We’ve kind of inadvertently crept into reviewing aspects of the TW3200’s performance already, so we might as well leave the feature hunting behind now and carry on with the performance stuff. And frankly, the more we study what the TW3200 can do, the more impressed we are.
The main word that keeps coming to mind as we watch the TW3200 with a series of different game and film sources is ‘natural’. Which is actually a word we very seldom find ourselves using in such a general way when talking about a budget projector.
One contributory factor to this naturalism is the complete absence of any aggressive types of noise. For instance, its LCD engine means it doesn’t suffer with the rainbow noise that characterises all DLP projectors at this sort of price level. Nor does the image contain any grain or dot crawl beyond what may be present in a source, and there’s no sign whatsoever of the dreaded ‘screen-door’ crosshatch effect sometimes seen with cheap LCD projectors. Motion looks impressively light on judder too – though don’t worry, we’re not suggesting that the image looks unnaturally fluid. It’s just that judder levels look natural for film viewing, rather than being added to by technical issues in the projector’s optical engine or processing.
Next, colours are excellent for the most part. There’s no sign of posterisation/banding, tones are reasonably rich but generally well balanced, and the overall look of the colour palette is extremely credible.
The TW3200 additionally achieves a strikingly good balance between contrast and brightness. For with the lamp set to Eco, at least, black levels look credibly deep without introducing the crushed, hollow impression often seen in dark areas on budget projectors. Yet the believable black level response can be found in the same frame as reasonably punchy bright picture elements. In other words, there isn’t as much ‘flattening out’ of the dynamic range during mixed brightness content as there usually is with budget projectors.
Contributing further to the startling naturalism of the TW3200’s images is its sharpness. For it seemingly effortlessly reveals plenty of detail in HD sources, without feeling the need to over-sharpen either edges or areas of fine detail.
Inevitably, the TW3200’s images aren’t without their flaws. Black levels, for instance, while great for its price level don’t get close to those of star projectors like the JVC DLA-X3. And while colours are mostly remarkably good for its price level, there are a few tones of red that don’t sit entirely comfortably with the rest of the palette. And…
…and so we could go on with other small issues with the TW3200’s pictures. But you know, we’re not going to. Why? Because this would be totally unfair and actually completely beside the point. After all, all we’d be doing is coming up with reasons why some much more expensive projectors are better than the TW3200, when we’re quite confident that anyone reading this review will have enough brains to already understand that no sub-£1,000 projector is going to be perfect.
All that really matters about the TW3200 is how it stacks up against its sub-£1k peers. And the simple answer to this is that it stacks up very well indeed. In fact, it’s our favourite £1,000 projector yet, and you can’t say fairer than that.