Epson EH-TW5200 projector Review
• Great picture quality
• Stylish Compact design
• Easy H/V keystone adjustment
• Heats up fast in Normal mode
• No bundled 3D glasses
Since projectors left boring office presentations to make way into home entertainment, they have been blessed with high price tags and great picture quality. With time they could have been made more economical but the advent of new technologies stopped their price drift.
The latest Epson TW5200 promises a great picture quality at a price of Rs. 98,699 and is a worthy TV replacement contender. Considering the size of image this projector can throw (300+ inches), we don’t think there’s a 3D capable Full HD TV with even half of its size, at this price.
Capable to project a Full HD image even in 3D, TW5200 has high light output and some very cool setup features that makes is very flexible in its placement options. But after rigorous color output matching with various measuring standards, we have come to know a compromise that you would be making if you buy it. Read on to find out.
The TW5200 has a very compact and curvaceous design. Its curves, especially at the corners are so prominent that it looks as if it’s made out of a ball deliberately made flat at the front, back, top and bottom so that it could sit on a flat surface with some buttons on it. It’s a good thing as hands would properly clasp around it to make a good hold and holding or carrying it becomes a less risky affair unlike with projectors that have a broad rectangular body and pointy edges.
Coming to the lens placement, it’s put on the front left side, opposite to the heat vents. The lens is covered using a built-in sliding gate. A horizontal keystone adjustment slider is placed just behind the gate opening slider at the top surface for a quick horizontal keystone adjustment; or otherwise can be done through the remote control in case the projector is wall mounted.
TW5200 has a removable dust filter that is user-removable for cleaning purposes and is placed below a cover that conveniently clicks (but remains attached from inside to the body with a plastic sling) open to reveal it.
All the control buttons are placed on the rear part of the top surface with three LED lights. Both lights and buttons are marked properly for what they mean and do respectively. We really liked the soft pressed nature of the buttons and the fact that they maintain appropriate distance makes them easy to use.
Overall, we found the design very intelligently done and with width and breadth smaller than that of a 14” laptop, it’s nothing but a chibi.
Features and connectivity
Epson TW-5200 has loads of connectivity options, enough to compete with a projector twice its price. It has two HDMI ports, a VGA PC port, a composite (A/V) input, RS232 control and audio input (RCA)/output (3.5mm) for the built in audio system. The speakers are fine for a movie session in a small room with literally no noise but we recommend not relying on them as they aren’t very loud.
A USB port is also provided at the back which is quite unusual for a projector. Though movie playback is not supported through it, you can view images off it. There’s a slideshow option too on the remote control that directly picks images from the USB stick and play it on.
One of the HDMIs on TW5200 is capable of taking signals from supported mobile phones directly. Thorough an MHL cable (not included), the MHL supported phones can be attached to the projector that would directly display the image in high resolution.
Also included onboard is a wireless LAN connectivity support. But the wireless LAN unit needs to be purchases separately.
When kept on a flat surface, the rear legs on the projector can be extended by unscrewing them to adjust the height and to the contours of the surface. At front, a pull out stand can be employed to raise the screen. These two adjustment options are the only way to put the projection to the right height as there’s in no lens shift option.
Read our Review on BenQ W1070 3D projector
But we really like the keystone adjustment techniques that Epson has used on TW5200. First off, there’s a rare (common in Epson) horizontal keystone setting feature built on the projector that allows to correct the projection when the projector is not placed perfectly perpendicular to the screen plane (that results in trapezoidal projection shape).
A slider placed on the top lets you bring the image to a perfect square/rectangular shape by just sliding your finger over it. And for vertical keystone shift, you don’t really need to do anything. The projector automatically senses change and corrects the keystone number by itself. Amazing, I say. Still the buttons are placed on the remote as well as on the projector for manual adjustments.
Epson TW5200 has a high color light output. Color light output is a projector’s rating which tells about its ability to reproduce color. Most of the companies define output in terms of white light brightness. But CLO, according to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is "an equivalent measurement that will better describe a projector's color performance when rendering full color imagery".
Unlike other companies, Epson specifies the lamp output in terms of CLO and here it’s explained why and how color light output is a different parameter using keen visuals.
So the color reproduction does seem nice with clarity nearing a big LED screen in Cinema mode on our 84 inches test board. But during night scenes in movies, the blacks were not as black as they would be on a TV screen. Black areas feel off colored or greyish in tone that becomes more noticeable while watching HD movies. But that’s not a big issue per se and the low price lowers the questioning tone as well. Moreover, you would notice it only when you compare it hard and well with brightly backlit TV screens.
TW5200 projects the image within a minute of switching ON. Everything is fine when the projector is running in ECO mode. The fan works silently and not much of heat is produced. But as soon as you put it on Normal mode, the fan would wake up (as if sleeping till now) and start roaring within a couple of hours. The noise can get pretty high. But the reason is evident and known just few minutes later when the air blown gets really hot, akin to a heater.
If the projector is put in a dark room, it’s lamp with an output of 2000 lumens has enough brightness to keep the picture going in the Eco mode. In fact, if you’re sitting near to the screen, it might get too bright sometimes. The only time you would need to switch to normal mode is when the projector needs to combat good amount of ambient light to keep the display proper.
Apart from keeping the energy consumption, fan noise and heat to the least, running TW5200 in Eco mode has another benefit- it increases black level on the projected image.
Keeping the image processing option to ‘Fine’ also produces keeps the projection high in black level with low noise. But TW5200 is optimized for gaming more than it is for movies. So the ‘Fast’ option keeps ghosting to a minimum. There are different presets that come handy for a quick “color light output” change. The color mode button brings 4 presets to choose from- Natural, Cinema, Livingroom and Dynamic. While the natural mode has good color rendering and gives a very lively feel to the image, cinema mode intensifies the color output it its needed.
The Livingroom mode reduces the color output but makes the image brighter. It is generally used when you have some light in the room that the projector needs to counter but cinema mode had better color output with increased brightness that fits the purpose of living room (if that’s how this preset was named). Anyways, the dynamic mode is the one that should be selected if you want high brightness without any need of color output. It is generally used for giving presentations while keeping the lights ON or screening events outdoors during daytime.
3D on TW5200 is better than many of the projectors in this price range. Its RF coupled 3D glasses are very easy to pair up and an LED on them notifies when they do. But Epson doesn’t provide any with the projector.
The 3D engine (as soon as 3D is turned ON) runs only in normal mode. So the heating and noise problems do come in. But we paid no heed as we enjoyed a 3D movie on it. The frames were brightly lit and 3D depth was maintained as it would be on a 3D TV.
For a person looking to buy a projector for home use within Rs 1 lac, the Epson TW5200 proves to a good value for money. It has high color output that ensures good color saturation both in 2D and well lit frames in 3D whereas a fast iris opens doors to high-definition, large screen gaming. Choosing a place to keep it won’t be a task as it is bestowed with witty adjustments options a good many connection options.