Epson EH-TW3200 £829
9th Jul 2012 | 08:30
An LCD projector amongst a sea of DLPs
LCD is for data, DLP for movies. It's that simple. At least it used to be. The EH-TW3200 entry-level 1080p projector from Epson has a few multimedia chops that are unrecognisable from LCD projectors of just a few years ago.
The most immediate and obvious upgrade involves colour rendering. Boot the Epson EH-TW3200 into the Windows desktop and you'll be treated to rich, vivid and decidedly unwonky colours. That's significant, because it wasn't that long ago that you could pick an LCD projector in picoseconds purely on the basis of its slightly sludgy colours.
Spool up a movie and the TW3200 keeps delivering the goods, too. Outright black levels are decent by any metric and there's plenty of contrast between bright and dark objects. Our bright-scene 1080p test clip looks simply spectacular.
At 1,800 lumens, the TW3200 is plenty bright enough, too, even if there are brighter units on test. Epson has also seen fit to give it decent optics that maintain focus when you adjust the image size.
Likewise, the 1.34 to 2.87:1 throw ratio means you can generate a reasonably large image even in a smallish room. Situated 2.25 metres from the wall, you're looking at a maximum image diagonal of 195cm, roughly equivalent to a 75-inch TV.
The TW3200, then, is a great projector in isolation. Where it begins to fall down is in relative terms. Its in-house sibling, the Epson EH-TW5900, has it licked by just about every measure, from black levels to chassis styling and features.
More of a problem is the fact that, as good as it is, the DLP models are even better when it comes to contrast and colours. They're just that little bit more vivid, cinematic and natural looking.
Of course, the problem with DLPs is that all of them suffer from the rainbow effect to a greater or lesser degree. So the TW3200's raison d'etre is two-fold. If you're an acute rainbow effect sufferer, the existence of the TW3200 means you won't be missing out on much. And if you can't stretch to the extra £100 or so required for the TW5900, it's a no-brainer.