The EMP-700 is delightfully easy to use. It turns on quickly and thanks to a clever lens system you can be flexible about where it’s placed. Two dials let you move the image left and right or up and down quickly so you don’t have to have the projector placed directly in front of the screen. However, the wheel movement wasn’t rock solid, and when moving it sideways the lens would suddenly drop down occasionally, so it took a bit of fiddling to get right. There’s a plastic cover for the lens, which will help keep the dust off when not in use. There’s easy to access keystone correction, but disappointingly I was never able to get a quite perfect oblong image.
The menu system is intuitive, either from the remote or from the button panel on the top of the unit and has some quite detailed settings should you wish to really go in depth. There’s a basic sharpness setting but also an advanced mode with individual High Band, Low Band and Horizontal and Vertical settings – one for custom calibrators only I would think. Inside the menu you’ll also find gamma settings and there’s an Auto-Iris feature, which will automatically adjust brightness based on the content of the scene, opening and closing the lens slightly as it does so.
The main colour settings are perhaps the most crucial and likely to be used. There are seven modes in total, Dynamic, Living Room, Natural, Theatre, Theatre Black 1, Theatre Black 2and sRGB modes. Lamp life is given as 1,700 hours for all but the Theatre Black 1 and 2 modes, where it ups to 3,000 hours. There’s a direct control for these settings on the remote, which is a good thing, as you’ll be spending some time choosing which is the best to use depending on the content. With all the various settings you could easily spending a lot of time adjusting it to suit your room for a while before you can really settle down and start enjoying it. To help ease some of the pain there’s a memory setting so you can select the one you want depending on the content and conditions.
When it was first set-up, it was a bright day and it quickly became clear that if you want to watch in any kind of light, this isn’t the projector for you. Even on the brightest Dynamic setting it just wasn’t bright enough. Once it got darker the projector really started to show what it can do, but while there was pretty much any ambient light only the Dynamic setting was usable, which is a shame as the noise level was noticeable. However, the noise drops significantly in the other lower brightness modes.