However, there’s also a bit of bad news. For instance, the level of optical zoom the projector supports is only 1.2x, which could make fitting the image onto a proper screen (rather than just a white wall) tricky for some people. As a ballpark guide, this means that you could enjoy a 60in image from between 1.9m-2.3m – hardly the biggest throw distance range we’ve come across.
The claimed running noise of 28dB is a touch louder than we’d like too, with the most disturbing discovery being the lack – so far as I could see, anyway – of any claimed contrast ratio. While it’s possible this could simply be an oversight on Epson’s part, it’s hard to resist the thought that this figure isn’t included because Epson doesn’t think it’s particularly attractive…
Heading into the TW420’s neat onscreen menus reveals one or two promising features. Particularly noteworthy is the long list of themed video presets, including Theater, living room and game options.
There’s also a surprising degree of colour management, which enables you to adjust the red, green and blue elements of the picture individually, and the inevitable (given that this is an LCD projector) ‘Auto Iris’ option whereby the projector can continually adjust the amount of light it emits in response to how bright or dark the image content is at any given moment. Without this trick, most LCD projectors struggle to show a convincing black level response – though it can also cause another problem, namely brightness ‘jumps’, if the iris system isn’t subtle or fast enough in what it does.
Other notable options include the facility to expand the HDMI video range (not recommended!), call in a reasonably effective auto keystone adjustment, switch the lamp output between high and low, and change the projector’s volume.
Change the volume? Indeed. For in a bid to make the TW420 more convenient as a portable projector, it ships with a built-in 7W audio output so that you’re not dependent on some sort of external sound system for your audio.
As ever, though, while this seems a great idea on paper, in reality such an arrangement leaves you with the ‘interesting’ situation of having the audio for your big old pictures being joined by a small soundstage emanating from a position potentially metres away from the pictures it’s supposed to be accompanying. Not exactly ideal, I think you’ll agree.