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