Even more bizarrely, we couldn’t get our TW450 review sample to show a picture from the HDMI output of our Xbox 360 Elite. Hence our use of the PS3 controller mentioned earlier
Epson is convinced there are no problems with Xbox consoles and the TW450 normally, so we’ll have to just put our problems down to a technical issue with our review sample.
Anyway, with PS3 games our experience pretty much tallied with our film experience, with startling brightness, good sharpness and impressively little video noise on the good side but a real lack of contrast – or, at least, black level – and washed out colours on the bad side.
Actually, playing around with our room conditions while playing on the PS3 crystallised a pretty simple but fundamental truth about the TW450. Namely that it actually becomes more appealing the more ambient light you add to your room.
This is obviously completely opposite to normal projector logic, but the TW450 is so fundamentally configured to remain watchable in light conditions that it actually doesn’t really know what to do with itself in darkness.
Which leaves us feeling a touch disappointed. For while we totally understand Epson’s point in catering so strongly for casual, even daytime use with a projector like the TW450, we can’t help but think that a company as clever with projectors as Epson could have provided a bit more flexibility in the TW450’s settings to help it adapt to dark viewing conditions more successfully.
Our gaming experience also found the TW450 suffering with a couple of minor issues that are actually wholly understandable for its money. First, curved edges tend to look a bit jagged. And second, the projector does, predictably, run slightly noisily, especially in its Normal light output mode. But this probably won’t bother anyone much in the casual sort of circumstances the TW450 is likely to be used in. Especially if you’re using the onboard speaker, and thus drowning out the cooling fans.
There’s a rather good excuse for the heavy duty cooling mechanism too, in that it allows the projector to immediately fully shut down when you turn it off. There’s no protracted post-powerdown cooling fan activity to have to wait for before you can unplug the TW450.
If you’re more interested in enjoying live sports events and video games in a social environment – hello, Wii lover! – then the TW450’s reasonable price and ability to be used in fairly bright conditions make it worth a look.
However, if you’re a more serious AV user, who likes nothing more than dimming the lights and getting lost in a film or immersed in a game, then the Epson’s one-track mind and resulting lack of contrast and colour intensity will leave you cold.