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Epson EH-TW6150 review: The best budget 4K projector for movies

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 850
Inc VAT

While it hasn’t got the punch of rival 4K projectors, its clarity, colours and in-depth controls make for a serious home cinema contender

Pros

  • Flexible positioning
  • Sharp 4K pictures
  • Impressive colour

Cons

  • Struggles with black and contrast
  • No major gaming features

The market for sub-£1,000 4K projectors has really warmed up over the past few years, driven by affordable DLP models using pixel-shifting techniques to squeeze a 4K image from native 1080p chips. Now Epson is getting in on the action with the Epson EH-TW6150, a three-LCD Pro-UHD projector coming in at just £850.

Pro-UHD is Epson’s own take on pixel shifting, shifting each pixel diagonally by 0.5 pixels at 120Hz to deliver a 60Hz pseudo-3,840 x 2,160 image. Don’t label it faux-K, either. As with most pixel-shifting DLP projectors, the output looks pretty much indistinguishable from the real deal.

Epson EH-TW6150 review: What do you get for the money?

The first thing that hits you on unboxing this projector is that, where some budget 4K projectors have focused on ease of use and streaming or gaming features, the EHTW-6150 feels more like a serious piece of home cinema kit. It’s actually quite flexible about its positioning, thanks to a vertical lens shift, keystone correction control and a 1.6x zoom, and you manage all three and the focus using manual dials and sliders, with the aid of an auto-keystone feature.

In many ways I prefer this approach for making quick adjustments, and the EHTW-6150 feels like a projector for those who are happy to tinker with the settings and options if it means they get a better picture.

As I’ve said, the EH-TW6150 runs a three-LCD Pro-UHD projection system, using a traditional lamp light source capable of outputting up to 2,800 ANSI lumens. It supports 10-bit colour along with HDR10 and HLG but doesn’t support Dolby Vision or come with any specific Filmmaker modes. With a 1.32 to 2.15:1 throw ratio, it can project an 80in image from 2.34m away, and Epson claims it’s good for screen sizes between 40in and 500in, although you’ll lose a lot of brightness and contrast to hit such extreme sizes; 100in to 150in is a more realistic sweet spot.

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Epson claims the lamp will last 4,500 hours or up to 7,500 hours in Eco mode, which is around the same lifespan you’d expect from a similar DLP model. If you don’t want to replace the lamp, you’ll have to look towards more expensive laser projectors to find something with equivalent brightness and a significantly longer working life.

For connecting up your sources, Epson provides one HDMI input on the back plate, with a further HDMI input and a single USB Type-A beneath a pull-off section near the rear-left corner. You could use the extension cables provided to fit a streaming stick in here, although sadly, my Roku 4K Streaming Stick wouldn’t fit as the cable with the Wi-Fi antenna wouldn’t squeeze in. There’s also a 3.5mm audio output for hooking up an external soundbar or speaker system.

Epson EH-TW6150 review: What does it do well?

While the EH-TW6150 takes more setting up than its DLP rivals, the manual controls make it fairly easy to get the best results for your setup in your specific room. In fact, the combination of an extending foot on a ratchet mechanism, keystone controls and vertical shift helps to get a good, distortion-free image even when you can’t have your projector and your screen on the same level. Otherwise, the lack of streaming features and the straightforward menu system makes this a fairly simple projector to operate.

You won’t find any gaming-specific modes here but you will find a choice of Dynamic, Vivid, Natural and Cinema colour modes, along with tunable HDR settings, detailed colour adjustments and a quite fearsome-looking range of expert settings with which to tailor the picture. On most projectors, I find Dynamic or Vivid settings tend to be a recipe for oversaturated colours but here, they actually provide the most vibrant but still natural image, especially when watching 4K Blu-rays or higher-quality 4K streams on Disney+.

As for the picture quality, there are some major pluses but also the odd minus. On the positive side, colour response is mostly very good and 4K material appears sharp and detailed without looking artificial. It handles motion with class, and the fast-paced action sequences in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness looked fantastic. I loaded up Prey via Disney+ on the Amazon Fire TV 4K cube, and the clarity and depth of tone made it a truly cinematic experience. In most respects, the EH-TW6150 is the equal of projectors such as the Optoma UHD38x or the BenQ W1800.

Where it falls down slightly is that its black level isn’t really black enough and this has an impact on contrast in darker scenes. What’s more, there’s not quite enough brightness to give HDR highlights enough impact – they’re noticeable but they don’t add all that much to the picture. The brightness, measured at 50cm from the screen, came through at 238cd/m², which isn’t a bad result at all, but while this is a very good 4K projector, it doesn’t quite have the punch of its DLP rivals.

Having said that, there’s still something really likeable and natural about the presentation, and the depth of the colour settings means that, with a little tinkering, you can make it even better. I’d rather have the Optoma UHD38x or BenQ TK700 for 4K console gaming but I’d take the EH-TW6150 or BenQ W1800 for sitting back and watching movies, even if the Epson doesn’t have the Filmmaker mode or 100% REC709 colour gamut coverage of the BenQ. In fact, the best sRGB coverage we could get was just 79%, while DCI-P3 coverage was lower at 60%. The BenQ does slightly better, with 84% and 66%.

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The biggest advantage of LCD technology for some will be that there’s no rainbow effect. This is where some people catch multicoloured flashes or fringeing, especially around bright or white objects. I’m not particularly sensitive to it but if you are then the EHTW-6150 should be right at the top of your sub-£1,000 projector shortlist.

Epson EH-TW6150 review: What could it do better?

If you’re looking for an all-in-one home cinema system, you probably want to look elsewhere: the Epson has a built-in 10W speaker, but it struggles to make itself heard above the fan at lower volumes, and the sound turns harsh as you push the volume upwards. There’s no Bluetooth output either, although you might be able to use your source. I used Bluetooth headphones connected to the Fire TV Cube.

The EH-TW6150 is a decent projector for big-screen gaming, with no serious lag or colour smearing during my session playing Doom Eternal. However, it doesn’t have the high refresh rate features or game-specific settings of the Optoma and BenQ models – or the same levels of contrast or HDR. If I were buying a projector principally to accompany my PS5, I’d choose one of those instead.

Epson EH-TW6150 review: Should you buy one?

There are some great 4K projectors out there at this price and the Epson EH-TW6150 is a strong addition to the list. Some of its competitors have grown more expensive since we reviewed them and, at £850, the EH-TW6150 comes in at a very attractive price point.

It’s an ideal budget 4K home cinema projector, especially if you spend some time setting it up and plan to leave it permanently in one place. However, if you want the last word in black level response, gaming features and contrast, then the DLP alternatives still come out on top.

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