What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Wed, 1 Jul 2009, 9:00am

Epson EH-TW3800

Tested at £2000
80100
4

An easy set-up and good specification is backed-up by a very watchable picture

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For

  • Simple to set-up
  • Full HD resolution
  • rich, vivid colours, decent detail and clean presentation

Against

  • Black levels can lack solidity
  • struggles at times with fast motion

Now, this is one projector that gets off to a winning start. This Epson is easier than a particularly easy Sunday morning when it comes to getting it firing an image exactly where you want one.

Adjusting the size and position of the picture is a two-control affair, and in seconds we're up and running. Top marks, too, for the solid, smart and neatly laid-out remote control, complete with comfy buttons.

Heaving the comparatively large box out of its box proved more of a job, in fact, though the EH-TW3800 presents its relative size well. Still, there's plenty of room for the necessary technical engineering inside the shell.

It's a Full HD, 1080p 3LCD projector, complete with two HDMI 1.3a inputs. Epson claims a contrast ratio of 18,000:1 and offers a familiar array of picture processing technologies.

Setting up the picture, we opt for the 'HD' colour mode, which seems not only apt for the Blu-ray we're about to watch, but also the best balance from the myriad choices.

We spin the BD of Valkyrie, and enjoy the silence as we wait; this projector runs at 22dB - nice and quiet, consistent with the claimed level of other models in this test.

Easy set up and a sharp presentation
One of the first things we notice when watching this disc is that this projector isn't quite as solid with black levels as some rivals, with dark scenes sloping off the corners of the screen a touch.

Motion can cause this Epson a little trouble – a common problem with projectors – and it loses focus control on object edges from time to time.

We switch to Slumdog Millionaire and it's a clean, sharp presentation, with this projector enjoying embodying the full-bodied, vivid colour palette with the necessary vitality.

If anything the 'TW3800 can occasionally be a little ruddy and lacking subtlety where skin tones are concerned, but by and large this projector has a solid, bold delivery.

Detail recovery is again good, but not quite up to the standard of the very best in class – close-up facial shots and expansive backgrounds alike show it not quite capable of absolute insight.

But, overall, this is more good news for potential projector buyers.

Not only does this Epson help to further dispel any myths surrounding complicated projector set-up procedures, but it delivers a pretty fine picture to boot.

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