Review Price £2,899.99
Epson EH-TW9100W - Performance and Conclusion
The TW9100W’s 2D pictures look slightly brighter than those of the TW9000W too, though this is probably thanks to the improved contrast rather than any real leap in the amount of light leaving the projector.
Next on the TW9100W’s hit list is both the amount of detail evident when watching HD pictures, and the surprisingly engaging quality of its upscaling performance on those (thankfully increasingly rare) unfortunate occasions where you have no choice but to watch standard definition.
This sharpness does drop off a bit, it must be said, when there’s a lot of motion in the picture. But you can reduce this motion resolution issue reasonably (though not immaculately) satisfactorily via the Motion processing mentioned earlier. Don’t use this on anything higher than its lowest power setting, though, or else you can start to see some flickering artefacts, and may find the degree of fluidity being added to the picture stopping it from looking ‘cinematic’.
It suddenly occurs to us that we haven’t yet mentioned Epson’s WirelessHD system here. Which is actually a good thing, for it means that we’ve been happily testing various sources without even remembering that we’re watching them via ‘the ether’ rather than a normal cabled connection.
Switching to a cable connection confirmed that there really isn’t any clue in the appearance of the WirelessHD pictures to show that you’re watching them rather than wired options.
Furthermore, we suffered no dropped connections at all - even momentary ones - in more than four days of constant use, and also suffered less ‘handshake’ issues between the projector and the Wireless HD transmitter than we did with the TW9000.
The only early problem we came across with the WirelessHD system, in fact, was that it didn’t seem to like outputs from our Onkyo SR508 receiver, simply failing to sync with them at all. We didn’t have other receivers we could try the WirelessHD system with, but this is certainly something to be concerned about if your system routinely routes your source video through an AV receiver.
A further issue with the WirelessHD system materialised towards the end of our tests, which we’ll go into in a moment...
Now we’ve kicked into a more negative gear, we’d also say that if a source, even an HD one, is inherently noisy, it can look slightly processed on the TW9100W, even with the majority of the projector’s processing turned off. Just as well, then, that precious few of our favourite HD sources contain much source noise.
Also, even with the Correct LCD Align mode in play, we sometimes still spotted marginal reddish colour errors around bright lines and text. This won’t be spottable during 99% of your viewing time (unless you watch a lot of text-based PC applications for some reason), but it still rankles a bit that even when you can’t blatantly see the bleeding, it might be slightly effecting colour reproduction.
The single biggest flaw with the TW9100W, though, is the amount of input lag it suffers with. We measured between 100 and 130ms, even with the Correct LCD Align system switched off. And switching between the Fast and Fine processing settings didn’t seem to make any significant difference.
This isn’t a big deal if you’re a film fan only, but if like us you take big-screen gaming seriously too, 100-130ms of lag won’t do your performance any favours with ‘twitch’ games like Call of Duty.
WirelessHD input lag
We did find one way of improving the problem, though: taking the WirelessHD system out of the equation. Our measurements showed input lag dropping to around 65ms when using a normal HDMI connection instead - enough of a difference to make a few kills worth of difference in a typical online game.
The last element of the TW9100W’s performance to cover is its running noise. Happily it runs almost completely silently if you’re using its Eco lamp mode, and even if you opt for the normal lamp mode - which isn’t really necessary unless you’re watching 3D or have a bit of ambient light in your room - it isn’t at all overpowering with its noise. This is a testament to the projector’s build quality considering how much brightness it’s capable pumping out.
The TW9100W is in most ways an excellent projector for its price level. It outguns its closest market rival with 3D, and is hugely watchable and dynamic with 2D too. There are massive practical benefits to its WirelessHD system as well, in the way it gives the TW9100W more HDMI connectivity than any other projector on the market while also doing away with the normal cost and hassle of cabled projector installations.
There are, it must be said, more convergence issues in the projector’s ‘native’ state than we’d ideally have liked to see, but Epson has provided the tools to greatly reduce this problem without causing what we’d consider significant negative side effects. So we’d consider the TW9100W a ‘9’ product for film fans looking for sub-£3k projection thrills.
For gamers, though, it’s more of an 8 or even a 7 out of 10 on account of its input lag when you’re using the WirelessHD system. A lag figure in excess of 100ms just isn’t going to make gaming as much fun as it should be, and though you can reduce the lag to a much more tolerable 60-odd ms by taking out the WirelessHD system, if you’re going to do that then you might as well save £300 by getting the TW9100 instead.
Scores In Detail
- 2D Image Quality
- 3D Image Quality