For the most part, Epson’s latest LCD projector range has fared very well on TrustedReviews. So I have high hopes indeed for the TW4400 too, sitting as it does just one rung from the top of the Japanese brand’s home cinema range (below the outstanding if costly TW5500).
It starts out promisingly, by sporting more or less the same reassuringly large, robust and weighty - if not especially stylish - design as the TW5500, with the only significant difference being that the TW4400 is white where its flagship brother was black.
There are pros and cons to the shift to white; on the upside, it will blend more readily into a typical living room ceiling than the black model. But on the downside it might not blend so fully with the darkness of a dedicated home cinema room. But then I guess this is fair enough given that the near-£1,500 price gap between the two models might well find them headed for quite different final destinations.
The TW4400’s connectivity is as we would expect for its price level, which is to say it hosts two HDMIs, a D-Sub PC port, an RS-232 control port and a single 12V trigger output, among other things. You might feel that a little more multimedia support would have been good; a USB port, perhaps. Especially given the lengths some of Epson’s cheaper models go to in this regard.
But then I guess Epson can argue that the TW4400 is a serious home cinema machine that might well be permanently mounted on the ceiling or built into a cabinet, in which case you wouldn’t be able to use a USB socket easily even if the projector had provided one.
The TW4400’s specifications make for some interesting reading. Particularly eye-catching is its claimed contrast ratio of 130,000:1 - a huge figure even by the eternally optimistic standards of the LCD projector market.
As with the TW5500 - which actually promised a 200,000:1 contrast ratio - the TW4400’s contrast credentials owe much to its innovative ‘dual layer iris’ design. This currently exclusive Epson technology allows the TW4400 and TW5500’s dynamic contrast mode to reduce the amount of light being emitted through their lenses in two separate stages, rather than the usual single ‘jump’ other LCD projectors use. This allows Epson to deliver increased brightness reductions when showing dark scenes - to deliver a more convincing black colour - without suffering the sort of flickering effect seen when lesser LCD projectors try to be too aggressive with their dynamic contrast systems.
The TW4400 also features a PixelWorks scaler and full 10-bit video processing. Which is good. Though I guess I should point out that this falls rather short of the HQV, 12-bit processing sported by the TW5500.
Brightness, meanwhile, is rated at a very respectable 1,600 Lumens; the native resolution is - of course - Full HD; and the LCD ‘engine room’ comprises the much-respected C2Fine inorganic D7 panel design.