Some highlights of note on the overall brightness performance before we get to the light readings. During the daytime with plenty of ambient light coming into my room, the lights in the room on full power, and in Eco Dynamic mode, the image was not washed out and visibility was strong. On Eco Presentation, the results were similar and with Cinema you might lose some visibility due to the lower brightness. Without a doubt, you can feel comfortable in most environments that you’ll have the brightness you need if you’re in Normal Dynamic mode. And if it’s not crazy bright in your room, you can switch on Eco mode, extend the lamp life, and still enjoy a bright, bold, and easy to read and see image.
For perspective it’s unlikely, that you could find a K-12 classroom that this Powerlite 990U won’t handle in Presentation mode, even with all the lights on. As a former teacher, depending on the classroom and the kids themselves, I know some that would choose to cut the room lighting back a bit to reduce ambient light to make the picture even better. And I know others that preferred as much ambient light as possible to keep those tired kids from falling asleep! I endorsed the latter so I appreciate all the lamp brightness that can be offered here.
Powerlite 990U Lamp Life
With regards to lamp life, the 990U claims to get 6,000 hours in Normal mode, an impressive amount of lamp life in full power mode! While in Eco mode, Epson claims to double the life of the bulb, giving you 12,000 hours. While you may never hit those total hours, the reality is if you can get close to 10,000 hours of lamp life out of this quality projector, these lamp hour numbers are tough to beat, short of spending bigger bucks on a projector with a laser light engine. Of course we only have a projector for perhaps 50-100 hours when we’re reviewing, so we have no way of verifying how long the lamps really do last. Still, most of these major companies have proved credible over the years.
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I took the usual light measurements, and found some impressive results. In dynamic mode on the normal lamp setting, we clocked in at a very nice 3700 lumens, just under the manufacturer claim of 3800 lumens on the projector’s brightest setting. However, we do most measurements with the zoom lens set to the middle of its zoom range. That results in lower measurements. Projectors can lose up to 40% brightness going from full wide angle to telephoto, so we choose to provide a middle number. The one exception is that we also measure the brightest mode at full wide angle (closest and brightest). On Presentation mode, the 990U dropped down to 3000 lumens, still more than enough to project in any well-lit room with sunlight coming in. Cinema mode put out 2637 lumens and colors in this setting really do shine.
We also had sRGB measuring in at 2308 lumens. There’s also a Blackboard mode (although few will need it.) Blackboard completes our tour color mode measurements with 1795 lumens with the projector on Normal (full power) mode. Within each color mode, you can customize your contrast, brightness, etc… So just be aware of this if you make any adjustments.