is listed at 2,600 lumens for both color and white light, which is less than the X12's 2800 lumens. This is measured using the ISO 21118 Standard. The lower light output is one example of dropping features for a more favorable price. The S11 uses a 200-watt UHE E-TORL lamp (Epson's own lamp technology), so it has the same lamp as the X12 and as Epson's MegaPlex models. The company says this lamp lasts up to 5,000 hours in ECO Mode and 4,000 hours in Normal Mode.
When purchasing a projector, the lamp lifetime is an important concern because replacing the lamp can be expensive. A quick peruse at several online shopping sites showed that the replacement for this lamp can cost anywhere from around $150 to $250. Since this can be about half the cost of the projector, you'll definitely want to keep this price in mind if you plan to be a heavy user.
The S11 comes with one 2-watt speaker -- same as the X12. As with the X12, this extra watt gives it an edge over the 1-watt VS-200 and VS-210, but still comes well short of the two 10-watt speakers that are packed in the MegaPlex projectors. However, the smaller speaker does help keep the weight down, which can be beneficial if you're planning on toting this around. Consider using an external audio source if you're going to use this in a large environment, such as a large lecture hall.
The fan noise for the PowerLite S11 is listed at 29 dB in Low Light Output Mode and 37 dB in High Light Output Mode -- slightly higher than the VS-200 but the same as the X12.
There are a selection of inputs: computer/component video: D-sub 15 pin; S-video: Mini DIN; composite video: RCA; audio in: RCA; Type A and B USB connectors; monitor out: D-sub 15 pin; audio out: Mini Stereo; and Serial: RS-232c. Unlike the X12, it does not have an HDMI input. This is another example of dropping features for a lower price.
The power consumption for the PowerLite S11 is listed at 283 watts in Normal Mode, which is the same as the X12 but higher than the VS-200.
The projector comes with Kensington's lock provision (a commonly found hole meant for use with Kensington's popular locking systems), padlock and security anchor bar. It does not have the password protection feature that the VS-200 and VS-210 have.
The lens for the S11 has a manual focus with a digital zoom. This is another difference from the X12, which had an optical zoom. Check out this article for an explanation of the difference between optical and digital zooms.
The zoom ratio is listed at 1.0 - 1.35.
What You Get
Included in the box with the PowerLite X12 is: power cord, VGA cable, soft carrying case, a remote control with batteries, and the user's guide on a CD. This remote can also be used at a distance of up to 19.7 feet, according to the company, and it features the following functions: source search, computer, video, USB, power, aspect, color mode, volume, e-zoom, A/V mute, freeze, menu, esc, enter, page up and down, help, auto, mouse functions, user, num, pointer.
As with the X12, Epson's mention of a Color Mode function on the S11's remote is puzzling because the company doesn't mention on its website how many Color Modes are available for the S11. Color Modes can be very helpful if you are projecting onto something other than a projection screen, such as a blackboard or a whiteboard.
The projector also has built-in closed captioning, as well as a Sleep Mode that can be set from one to 30 minutes if no signal is detected.
The PowerLite S11 drops a $100 in its price when you compare it with the X12, but it also drops a few features - most notably, that HDMI input. Otherwise, it's an extremely affordable, albeit bare-bones, full-sized 3LCD projector.