Epson EH-TW3600 review
Although from the outside the EH-TW3600 looks exactly like its little brother, the EH-TW3200, inside it's a fair bit different with a brighter 2,000 lumens bulb and a higher 50,000:1 contrast ratio.
The brighter bulb certainly seems to make one difference: the projector is quiet, but outputs a stream of very hot air. As such, you probably won't want this model sitting behind you. Fortunately, placement of the EH-TW3600 isn't a problem, as it has horizontal and vertical lens shift to help you quickly align the picture on your screen. Connecting your AV equipment won't be a problem, as this projector has a pair of HDMI ports, along with the usual composite, component, S-video and VGA inputs.
Like the projector itself, the menu interface is more functional than attractive, but everything’s clearly labelled. Image Settings lets you switch colour mode, change your brightness, contrast, colour temperature and make subtle adjustments to improve the accuracy of skin tones. An advanced menu lets you adjust gamma and gives you precise control over RGB and RGBCMY colour settings.
The Signal menu lets you change the aspect ratio and provides access to advanced options that let you set noise reduction levels. A general Settings menu lets you configure the projector's sleep, child and control panel locks and mirror or invert projection to allow for overhead mounting.
Cinema mode and Natural mode are best chosen for when you've turned the lights down in your living room, as they otherwise look a bit subdued. Natural mode produces, as you'd hope, natural colours although some white tones look a bit murky. Cinema mode handles dark scenes well, bringing out all of the shadowy detail. Living Room mode is the best choice for viewing in a lit or partially lit room; colours are somewhat oversaturated and light tones are bright, but not overpowering, producing an intense but generally pleasing image.
The TW3600 didn’t produce particularly intense black tones in our high-contrast test, although the results are certainly acceptable for an LCD projector. Once you've got the lights turned down, it does a great job. Brightly coloured highlights are fairly vivid in all modes, although you may need to tweak the settings to get vibrant results.
The projector did well in our moving image tests, which include footage of still images bouncing around the screen and a rollercoaster zooming by. We saw some blur, but it looked natural and there were none of the smeared motion shadows we’ve seen from other projectors. Our real-world motion test – a football match – looked even better, with beautiful clarity a perfectly smooth reproduction of the ball and players’ movements, with barely a trace of blur.
Although the menus are ugly and black tones could be darker, the TW3600 is an excellent projector, and one that’s bright enough to work well in a well-lit room, to boot. However, it’s not a sufficient improvement over its cheaper sibling, the Best Buy winning Epson EH-TW3200, to be worth the extra money.
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