Ep­son EH-TW650

FOR Crisp and clear pic­ture; bright­ness; rich, re­al­is­tic colours AGAINST Slight image sta­bil­ity is­sue with SD ma­te­rial

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

Though 4K home cin­ema projectors no longer ex­clu­sively carry eye-wa­ter­ing price tags – you can pick one up for around £1000 – it will be some time be­fore they trickle down to the £500 mark cur­rently oc­cu­pied by bud­get Full HD projectors such as the Ep­son EH-TW650.

But tech­no­log­i­cal pro­gres­sion, such as that from Full HD to 4K, puts ex­tra pres­sure on ‘last-gen­er­a­tion’ kit to de­liver even more for less. Which is ex­actly what this mod­est, yet ac­com­plished, Ep­son does.

Bud­get bel­ter

Apart from its 1080p res­o­lu­tion, noth­ing about this Ep­son is sec­ond-rate. For any­one look­ing for a dis­play ca­pa­ble of up to 300 inches on a bud­get, the EH-TW650 is an easy pro­jec­tor to en­dorse.

Its 3100-lu­men bright­ness and claimed 15,000:1 con­trast ra­tio mean this pro­jec­tor is ca­pa­ble of beam­ing im­ages that are bright enough to be clearly seen in a day-lit room. It dis­plays im­ages with rea­son­ably good con­trast, bright whites and dark blacks.

The claimed 11-year life­span of the Ep­son’s lamp is based on an av­er­age daily use of 1hr 45mins (in Eco mode). You can also use the built-in wi-fi to beam me­dia from a smart­phone via the ipro­jec­tion app.

The only no­table spec­i­fi­ca­tion miss­ing from the EH-TW650’S spec sheet is 3D sup­port, which its si­b­ling, the EH-TW5650, de­liv­ers for £750.

Weigh­ing 2.7kg, the Ep­son’s mod­estly sized white chas­sis is largely frills-free but, im­por­tantly, it feels well made and up to the task of last­ing 11 years on your shelf.

Two HDMI in­puts, and VGA, com­po­nent and USB con­nec­tions pro­vide the means of con­nect­ing a source, and a re­mote con­trol is in­cluded, mak­ing it easy to browse set­tings – a prac­ti­cal­ity we’d urge you to do.

Find the right Cin­ema

From the ‘colour mode’ op­tions of Cin­ema, Bright Cin­ema and Dy­namic, we pre­fer the for­mer’s rich-yet-re­al­is­tic pal­ette, although we imag­ine some will favour the punchier tones of­fered by Bright Cin­ema, which cer­tainly suits lighter en­vi­ron­ments.

Blue Planet II is as much an ad­vert for the world’s stun­ning coast­lines as it is for the Ep­son’s fine sharp­ness and faith­ful colour re­pro­duc­tion and, via the Full HD Blu-ray, the EH-TW650 captures the splen­dour of the pro­duc­tion. Seals glis­ten in the sea and there’s lots of de­tail in the star­tling close-up frames. There's also a good level of sta­bil­ity in the cam­er­a­work as land­scapes are panned and schools of fish dart­ing from preda­tors are tracked.

Those with DVD col­lec­tions will ben­e­fit from the Ep­son’s de­cent up­scal­ing – it main­tains clar­ity, colour rich­ness and depth to de­cent lev­els – although we no­tice some noise creep­ing into its 720 x 480 de­liv­ery.

It’s ac­cept­able for the most part but, even af­ter play­ing with the set­tings, we still can’t iron out the slight in­sta­bil­ity of the sub­ti­tles of French hor­ror film Raw – which slightly hin­ders our en­joy­ment. In most cases, the mi­nor in­sta­bil­ity won’t be an is­sue, but it’s some­thing to be aware of.

That mi­nor in­sta­bil­ity is­sue aside, this Ep­son is pretty fault­less for its price tag. So if you’re ready to make the switch from a TV screen to an en­try-level pro­jec­tor, and want a com­pe­tent bar­gain to play Full HD and SD ma­te­rial while you save up for a much pricier 4K model, the Ep­son EH-TW650 would make a fine choice.

Few projectors ful­fill their brief as well as the EH-TW650

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