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Epson EH-TW3500 Review

EPSON EH-TW3500 Full High Definition TFT Home Theatre Projector

Since the arrival of Blu Ray and the increase in range everyone is getting into the new Full HD projectors and Epson have really taken their new EH-TW3500 to the next level. They have taken the already successful EH-TW3000 and tweaked it to have more contrast offering better shading and depth. Normally we would expect to see a down side, a lowering of brightness, an increase in noise but they have really outdone themselves in making a top notch product.

Traditionaly home theatre projectors have required a dark room to get a reasonable image but with the new EH-TW3500 Epson have equiped it with a surprising 1800 lumens without sacrificing on image quality. This won't allow it to project in a glass house but the extra power allows anyone with a room that can't be fully darkened to get a nice strong image. For those who want a massive image size older style projectors would give you a faint picture when looking at filling a wall but the extra brightness will fix that limitation as well.

This TW3500 projector features the full high definition 1080p resolution as native and with that amount of detail this projector will give you one of the sharpest native widescreen pictures available perfect for Blu Ray movies. Epson have really outdone themselves with a massive 38,000:1 contrast ratio for the blackest of blacks excellent shading and well defined colours really taking this new unit to the next level. The TW3500 features seven colour modes allowing to easily switch between high brightness modes to the darker home theatre modes which will be best for a darker environment but improve the colour and contrast in the picture. The TW3500 is also incredibly quiet with a barely audible 22dB noise rating due to a redeveloped cooling system.

Traditionally the LCD projectors have been excellent for colour reproduction but have fallen short with a lower contrast than the DLP alternative. As mentioned above, this Epson unit offers a massive contrast ratio exceeding that of 98% of all others on the market. Epson has managed to do this using a new filter (or Iris), that increases the contrast substantially while still maintaining the benefits of excellent colour reproduction.

Epson has also included a similar lens system to the successful EMP-TW3000 with the new lens shift technology, the days of keystone correction are over. Keystone correction, is software built into most projectors to allow the user to correct the distortion (usually vertical) that is caused when the projector is pointed at an angle to the screen. With lens shift, it's simply a matter of adjusting the lens. This method makes it easier to position the projector, plus allows for wider positioning of the projector (ie left or right, up or down of the screen). The Epson TW3500 also offers a 2.2x optical zoom, allowing the projector to be positioned either very close or far back from the screen without changing the image size. A great feature for those with limited mounting positions.

The image was awe inspiring with the 1080p resolution we tested it on a bluray player as well as some of the higher definition games in an xbox 360 and we were impressed by the image detail and the very good colour processing. It offers an incredibly sharp image with amazing colour and outstanding detail. We even tried it with a standard DVD (which runs at 576p) and even at the lower resolution the upscalling made a very good image. Epson have thrown on two HDMI 1.3 connectors on the TW3500 ensuring new higher bandwidth bluray players will show a flawless image and they've equiped it with a full 10bit colour processor with a 12bit LCD driver which makes the EH-TW3500 capable of reproducing 1.07 billion colours for colouring and smooth gradation.

We have chosen the Epson as our recommended unit. This is due to the higher contrast ratio the Epson offers, the higher optical zoom, and the fact that Epson actually manufacture the LCD panel which means that most other 1080p projectors will be using the same system to make the image but Epson in our opinion has struck the nail on the head with an excellent unit and while it isn't cheap retailing around $3k the Epson has excellent features and an exceptional image.

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