Despite coming up against some stiff competition at the £2500-plus level of the projector market, the TW9200 delivers a very strong account of itself – and is certainly much easier to love than its TW9100 predecessor.
The biggest performance leap comes in the key area of contrast. With the eco lamp mode active the projector serves up an outstanding black level performance by LCD standards, and a good black level performance by any projector technology standards. Especially as the impressive depth of its black reproduction does not come at the expense of shadow detail — a fact which makes dark scenes look as realistic, involving and full of depth as bright scenes.
Delivering much improved black levels helps the TW9200 produce a richer, more natural colour palette than last year’s equivalent model, especially as tones retain more richness and subtle blending during dark scenes.
While issues connected to its contrast improvements are the most instantly obvious reasons for us feeling happier about the TW9200 than we did the TW9100, these aren’t the only steps forward. Also significant is how much sharper HD images look on the TW9200. Detail reproduction is excellent, edges are crisp and clean, and colours are rendered with impressively smooth, fine blends that help the picture look more solid and involving.
We were also pleased not to suffer any of the occasional focus slips that have been noticeable on some past Epson projectors.
Further contributing to the image’s sharpness is the TW9200’s motion handling, which delivers even frenetic content like the opening dragon attack in The Hobbit with much less judder than is common at the TW9200’s level of the market. What’s more, the TW9200 is impressively judder-free even if you don’t use the Frame Interpolation system – something that will come as a relief to gamers and cinephiles who hate motion smoothing systems on principle.
There are issues with the TW9200 if you don’t get your settings right, as discussed in the Set Up section. Plus there’s one extra negative point not covered before, namely that if you try to use the dynamic iris, especially on its Normal (rather than fast) setting you’ll sometimes feel quite distracted by shifts in the image’s overall brightness as the dynamic iris goes about its business.
Overall, though, so long as you’re careful with it the TW9200 delivers a superbly watchable, natural picture that crucially seems to show Epson focussing back on 2D with its picture tuning after perhaps thinking a bit too much about 3D with its past couple of projector generations.