Ep­son EH-LS100

FOR Ul­tra-short throw; laser pro­jec­tion; good im­age AGAINST Not the most sub­tle pic­ture; fan is noisy

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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.

On-board sound

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

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