The TW2900’s motion handling quite impressed me too, as moving objects and camera pans slide by with slightly more clarity and fluidity than you get with either of the budget DLP models I keep referring to. Obviously, you can get better motion still by spending more on a projector, but for £1,100, the TW2900 does really well.
The TW2900 also does a slightly nicer job of upscaling standard definition sources than its DLP rivals, with less noise and a slightly crisper finish.
Oddly, despite having a Full HD resolution, the TW2900 doesn’t extend this flare for sharpness into the HD domain as successfully as I would ideally have liked. I’m not saying HD pictures actually look soft; they don’t. But nor do they look as crisp as they might. Indeed, for my money the BenQ W1000 makes HD look slightly more defined.
The TW2900 also doesn’t deliver the same degree of colour saturation as the DLP models – especially the very vibrant BenQ. The Epson’s slightly more restrained colour palette is arguably more refined, but refinement might not be what everybody at the budget end of the projection market is looking for!
Part of the reason the TW2900 doesn’t produce such dynamic colours as the DLP models is, I suspect, the fact that its black levels aren’t quite as deep. Don’t get me wrong; the TW2900’s black levels are outstanding by the standards of our general experience with cheap LCD projectors, and dark scenes do contain a surprising amount of subtle, depth-giving shadow detail. But there’s definitely a slightly greyer look to dark parts of the picture, which can slightly ‘level out’ shots containing a mix of bright and dark material.
Given that I’ve compared the TW2900 so regularly with the Optoma HD20 and BenQ W1000 budget DLP models, I guess I should conclude by saying that the Epson doesn’t sport built-in speakers.
Clearly, this is utterly irrelevant to anyone wanting a projector for even a slightly serious fixed home cinema system – and it arguably proves where the TW2900’s ambitions truly lie. But it’s another difficulty really casual users might face if they’re thinking of just getting a projector out of a cupboard for occasional special sports events, or they want a projector they can easily take around to other people’s houses.
I somehow contrived to finish the main review on what felt like something of a downer. But this really isn’t a fair reflection of the Epson TW2900 overall. For while it might not have the brassy casual appeal of Optoma and BenQ’s recent mega-cheap DLP models, it certainly does have the setup flexibility (especially the image shifting), features and refinement to appeal to a more serious movie-loving audience. Which is no mean feat with such an affordable model.
Plus, of course, if you’ve been looking at the Optoma and/or BenQ models and found that you’re particularly susceptible to seeing the DLP rainbow effect, the simple artefact-free nature of the TW2900’s pictures will feel like the home projection equivalent of taking a Nurofen.