Although I've not been very kind to Epson's projectors in reviews on this site, I can't help but admire the brand. For no matter how much of a mauling they get, they stick their chin out and keep coming right back at us again. And no matter how tough things get in what is at the best of times an infamously tough corner of the AV market, they continue to graft on while numerous projection rivals fall by the wayside.
With this in mind, I don't mind admitting right away that it's a genuine pleasure to find myself really enamoured with Epson's new mid-to-high range home cinema projector, the EH-TW3800. The brand's continual hard work has finally paid off in style.
The TW3800 sets its stall out right away with its design. For while its unusually large (for a sub-£2k projector) footprint and angular lines might not make it the world's most stylish bit of kit, its size, 7.3kg weight and supremely sturdy build quality both hint at some impressive innards.
What's more, Epson is happy to register its own confidence in the quality of those innards by providing a three-year manufacturer's guarantee on the TW3800 - a warranty that even extends to the lamp.
It also seems likely right away that Epson has put the TW3800's considerable bulk to good use in reducing operating noise. For a large front-mounted 'exhaust' and rear-mounted air-intake filter suggest that the projector's entire body is being used to help dissipate heat and fan noise - a fact seemingly confirmed by a low claimed 22dB minimum running noise that you'll only hear if you're a big fan of silent movies…
The TW3800's connections are as we'd expect for the £2k level of the market. Which is to say you get two v1.3 HDMI inputs with x.v.Colour capability, alongside a component video input, a composite video input, an S-Video input, a D-Sub PC input, an RS-232C port, and a handy 12V trigger output for driving an automated screen or curtains. Perhaps the most unusual connections touch, though, is the facility to wire the projector to an external power switch.
Before we delve into the TW3800's strikingly expansive features and user options, let's dwell for a moment on some of its key quoted specifications. Its resolution, as we'd expect of a £2,000 LCD projector, is a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Its maximum brightness is a strikingly high 1,800 ANSI Lumens, and its claimed dynamic contrast ratio - for what it's worth - is a thoroughly decent 18,000:1. Which all adds up to a projector with the potential to punch well above its pricing weight.