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Epson EH-TW3500 review

Kat Orphanides
27 Jan 2010
Epson EH-TW3500 projector
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,300
inc VAT

This is a great LCD projector at a very reasonable price

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Specifications

1,920x1,080 resolution, 1,800 ANSI lumens, 145x450x390mm, 7.3kg

Epson's £1,300 EH-TW3500 is cheap compared to most other LCD projectors, apart from its sister EH-TW2900, which has a lower contrast ratio. Like most LCD projectors, it's quite large, so positioning it can be a challenge. Fortunately, the TW3500 has a movable lens, with vertical and horizontal lens shift wheels to control it.

The lens can move up to 47 per cent off its horizontal position and 96 per cent off its vertical position in either direction. This means that you have a lot more flexibility over where you can put the projector without having to risk the visual distortion that can result from keystone correction.

Adjustment can be fiddly, as the manual lens shift, 2.2x optical zoom and focus controls all affect each other. The lens tended to drop towards its lowest position when we adjusted the other settings. However, once it's set up, it's unlikely that you'll want to move or adjust the projector to any great extent. There are plenty of inputs, with two HDMI ports as well as component, composite, S-Video and VGA.

The projector has numerous pre-set colour modes, but there's little to choose between most of them - we preferred Natural mode for viewing in a dark room and the Dynamic mode, which adjusts the lens's iris to boost contrast ratios, for viewing under normal lighting. Colour reproduction was good across the board, with natural tones and shading that complemented our test videos. We were particularly impressed by the delicate gradation and distinct colouring on green shades and skin tones. Most of the presets had slightly over-saturated red tones, but this was easy to correct in the RGB controls. We noticed a fair bit of motion blur in our moving image response test, but this wasn't enough to affect our enjoyment of a high definition football match.

Although some LCD projectors have problems with contrast and dark tone reproduction, we were pleased to find that this wasn't the case here. Although the depth of the black areas in our high-contrast test footage wasn't as good as that of high-end LCD or DLP projectors in side-by-side tests, dark tones were nonetheless sufficiently rich and well-defined to produce an excellent viewing experience. The projector is almost silent in Natural mode. Higher brightness settings produce a bit more fan noise but it was never loud enough to be very noticeable unless we sat right next to it.

The remote control is simple but effective. As well as allowing you to switch between input sources, the remote provides quick access to settings like colour mode selection, gamma levels, and hue and saturation controls for each colour. The main menu system isn't quite as elegant, but its sub-menus are clearly labelled and divided. Image covers colour controls like temperature, tint and sharpness, while Signal allows you to switch aspect ratios and apply noise reduction.

Unlike most projectors, which have just two or three user-defined colour and image settings, the TW3500 has a separate memory menu, where you can save all your current settings in one of 10 slots. Running costs are reasonable with a full-brightness lamp costing 8p per hour to run, and 7p per hour in economy.

Epson's EH-TW3500 is a good projector, and is very reasonably priced for LCD. However, it's not that much better than its cheaper sibling, and the EH-TW2900 is the better choice.

Details

Price£1,300
Detailswww.epson.co.uk
Rating****

Specifications

Projector technologyLCD
Lamp brightness1,800 ANSI lumens
Lamp life3,000
Lamp life in economy mode4,000
Contrast ratio36,000:1

Picture

Native resolution1,920x1,080
Max compressed resolution1,920x1,080
Aspect ratio16:9
Other aspect ratios4:3
Max diagonal at 7ft62.16in
Throw ratio1.34 - 2.87:1
Optical zoom2.1x
Projection distance0.87m to 19.15m
Mirror imageyes
Invert imageyes
Lens shift horizontal47%
Lens shift vertical96%
HD Readyyes
Special view modesDynamic, living room, natural, theatre, theatre black 1, theatre black 2, x.v.Colour

Inputs/Outputs

VGA inputyes
DVI inputNo
Sound inputsnone
Composite inputyes
S-video inputyes
HDMI inputyes
PAL supportyes
SECAM supportyes
NTSC supportyes
Audio outputnone
Video outputnone
Others inputs/outputssecond HDMI input, RS232, trigger out

Other

Noise (in normal use)28dB(A)
Size145x450x390mm
Weight7.3kg
Internal speakersnone
Extrasremote, cables (power)
Remote special featuresnone
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on209W

Lamp

Lamp cost (inc VAT)£259
Lamp supplierwww.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
Lamp cost per hour of use£0.09
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)£0.06

Buying Information

Price£1,300
Supplierhttp://www.projectorpoint.co.uk
Detailswww.epson.co.uk

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