Such extreme flexibility is very rare in the sub-£1,000 home cinema projector market, even though it’s this part of the market that needs it most given the increased likelihood that the projector will be positioned in a less than ideally sized/shaped room, and may even end up in a cupboard when not in use.
We referred to the TW3200 as a home cinema projector in the previous paragraph, but should say that this isn’t how Epson sees it. Instead, the TW3200 is positioned within Epson’s projector range as an ‘affordable gaming projector’. But our experience of the projector makes us feel that this is more of a range-separating marketing decision than a suggestion that the TW3200 isn’t more than capable of doing a good job with films as well as games.
The startling flexibility for a projector of the TW3200’s price continues into is onscreen menus. For as well as such decent tools as a Kelvin-based colour adjustments, various gamma presets, a sliding skin tone adjustment and high and low lamp output modes, you even get a healthy slice of colour management, in the form of gain and offset adjustments for the RGB colour elements, and hue, saturation and brightness adjustments for the RGBCMY colour elements.
While we’d always recommend that you not be afraid to dabble with these sorts of tools, even if it’s only in conjunction with a calibration aid as straightforward as the Digital Video Essentials HD Basics Blu-ray, in the TW3200’s case it’s nice to find that its Cinema preset is actually pretty good for watching films right out of the box.
The most important things about this mode are that it kicks the lamp output down to its low Eco level (which helps deliver the best black level response as well as enabling the projector to run almost silently) and turns off the Auto Iris so that you’re not distracted by artificial brightness ‘jumps’ during sharp light level shifts in whatever film you’re watching.
The auto iris is actually startlingly good for such a cheap projector, especially using its high-speed mode. But we personally still chose not to use it, and would recommend that those of you with fairly ‘purist’ tastes leave it turned off.
Given that Epson positions the TW3200 as a gaming projector, it’s surprising that the list of video presets it carries doesn’t include a Game mode. But our experiments suggest that the Natural or, at a push, Dynamic presets work best – very well, in fact – for bright, colourful games like ”Test Drive Unlimited 2”, while you might prefer to head back to the Cinema mode for dark, moody games like ”Dead Space 2”. Just bear in mind, though, that with the lamp cranked up from Eco to its ‘Normal’ setting, the projector’s running noise increases considerably.