The TW4400 is to be congratulated, too, on its colours. For it delivers a rich, vibrant, expressive yet also subtle palette that seems every bit as eloquent as anything you might see from a similarly priced DLP projector. Unlike some aspects of the TW4400’s picture setup, moreover, I found its colours – even tricky skin tones – to be pretty believable and subtly blended using some of the out-of-the-box presets.
The only exception, perhaps, is a slight tendency to render whites and creams with a little more red-tinged warmth than I like – something I was able to correct to my satisfaction, however, via the various colour management tools.
More good news concerns the TW4400’s contrast range, which is remarkable for a non-megabucks LCD projector. Peak whites can look crisp and pure, while deep blacks appear with surprisingly little grey colouration, enabling dark scenes to look pleasingly dynamic even if you’ve got the auto iris engaged.
I’d say the recently reviewed, similarly priced Vivitek H5080 looks even more dynamic during dark scenes. But the TW4400 handles motion slightly better, and its LCD nature means it’s immune to DLP’s rainbow effect – important if you’re one of those people particularly prone to seeing this DLP colour wheel artefact. In other words, picking between the Epson and Vivitek models is largely a case of horses for courses; a matter of personal preference.
The TW4400 also show’s Epson’s usual flare for sharpness, reproducing HD material with likeable texturing and detailing, but without descending into noise or over-exaggerated edges.
The only time the TW4400’s knack for reproducing detail deserts it a touch is with either really dark or really bright elements, both of which can seem a little crushed and ‘hollow’. As noted earlier, you can reduce this issue via careful tweaking to the point where it only appears very occasionally. But it might provide you with enough of an excuse to step up to the more tolerant TW5500.
So that I can wrap up on the positive note the TW4400 richly deserves, I’m seriously impressed by how quietly the projector runs. In its eco mode, Epson quotes just 22dB of fan noise, and this is entirely borne out by my experience of it in action, as I hardly noticed it was there even when sat quite close to it while running a near-silent film scene.
Perhaps as a side effect of this, the projector runs hotter than most. But hey – that might be just the job if we end up having the sun blotted out this summer by clouds of ash…
Epson has come up trumps once more with the TW4400, providing a more than satisfying alternative to DLP at yet another step-up level of the projector market. That said, initially I have to admit I was slightly inclined against giving it a TrustedReviews Recommended rating on account of its £3,000 launch price, which feels slightly too high.
But now that I’ve found it going for a whole £500 less, my reservations have disappeared, leaving me able to commend it as an impressive and startlingly ambitious LCD alternative to Vivitek’s DLP-based H5080.