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Epson quotes a running noise of 28dB for the TW450, which while far from the lowest such figure we’ve seen doesn’t seem too bad for such an extremely bright but small projector.
Setting the TW450 up needs to be easy to suit the casual market, and it mostly is. The zoom and focus adjustments on the lens barrel are easy to access and surprisingly sensitive. There’s a simple drop-down leg at the front and two screw down legs at the rear to help you get the picture positioned correctly. The projector carries a built-in 1W speaker so you don’t have to worry about finding an external audio source to accompany your projected images. And there’s +/- 30 keystone correction to get the edges of your image straight if it’s hitting your screen at an angle.
It would obviously have made set up even easier if Epson had included a vertical image shift tool, and provided more optical zoom than 1.2x. And a backlit remote would have been handy too, notwithstanding the ability of the projector’s own extreme light output to illuminate your room! But really it would have been a very pleasant surprise if any of these issues had been addressed by a projector at the TW450’s price level.
One last surprising but welcome bit of news before we check out the TW450’s performance is that it ships with a three-year warranty on both the main unit and the lamp.
The only thing we can really think of to say by way of introduction to the TW450’s pictures is that they are what they are. Which is to say that as per Epson’s marketing, they work surprisingly well for the projector’s money in bright ambient light conditions - but by the same token can’t really satisfy anyone with any serious AV persuasions.
The problem when trying to ‘get serious’ with a film in a darkened room is, as hinted earlier, the projector’s inability to deliver anything approaching a true black colour. The deepest the TW450 can go is a mid to dark grey, which obviously makes the viewing of dark film scenes pretty unsatisfying. Especially as the lack of contrast means shadow detailing is hidden behind the greyness, and colours lack dynamism.
On the upside, the TW450’s picture with HD films is surprisingly sharp and detailed for a projector that doesn’t boast a full HD resolution. The sense of crispness remains intact, too, during camera pans and fast action sequences. Plus, of course, Epson’s preference for LCD over DLP technology means you don’t have to worry about the latter technology’s issues with the rainbow effect or dotting noise in dark areas or over moving objects.
We did detect a curious horizontal line glitch, though, a bit like screen tear in video games, that occasionally flickered up during 1080p/24 Blu-ray viewing, especially, it seemed, when there was a lot of action going on.