It's fair to say that the latest projector from Epson wears its heart very much on its sleeve - or rather, its startlingly low £440 price tag. This makes it the latest in a sudden glut of sub-£500 projectors to cross our test benches in recent weeks.
What's more, unlike some of those other cheapo projectors, the TW420 appears to have been put together with film viewing particularly in mind - or at least that's the impression you get from the Epson website, which openly describes the TW420 as a ‘Home Cinema Projector'.
Rather confusingly the manual supplied with the TW420 refers to it instead as a multimedia projector, but we guess Epson's online marketeers will probably have the most accurate handle on how Epson believes the projector should be perceived. The only worrying thing about the slight ‘multimedia'/home cinema confusion is that multimedia projectors seldom make great home cinema projectors, so given the love of TV and films that drives this section of our website, let's hope the multimedia description on the manual doesn't turn out to be a more accurate description of the TW420's abilities.
First impressions are decent, thanks to the TW420's quaint little design. It's an unusually low-slung affair, chirpily finished in a gloss white and with its corners all rounded off to give it a ‘lifestyle' look well suited to the average UK coffee table.
Its connectivity is reasonably promising too. A single HDMI is on hand for digital video duties, and this is joined by a D-Sub PC input (that also doubles - via a supplied adaptor - as a component video input), a composite video input, an S-Video input, and handy multimedia support in the form of an SD card slot, and two USB ports. Needless to say, I wasted no time in trying the SD card slot out for viewing the photos I've just brought back with me from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. And I was pleased to discover that pictures are handled by a pretty decent slideshow system, complete with the facility to rotate pictures through 90 degrees. More good news finds the TW420 shipping with a carry case, and sporting a three-year warranty for extended peace of mind.
Turning to the TW420's quoted specifications, the good news includes a perfectly decent (for under £500) HD Ready resolution of 1,280 x 720, a slightly longer than usual claimed lamp life of 3,000-4,000 hours, and a remarkably high claimed brightness output of 2,000 ANSI Lumens.