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Epson CO-FH02 review: Big screen streaming on a budget

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £470
inc VAT

Connectivity is limited and sound is weak, but this is an elegant way to get your favourite streaming services up there on a bigger screen.


  • Vibrant, bright images
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Streaming stick that’s actually worth using


  • Sound lacks power
  • Limited features and connectivity

Budget 1080p projectors like the Epson CO-FH02 aren’t a new phenomenon but while this one doesn’t excel when it comes to style or features, it does deliver the next best thing: great image quality at an exceedingly reasonable price.

It’s easy to set-up and easy to use, too, with a bundled Android TV stick that’s actually worth installing, and picture quality is great for the money. Gamers and serious home cinema enthusiasts will have reasons to quibble, but if you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to give your favourite streaming services the big screen treatment, then the Epson CO-FH02 is one of the best options out there.

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Epson CO-FH02 review: What do you get for the money?

This is an LCD projector and it uses Epson’s 3LCD technology to project a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution image on your wall or screen. It has a 3,000-lumen output lamp as its light source and, with a 1.19: 1.61:1 throw ratio, it’s capable of putting out a 60in picture from 1.58m away or a maximum 391in image from 10.4m. At that distance, however, you’re probably pushing it in terms of getting a bright enough picture.

It doesn’t support HDR or any fancy viewing modes nor does it have any specific gaming features. In fact, it has just a single HDMI input, hidden away in a concealed compartment on the left-hand side. This is where you plug in the bundled Epson Android TV streaming stick.

The latter is designed to be crammed inside this compartment, connecting to the HDMI port and a USB port (for power) via the two cables provided. It’s a challenge to get the cables into place and get the stick into position so the compartment can be closed but at least you only have to do it once.

With the stick in place, this is a compact, elegant projector that won’t look out of place on the average coffee table, where an extending foot at the front can keep it propped up at the right angle. The software also supports upside-down ceiling mounting, although the projector doesn’t have any physical mounting points on the base. Noise levels reach around 36dB to 37dB in standard mode, and while you can cut that to a 30dB hum in eco mode, that means losing some colour and brightness.

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Epson CO-FH02 review: What does it do well?

Once you have it up and running, it’s relatively easy to get a good picture with the Epson CO-FH02. There’s automatic keystone correction on both the horizontal and vertical axis, compensating for any height difference between the projector and the screen and if you’re set up slightly off the centre. With the projector sitting on a coffee table, I had to make some minor manual adjustments and use the focus wheel to get the picture sharp but this only took a couple of minutes to get right.

My big surprise was the streaming stick and software. Even when a projector manufacturer promises Android TV, it often turns out to be some weird homebrew version where half the apps don’t work or are hopelessly out of date.

The Epson C0-FH02’s bundled streaming stick, however, uses the proper Google software, complete with up-to-date apps, access to the Google Play store and support for the Google Assistant. I had Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and Disney+ up and running within 15 minutes and all worked flawlessly, even cloning log-on details from my Google account or the relevant smartphone apps. This, and the software’s excellent usability, make the Epson something of a rarity: a budget projector you don’t have to use a Roku or Fire TV stick with.

There are some good 1080p projectors out there for around £500, including some excellent portable options. However, the Epson C0-FH02 has something that most of them don’t: high brightness levels. Epson’s specification states 3,000 lumens and, with the projector in Cinema mode I measured the maximum brightness reflected from the screen at 50cm at 320cd/m2, which is higher than some projectors I’ve tested costing two or three times as much. The downside, as you might expect with LCD technology, is that black level is rather high, impacting contrast and resulting in a grey-ish quality to black and darker shades.

On balance, however, the C0-FH02’s image quality is up there with the best I’ve seen from a projector at this price point. You don’t get the same level of clarity and definition you would see from a pricier 4K model but the output still looks very crisp, with good levels of detail and natural but vibrant colours.

In tests, I measured 85% of the sRGB colour gamut and 65% of DCI-P3 but watching Wall-E, Star Wars Episode VIII and Only Murders in the Building on Disney+ I was struck by how sharp and cinematic the presentation was. Ditto with Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and The Hateful Eight on Amazon Prime Video. Even as someone who’s been spoiled by 4K OLED TVs and 4K DLP projectors, I found the Epson an easy, likeable watch.

Look up close and you can see a little of pixelation you’d normally associate with a Full HD LCD projector but you have to get as close as a metre away to see that. It’s not something that’s going to bother you at normal viewing distances.

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Epson CO-FH02 review: What could it do better?

The biggest letdown with the Epson CO-FH02 is the onboard sound. It’s not bad in terms of clarity and the tone isn’t painfully tinny but it only just reaches usable volume levels and there’s not much low-end body. To make this worse, there’s no physical audio output. This means that, if you’re using the bundled streaming stick, your only alternative for sound is Bluetooth headphones or a Bluetooth soundbar or speaker. Headphones work and there’s no serious lag or delay, but your experience may vary depending on what you’re trying to pair and how well it syncs.

The CO-FH02 also has no gaming features and while playing Borderlands 2 and Gotham Knights through a connected gaming laptop didn’t throw up any noticeable issues, anyone serious about their games will probably want something with more contrast in dark areas and a specific low-latency mode.

Finally, this is a projector that works best as a single source device, with that source preferably being Epson’s own streaming stick. You only have the one HDMI input, itself concealed most of the time, and there’s no way to switch sources without unplugging what you already have plugged in.

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Epson CO-FH02 review: Should you buy one?

This isn’t the right projector for everyone. It isn’t a great choice for gamers or serious home cinema enthusiasts, even those with limited funds and its lack of connectivity is a real limitation. Yet as a projector for streaming from your favourite services, there’s a lot to like.

It looks good, it’s neat, it’s easy to set-up and picture quality, while far from perfect, is still better than you’ll get from most projectors for this kind of money. It’s a good, practical budget buy.

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