First things first: the Epson EH-TW5900 is a big projector. That’s because, unlike its key rivals such as the BenQ W1200 and Optoma HD23 (and, in fact, unlike any sub-£1000 we’ve tested so far), the EH-TW5900 is 3D-ready.
‘Ready’ because, while it’s able to receive and project 3D images, it’s not supplied with any 3D glasses – they’ll set you back £90 or so per pair.
What we’re most interested in here, though, is the way the Epson performs as a £950 projector – and, in short, it performs really well.
Ergonomically, it’s good: on-screen menus are straightforward, though there’s a lot of capacity for tweaking if you so desire, and the chunky remote handset features gratifyingly large, backlit buttons.
It’s quiet in operation, despite the fearsome appearance of its fan-vents, and doesn’t leak light from anywhere but the lens.
Natural, neutral pictures
Given a Blu-ray of Gran Torino to project, the Epson delivers brilliantly natural, neutral pictures.
Its deep, inky blacks may lack give away the finest of details but they make for impressive contrasts, given the spotless white tones the EH-TW5900 is capable of – and it’s able to differentiate explicitly between true white and the sort of ivory off-white of Clint Eastwood’s teeth these days.
The colour palette is beautifully judged, inasmuch as it’s wide-ranging but entirely believable, and detail levels are high.
Skin-tones and –textures particularly benefit here, with every blemish and wrinkle being made explicit.
Even complex patterns – the check design of a shirt, a chain-link fence – are served up with commendable stability, and the Epson retains its martial grip of information like this even during the most testing movement.
Good motion processing
Despite its authority over movement, the Epson seldom betrays how hard its motion-processing is working – so images are stable and, consequently, entirely believable.
The EH-TW5900 can’t compete with its BenQ rival when you consider the W1200’s almost supernatural command of detail, but its less ‘showy’ picture performance arguably makes for a more relaxing viewing experience – and where colour fidelity and contrasts are concerned, it’s the strongest competition for the BenQ we’ve seen so far.
Less impressive with 3D
Unfortunately, it’s when the Epson’s at its most expensive – when you’ve shelled out another £180 for a couple of pairs of 3D specs – that it’s at its least impressive.
The glasses are a bit of a weird shape (they seem to contact your face all along the eyebrow-line) and 3D content undermines the brightness and detail of picture while being as prone to crosstalk as a 3D TV from 2009. But as a £950, 2D machine it’s a considerable achievement.