FOR Ultra-short throw; laser projection; good image AGAINST Not the most subtle picture; fan is noisy
The joy of the ultra-short-throw projector is that you don’t need a large unit permanently stuck on the far side of your room or hanging from your ceiling.
And the advantages of using a laser, rather than a conventional bulb, for your projection needs are notable: a laser lasts up to 10 times as long as a bulb; the colour intensity remains consistent throughout the laser’s life; and you get a very bright picture. Laser-based devices also need comparatively little servicing throughout that 20,000-hour or so lifespan either (no bulb-change required).
So, a unit combining the two desirables of ultra-short throw and laser projection is an enticing prospect – and that’s what the Epson EH LS100 offers. Place this unit just 6cm from a wall and it will provide you with an impressive 70in screen (you’d struggle to find a 70in TV for anywhere near its £2700 asking price.) Pull the LS100 a further 44cm away from the screen, however, and you’ll be basking in a glorious 130in Full HD image.
You’ll note we say Full HD, not 4K. For the very latest in tech, you’ll need to spend an awful lot more on a short-throw projector – although you can get a conventional unit that will fulfil your 4K needs for around that near-three-grand asking price. But, of course, you can’t stick that just a few centimetres from the screen.
The inputs should suffice for almost all needs. They include three HDMIS and USB ports, VGA in and out and composite video. There is also a chunky, functional remote control that seems more suited to an office than a home – but it works well enough.
The EH LS100 is a chunky old unit – 19 x 49 x 44cm and weighing 11kg – so it will need to sit on a stable surface. Set-up is simple and once you’re done there’s a focus slider beneath a flap on the side of the unit to help you acheive a pin-sharp image.
Up against the wall
Distance from the wall determines image size on view – from 70in to 130in – so the furthest away from the wall the unit will need to be is 50cm, and for many rooms it will be much closer than that. We stick a Blu-ray of The Wolverine into a Cambridge Audio Blu-ray player, and are impressed with what we see. The benefits of the brightness of laser projection are clear from the off. With many traditional projectors, we’d barely be able to make out a watchable image with the room lights on, but with the Epson we can comfortably watch a movie with fairly bright ambient light. This, of course, means that the EH LS100 could take the place of a television far more easily than a traditional projector can – there’s no immediate need to close the curtains and dim the lights to watch The One Show, for example. But projectors are at their best with the lights down low – and it’s in this environment that the Epson excels. It’s a nice, crisp image with punchy, bright colours and fine detail. The individual hairs in Logan’s beard in The Wolverine, for example, are clearly distinguishable. The colour palette is impressive, too, with believable skin tones and the reds, oranges and blacks in the movie’s action scenes appearing vibrant but realistic. There’s an impressive lack of picture noise, and the image is remarkably bright. While in many ways that’s a strength, there is a lack of absolute subtlety about the brightest whites and darkest blacks.
The EH LS100 has a 16W speaker built in. While it does a serviceable job, and goes reasonably loud, it inevitably doesn’t match a good soundbar or decent surround system.
Noise is something of an issue. With the picture at its brightest, the fan is potentially intrusive. You can, though, reduce this by choosing a lower-powered picture setting.
The Epson EH LS100 is an extremely competent projector. Among its many strengths are a very bright picture, ultrashort-throw capability and that relatively maintenance-free laser. Your £2700 can buy a better image – and 4K projectors are appearing at around that price – but not with the same convenience. If you don’t want a permanently placed unit, we can’t think of an option that ticks as many boxes as this. For the right buyer, it’s a winner.
The EH-LS100 can create a 70in image from just 6cm away
Input options – on the side of the unit – are plentiful