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Epson EH-TW490 review

Tom Morgan
24 Dec 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
545
inc VAT

Inexpensive and compact enough to place anywhere

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Specifications

1,280x800 resolution, 3,000 ANSI lumens, 77x297x234mm, 2.4kg

If you don’t have the space in which to install a projector permanently then it might not be practical to invest in a full-on home cinema projector, but Epson’s diminutive EH-TW490 could be a happy compromise. The EH-TW490 is small and quiet, and uses LCD projection to prevent the unwanted rainbow effect we often experience with entry-level DLP models.

Epson EH-TW490

Measuring 297‎x234mm, the EH-TW490 has a very small footprint and should sit comfortably on a coffee table or even a book shelf. It has a front-facing exhaust, so you don’t have to worry about heat if you’ve squeezed it between some books or DVDs. Unfortunately, the single integrated speaker outputs sound to the rear, so audio could become muffled if you place it this way.

Naturally, Epson has had to make some sacrifices to make a three LCD projector for £550. The EH-TW490 outputs 720p rather than Full HD resolution video, and the contrast ratio is a relatively small 12,000:1, although you’ll be surprised how little difference it makes – particularly if you’ll primarily be playing games or watching HD television broadcasts.

Epson EH-TW490

A manual lens controls and a lack of lens shift are inevitable at this price, too. Zoom and focus dials, along with a horizontal keystone slider, can be found on the projector, and you can also adjust vertical keystone with the remote control. However, you should avoid using Keystone if possible because it degrades picture quality compared to using the projector face-on.

There are plenty of buttons on the main unit, including keystone, source selection, volume, menu and power controls, but the compact remote control has everything necessary to adjust the image. The only thing missing is a backlight, which can make it a little tricky to make changes in the dark until you learn the layout.

Epson EH-TW490

All the inputs can be found at the back of the projector, and include a single HDMI, VGA, composite and S-Video inputs, and stereo RCA audio outputs. There are also USB A and USB B inputs.

In everyday use, the EH-TW490 was reasonably quiet, but we could still hear the internal fan over the sound of its integrated speaker. If you’re using a louder external speaker system, the fan noise shouldn’t prove irritating. The speaker itself is basic, being barely loud enough for a small room, and produces very little bass. The speaker isn’t suited to films or games, but isn’t too bad for TV.

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