Picture quality was good. The ‘chicken wire’ effect that affects some LCD projectors was entirely absent to my eyes. First up was some Xbox 360, with Gears of War, pumped straight in at 720p. Even using the dynamic setting, in the bright daylight it was hard to see the action. Once it got darker however, the quality began to shine though, with the sheer size of the image and the smoothness of the action impressing. Fast motion is something that this projector deals with very well.
As the testing room got darker still we then switched to an HD DVD of King Kong and switched to the Living Room mode, which is best suited for rooms where there is some ambient light. King Kong is a big movie and we were soon drawn into the action, with bags of details visible in the gory dark scenes and the bright green foliage looking remarkably lush. When the room was properly dark we were looking forward to the screen really being able to show what it can do. Superman on HD DVD has dark scenes, fast action and bright colours in abundance and once we found the right colour mode, Natural, the images were very impressive indeed. The image was smooth and detailed, skin tones and the overall tonal balance was natural and accurate - it just looked right. However, though it was overall, easy on the eye colours couldn’t quite muster as much impact as I wanted, and black levels, while good, were again not as subtle or as deep as that of say, the Fujitsu Plasmavision P42XHA58 or of more expensive projectors.
But that’s the crux of the matter. This projector will not set you back much that much more than a grand – and that’s a lot of projector for your money. If that’s your budget the Epson will certainly not disappoint, it’s very good, but I couldn’t help shake the feeling that I still wanted a bit more overall impact and even deeper blacks, which stops it just short of picking up an award. While I don’t think it’s quite good enough for a permanent set-up in a dedicated home cinema, if you’re looking for more casual big screen thrills for movies and games at a sensible price, this is a very strong contender.
For the money the Epson’s delivers an awful lot – offering HD resolution and an HDMI port as well as component. It’s also very easy to set up and delivers smooth, detailed pictures. However, it needs a dark environment to get the best from it and even then colours are touch muted. Still, you’d be hard pressed to find better for the money.