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Epson EH-TW3600 review

John Archer

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Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price £1,311.76

Sorry high quality projection fans, but the TW3600 we’re looking at today is not one of Epson’s new ‘Reflective LCD’ projectors. These projectors, which impressed us so much at the IFA show earlier this year, now look like they’re going to be delayed until the new year.

So in the mean time, we thought we’d run our eye over one of Epson’s new standard LCD projector models: the distinctly affordable EH-TW3600. Especially as this new model has a couple of seriously eye-catching numbers on its spec sheet.

Most striking of all is an extremely high brightness output of 2,000 Lumens. This figure immediately raises both expectations and concerns about the projector’s likely performance potential. On the plus side, it raises the possibility of being able to watch its pictures in at least a little ambient light - something that will likely make it a hit with casual users after an occasional projector for watching the odd movie or sporting event. On the down side, we have to wonder if such an affordable high-brightness projector will be able to deliver much of a contrast performance as well.

Which brings us neatly to the second eye-catching figure on the TW3600’s spec list: a claimed contrast ratio of 50,000:1. These figures always need to be treated with a hefty pinch of salt, of course. But the 50,000:1 number is high enough to at least raise hopes that the TW3600 really will be able to deliver a decent black level response as well as some presumably very punchy bright stuff.

As you would expect with a budget LCD projector, the 50,000:1 contrast figure depends on an auto iris system built into the TW3600’s optics. This is switchable between normal and high speed modes, or it can be deactivated if you’re not comfortable with its automatic adjustment of the amount of light emerging from the lens.

More brightness flexibility comes from the option to run the projector’s lamp in Normal or low-power modes, while other picture adjustments are strikingly numerous considering how affordable the TW3600 is. Among the highlights are a series of Kelvin-based colour temperature settings, a gamma adjustment, options to adjust the offset and gain of the red, green and blue colour elements, and a colour management facility allowing you to tweak the hue, saturation and brightness of red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow colour components.

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lifethroughalens

November 26, 2010, 5:31 pm

I looked at getting one of these but decided that it didn't offer much in terms of value when compared to the Optoma HD20 or BenQ W1000+. If you want a 1080 projector for the casual viewer then I recommend the HD20 (which I got recently). I got it new on fleabay for £530 with a 1 year warranty and the bulbs are only £120. When I compared this Epson with the HD20, the price difference seems crazy.





On a side note - After buying this HD projector, I have no idea why anyone would want to buy a huge TV instead. HD Projectors - Awesome!

Keithe6e

November 26, 2010, 7:32 pm

@lifethroughalens: I recommend the HD20





I've got the HD65, it's only 720p, but it's been a great projector for the money, I bought it for about £420 from Dixons about 2.5 years ago.





The only issue with this, and the HD20 is some people just can't cope with the DLP rainbow effect.

lifethroughalens

November 26, 2010, 8:05 pm

@ Keith "The only issue with this, and the HD20 is some people just can't cope with the DLP rainbow effect."





Yes, I did a lot of research into an HD projector (as a tech geek loves doing :) ) and I read a lot of opinion about the rainbow effect. It did concern me as I have a big issue with image quality, call it an occupational compulsion, but in reality I found the HD20 to have very little rainbow effect at all.





I know some eyes are more sensitive to it than others, but to my eyes, I don't even see it as being a point worth raising. I do see the red, green, blue 'rainbows' but only very occasionally when I turn my head quickly to one side and never during normal viewing.





I got a Onkyo HTX-22HDX + SKS-22XB (5.1 system) to go with the HD20 so now I have a 130" 1080p screen with full surround sound and a wall / ceiling mount for a smidgen over £840. TV's are dead to me :)

Keithe6e

November 26, 2010, 9:53 pm

@lifethroughalens: but in reality I found the HD20 to have very little rainbow effect at all.





I agree, while using the HD65 for playing say battlefield bad company 2 I don't appear to notice it at all, the only time I notice is when bright white is placed on dark, eg. During BFBC2 loading there is some text that zooms in and wobbles, here the rainbow effect is very noticeable. A game on my XBox that does make the rainbow effect relevant, is Rez HD, here it's lots of line drawing over dark background, basically all lines have some sort of rainbow effect.





@lifethroughalens: I do see the red, green, blue 'rainbows'





For me I actually see Red/Cyan, I assume the Cyan is my eyes just mixing the Green/Blue. :)





Also worth pointing out, your HD20 is newer than mine, so it may not suffer as bad. Eg. more modern DLP's have faster Colour wheels etc that are meant to lessen the effect.

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