Epson EH-TW5900 review
With air vents that look like the menacing grille of a sports car, Epson’s EH-TW5900 a good-looking projector. It's also well-equipped thanks to a 1080p resolution, 3D support and plenty of ports for connecting your devices.
Though pictured here the 3D glasses are an optional extra - click to enlarge
Because it uses LCD rather than DLP, the TW5900 draws a little less power, creates less heat and produces richer colours than most DLP models, but there are some downsides too. LCD projectors are almost always larger, and the TW5900 is no different – its sizable footprint may not fit on your bookshelf, instead requiring a wall or ceiling bracket.
Epson has made good use of the large chassis, adding plenty of ports to the back of the unit. As well as two HDMI ports, there are component, composite, S-video and VGA connections, stereo phono jacks for audio input and a USB port that lets you play photo slideshows straight from a flash drive or portable hard disk. Unfortunately there's no support for video files, so you’ll have to use the video inputs for that.
Plenty of ports are provided on the rear - click to enlarge
When we first played our test footage, we were impressed with the vibrant colours and sharp picture – it was difficult to spot any pixilation, but contrast was still lower than the equivalent DLP model, and blacks weren't as black. In darker scenes, some blacks appeared grey, and no amount of tweaking could fix the problem completely.
You won't need to worry about a little ambient light though. Colours still looked vivid with a couple of lights on in the background, which is ideal for a living room where you don’t want to sit in the dark.
When you want the best possible quality, total darkness is essential. Here, you’ll be able to change settings thanks to the backlit remote control. It replicates all the buttons found on the projector itself, including colour mode, source selection and digital keystone. A physical slider on the main unit allows you to adjust horizontal keystone without any of the quality loss that comes with digital keystone, but it’s very coarse and imprecise. It’s a shame that Epson has removed the horizontal and vertical lens shift of the Epson EH-TW3200 which we reviewed last year. This was the same price as the TW5900, but has now dropped to just £875.
One of the TW5900’s advantages is 3D support, but you’ll have to buy Epson’s active shutter glasses (£100 per pair from www.projectorshop24.co.uk) as none are included. We were impressed with the lack of flicker from the glasses, as well as the immersive depth effects – it’s a shame that the picture appears so much dimmer, as it means you can only enjoy 3D films fully in total darkness.
The EH-TW5900 is a superb LCD projector – image quality is excellent and there are plenty of inputs. However, it’s not nearly as flexible as the older TW3200 when it comes to installation – the new model has a 1.6x compared to older version’s 2.1x. If you can’t place a projector in your room at the right height to avoid vertical keystone correction, the EH-TW3200 is a better choice, but if you want 3D support and a slightly brighter lamp, the TW5900 is still a fantastic purchase.
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