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Projectors Test - 300in Picture! Full HD! 3D And All For Under A Grand! (Part 2) : EPSON EH-TW5910, InFocus IN3118HD

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7/17/2013 11:36:12 AM

EPSON EH-TW5910

Price: $1,350

Rating: 5/5

Epson is a familiar name in the projector world, its $1,500-plus projectors on the receiving end of Awards and glowing five star ratings. The EH-TW5900 got five stars at $1,425 last year, so we’ve got high hopes for its follow up - this 5910.

Things get off to a good start: it’s a well-specified projector that features 3D, Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, built-in speakers, twin HDMI inputs and a backlit remote control handset. It is also the only LCD projector in this test.

The curvy white chassis is built and finished to a substantially higher standard than the rest on test. It’s also a larger and heftier projector than the three other models here. The TV-style remote control is large and solidly built to match. It’s backlit, too.

We’re so impressed with the quality of the picture that we double-check this Epson’s price tag

You’ll need to splash out extra on 3D glasses, but it might be worth it for this fine-value unit

You’ll need to splash out extra on 3D glasses, but it might be worth it for this fine-value unit

A throw ratio of 1.32 – 2.15 gives you a maximum image size of 300in but on the off chance you won’t need such a large image, adjusting the zoom and focus manually is easy, as is getting it centered on to your screen.

With a THX Optimizer disc at hand, it’s worth getting the image tweaked to its very best – switch the color mode to ‘Natural’ to adjust the brightness/ contrast/color settings. We’d also recommend turning off noise reduction, over scan and auto iris, and setting image processing to ‘Fine’ and power consumption to ‘Normal’ for a much smoother performance.

A captivating picture

Spin any Blu-ray disc – we’re going with Star Trek again and the Epson’s clean, crisp picture is immediately captivating. There’s great definition, deep blacks that don’t swallow up subtle detail, and punchy highlights that contrast beautifully. From the shots of the Romulan ship careening through deep space, to the flurry of activity inside the USS Enterprise, the EH-TW5910 delivers a confident performance. The same qualities are consistent when showing DVDs as well – it’s a clear and bright picture that’s great to watch.

Color balance is well judged with skin tones looking natural, and there’s a great deal of subtlety that adds to the depth and insight of the picture. The Epson’s skill at conveying subtle detail is a notch above the rest here. In fact, we’re so impressed with the quality of the picture that we’ve double checked its price tag: $1,350 is great value.

Epson EH-TW5910: The king of the projector world turns to the budget market for its latest offering

Epson EH-TW5910: The king of the projector world turns to the budget market for its latest offering

The built-in 20W speakers, too, deliver a robust and balanced sound – it’s the most comfortable sounding projector on test to listen to on its own.

3D quality isn’t ideal on any of the projectors in this test, but this Epson arguably has the most watchable 3D picture. There’s little flickering involved, and while there’s some motion struggle during fast-moving scenes, on the whole it’s tolerable with a good sense of depth. Epson doesn’t include any active shutter glasses, but a lightweight pair costs $105.

We’re impressed: a projector with a fine picture that is immediately immersive, with decent sound and 3D, too. And all that for just $1,350? A bargain.

Rating: 5/5

For: Immersive picture; subtle details; deep blacks don’t compromise on detail and whites have sufficient punch; acceptable 3D

Against: 3D glasses not included

Verdict: Brilliant picture quality belies that price – a confident, highly desirable projector

Epson EH-TW5910 specs

·         Resolution: 1920 x 1080

·         Type: LCD

·         3D: Yes – active

·         Rated fan noise: 27dB

·         Throw ratio: 1.32-2.15

·         Max image size: 300in

·         Rated brightness: 2100 lumens

·         HMDI in: 2

·         PC in: 1

·         Audio in: 1

·         Dimensions (H x W x D): 14 x 42 x 36cm

InFocus IN3118HD

Price: $1,485

Rating: 4/5

The InFocus IN3118HD is the only projector in this test that is made specifically for use in the classroom or office. The Oregon-based projector brand aims to bring a home cinema standard of high-def. picture to a more professional setting with its Full HD, 1920 x 1080 DLP projectors, priced at $1,485.

We’re usually wary of reviewing business projectors alongside home cinema projectors, as the two tend to have different priorities, the former giving less importance to absolute picture performance.

If this 1920 x 1080 HD unit is the new standard of quality for classroom projectors, we’ll pay more attention in class

It might have been designed for learning applications, but this InFocus is a real treat

It might have been designed for learning applications, but this InFocus is a real treat

The IN3118HD bucks that trend, and InFocus delivers on its promise: this projector looks great. If this is the new standard of quality for classroom projectors, we’ll pay more attention in class. The picture is bright, clear and there’s minimum noise.

There’s no 3D on board – the only instance in this test but the IN3118HD performs well across both Blu-ray and DVD, with no discernible motion issues.

Play Star Trek again, and you’ll find the interior of the USS Enterprise shines brightly, with whites and the trademark lens flares looking sharp and punchy.

Business projectors tend to have high levels of brightness to ensure images can be seen in a lit room, and the IN31118HD follows that trend with an impressively rated 3600 lumens – the brightest in this test. In fact, we’d tone it down just a touch to prevent any unnecessary bursts of glare.

Black levels are respectable, but not as deep as we’d like; there’s hints of detail in shadows, but not as subtle or layered as with the Epson EH-TW5910.

As with all the projectors in this test, the IN3118HD has built-in speakers, but a 5W output is thin and unremarkable compared with the 10W and 20W on offer from rivals. We had to boost the treble and bass levels to make it sound more substantial and clear.

Easy set-up

The projector is fairly uncomplicated to set up. A THX Optimizer disc is your friend here: the aspect ratio test is a great way of centering the image on your projector screen or wall. After mere minutes we were set to go and explore the image settings (which aren’t as comprehensive as rivals’, with contrast and brightness adjustments too crude to offer much scope for fine-tuning.) One thing we’d note is that, as with all these projectors, it’s well worth taking time to run through the various menu options. Tweaking parameters like gamma can make a big difference.

InFocus IN3118HD: Can a business projector deliver a true 1080p home cinema experience?

InFocus IN3118HD: Can a business projector deliver a true 1080p home cinema experience?

There’s ample connection, both for laptops (VGA connections) and AV equipment (two HDMI inputs), along with an RJ45 Ethernet port for update alerts over the network. A small, backlit remote is included – always convenient when watching films in a dark room.

We’re pleasantly surprised and impressed with the IN3118HD. Don’t let that ‘office’ label deter you: this is a talented projector that stands confidently alongside its class rivals.

Rating: 4/5

For: Clear and bright image; smooth motion; enjoyable viewing experience; backlit remote

Against: No 3D; lacks the detail definition and black levels of the class leader

Verdict: Despite a few niggles, the IN3118HD is a bright and capable projector

InFocus IN3118HD specs

·         Resolution: 1920 x 1080

·         Type: DLP

·         3D: No

·         Rated fan noise: 35dB

·         Throw ratio: 1.6-1.92

·         Max image size: 247in

·         Rated brightness: 3600 lumens

·         HMDI in: 2

·         PC in: 1

·         Audio in: 2

·         Dimensions (H x W x D): 10 x 33 x 25cm

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