Bright young thing

Kevin Gallucci auditions an affordable projector that loves living rooms

Epson is one of the leading projector manufacturers in the world today and offers a five-strong home cinema lineup. The EH-TW3600 is its newest entry-level model, and some way off the flagship RH4000 in terms of specs. For instance, the brand’s Reflective LCD technology is missing here. Still, at only £1,300, this PJ will certainly attract a few buyers.

Design-wise, the TW3600 shares the same form factor as its 4400 and 5500 siblings. Connections include twin HDMI inputs, component and a 15-pin D-Sub PC jack.

Installation is made easy by an optical x2.1 zoom and manual control of horizontal and vertical lens shift.

A 100in screen size is achievable from just short of 3metres. The TW3600 claims a dynamic contrast ratio of 50,000:1, but our Tech Labs only managed to elicit 16,467:1, and 4,593:1 natively. That said, I can vouch that this Epson is capable of producing an extremely bright picture, so it’s well suited to those whose viewing environment isn’t overly dark. Running noise, quoted by Espon at 22dB, was also pleasingly low and didn’t prove a distraction even in quiet scenes.

Colour burst

In use, the TW3600 delivers a solid but not exceptional picture. With Toy Story 3 (BD), colours had great richness. Oddly, you should pick the 7,500K setting to get closest to 6,500K, but it looked natural nevertheless. Detail levels were good and motion was handled smoothly, without the juddering that can blight affordable projectors.

Changing genre, I switched to the opening scene of Buried. The Epson’s performance struggled a bit here, mainly on account of its rather average black level response. Some shadow detail was lost, as the TW3600 struggled with the low-lit confines of Ryan Reynold’s submerged coffin. Trying to improve this by taming the brightness resulted in a less punchy image.

With that in mind, it’s hard to recommend the TW3600 for someone planning to build it into a dedicated cinema room (despite its provision of a 12V trigger). It’s much more suited to living rooms, and will certainly be an impressive introduction to the world of full HD projectors, going up against models such as BenQ’s W1000+ (reviewed on p68) and Vivitek’s H1085. But anyone hankering for top-notch home cinema performance should wait for the company’s forthcoming RH models.


HCC VERDICT

Epson EH-TW3600
Price:
£1,300 Approx

Highs: Painfree installation; bright, colourful HD images; ample connections
Lows: Average black level response; rival models are more affordable

Performance: 3/5
Design: 3/5
Features: 4/5
Overall: 3/5


Specifications

3D ready: no Full HD: yes
Component video: yes one input
PC input: yes 15-pin D-Sub
HDMI: yes 2 x HDMI v1.3 12V trigger: yes 1
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Contrast ratio (claimed): 50,000:1
Brightness (claimed): 2,000 Lumens
Dimensions: 450(w) x 136(h) x 360(d)mm Weight: 7.3kg
Features: 3-chip LCD design, 4,000-hour lamp life, 22dB fan noise, x2.1 zoom lens, 30in-300in image size; normal and low lamp modes; 12 colour temperature presets